30 September 2008

A few emails …


Hi Chuck,
thirdage My name is **** **** and I represent ThirdAge.com, a popular Web site for the 40-plus audience that was founded more than a decade ago. ThirdAge was one of the first companies to build a destination for baby boomers online that today receives more than 1 million unique visitors a month …. I would like to invite you personally to check out the new and improved ThirdAge.com. If you are interested in learning more about ThirdAge, or would like to speak to any of the expert resources for a story you are working on, please don't hesitate to contact me.

digita I think I know about this site.  My friend Mary Furlong had a wee bit to do with it

gb nh Nigel Hollis is Chief Global Analyst at Millward Brown and author of the upcoming book, THE GLOBAL BRAND: How to Create and Develop Lasting Brand Value in the World Market … The book explains the key differences between developed and emerging markets, how brands can leverage their company's scale without getting lost in it, as well as what global companies can do when they're up against brands with built in local advantage … If you'd like to interview Nigel …

No need to interview Nigel.  I hang out on his blog – and can ask him any question I want over there.  The book certainly looks like something I’ll be sticking my nose in soon.

aw Hi Chuck,
I stumbled upon your site and was thrilled that I did … I'm also a writer with a one-man ad shop and gray hair. I'll return to your site often … to get a kick out of lines like, "One of Chuck's favorite activities is writing about himself in the third person." Ha!

A fun portfolio to flip through

25 September 2008

50 Plus Beurs 2008 Utrecht

Logo_AD My friend Martijn de Haas of the marketing firm Active Development attended this year’s 50 Plus Beurs. He’s been anointed Guest Blogger Extraordinaire:

martijn Last week I visited the 50 plus fair in Utrecht (The Netherlands) to have a look at the world biggest event aimed directly at 50-plus consumers. My first emotion was again astonishment over the numbers of the exhibits and people present. As Chuck mentioned in a previous post there were about 600 companies present. We are still waiting for a press release on the number of visitors.

Busy I had a chance to attend twice this year, and noticed that the average age seemed to have dropped a little. We definitely spotted more Baby Boomers and we think it’s because they used alternative media targeting a somewhat different audience.

Followers of Chuck’s blog know that when you add a 50+ label to a service or product, you will attract an average crowd that is at least 10-15 years older. Especially Dutch women in their fifties don’t want to be confronted with age like that. Still, with the turnout it’s a great market to tap into. This sometimes creates a problem in our industry as companies that want to approach 50 plussers take part in this fair and their young marketers end up seeing their misconceptions about the 50-plus confirmed.

Eyeballs Most of the companies do really well and one can imagine the sales that will occur in follow-up sales. As many gave out freebies or let visitors take part in competitions, people went home with bags full of goodies and the hope of winning prizes later on.
In return they gave the companies their addresses.

A partial list of industries represented:

Many, Many Travel Agencies
Food Supplements
Political Parties
Care Products
Kitchen Equipment
Nordic Walking
Nintendo Wii
Staying Fit
Fashion Shows

Photo fun 1 There were not as many financial and insurance companies present compared to recent years. We don’t know if it had to do with the current crisis or with the fact that exhibiting in the past didn’t bring them enough business. From our consulting activities we know for a fact that insurance companies are actively developing products and services for older consumers.

All in all we think they didn’t break the 100,000 visitors this year and it could be a consequence of the shift in advertising. The average age of the consumer seems to have dropped a little which may indicate that the event is evolving into an event targeted at Baby Boomers. Enough reasons for anybody in the business to visit it again next year!

Martijn de Haas

Added 10/09/08: More Pictures









21 September 2008

Advertising/Marketing to Baby Boomers: A PowerPoint

HST After producing one for Dick Stroud and Henry Stewart Talks, Yours Truly finally found the time to slap together a presentation with narration – and toss it on the web.
I profile three campaigns/websites that offer diabetic products and services:
Liberty Medical
LifeScan OneTouch
Bayer Diabetes Care
I could’ve picked another niche industry – maybe travel planners, financial planners, health, active adult communities – but these three outfits were perfect marketing and advertising archetypes: Liberty presenting itself as down-to-earth and accessible, Bayer obviously targeting Boomers with a resonating message and very mannered, professional branding, and OneTouch positioning itself as the happy-face company.
The presentation is basic marketing/advertising to Baby Boomers. If you’ve been involved with this market for awhile don’t expect too many surprises. It runs about 45 minutes.
View The Presentation

13 September 2008

Second Life: Advertising Gone Wrong

It's fun - and often a shock - to unearth ether about yourself.  The best part is finding out that what you've been saying over and over for the last four or five years is resonating, bouncing around in nooks you never knew about.

secondlife Second Life isn't for me.  I have enough trouble harnessing my frazzled alpha persona. It gets in trouble, causes trouble, has horrifying real and virtual adventures, feeds the dog and cat at least once every day. That's enough excitement for it.   

I did try to join Second Life awhile back - but all the sample avatars (unless I need an eye test) seemed to me to be thirty or so years younger than my good ol' real self.  It was too jarring, anointing Yours Truly as a twentysomething.  It'd be sort of like me putting up this Polaroid on my blog profile:

Christopher Christopher Simpson, better known as Holman Tibbett - or Holman Tibbett, better known as Christopher Simpson, I'm not sure which - penned a piece for The Metaverse Messenger (PDF), a colorful newspaper dedicated to Second Life.  It's been revirtualized (and is easier to find and read) on Christopher's blog, Ad Nauseam:

Second Life's not-so-secret treasure
MM Marketers have been searching for the treasure rumored to exist within Second Life for many years now, and still there are precious few who have peered within and, when asked if they can see anything, respond by saying, “Yes, wonderful things.” ... Second Life, by and large, isn’t a playground for the young. But you’d hardly know it from the marketing forays.

My quotes show up in a scroll or two.  Again, kind of fun for me because what I know about Second Life can fit on the head of a pixel.

09 September 2008

But there are a lot of lonely people out there.

I stumbled upon a very weird blog posting. I won’t link to it because there isn’t much there. The blogger, after vetting this survey, came to the conclusion that Baby Boomers are ‘anti-social’. This is the oddest of odd interpretations.

social_networks2 Put aside all I’ve already said about social networking sites and simply concentrate on this blogger’s screwy analysis. Boomers may or may not be anti-social (many are, many aren’t) – but for argument’s sake, let’s treat them as one big homogeneous group:

Most Baby Boomers don’t do virtual social networking because they actually go out and are social. They interact with real people at gatherings, parties, etc. They talk on the phone. They email friends.

I think so-called social networking sites and the people who virtually inhabit them are the pathologically anti-social ones. You cozy up to a computer and all you’re relating to is a blinking, flashing, noise-making inanimate object. You type things, toss up pictures and sounds, press a button – and up pops this virtual representation of you. Wow. How social. If you’re lucky, friends and strangers comment by doing pretty much the same thing: typing and tossing up pictures and sounds. How very sociable of them.

head About a year ago a sales/marketing person called me from "the big one" for Baby Boomers.  She wanted to chit-chat. I said that 99% of  general interest ("I'm a Baby Boomer!") social networking sites will fail. She said something very revealing - both about the site she works for, the concept of social networking, and what the site considers to be their target market: "But there are a lot of lonely people out there."

True. Millions. Even so, my guess is that the vast majority of Boomers aren't lonely or confused or need motivation. And even if I'm wrong, all these sites will wear thin soon. If you're lonely, then there's just so much 'social networking' you can do before it begins to reinforce your sad state - and makes you feel worse.

My take on that survey: Baby Boomers may be the last truly social generation.

04 September 2008

Published: The Silver Market Phenomenon

Blogging has been pretty easy the last week or so.  All I've had to do is toss up emails ...

Dear Author,

SMPIt is with great pleasure to inform you that our book The Silver Market Phenomenon: Business Opportunities in an Era of Demographic Change has finally been published by Springer this week. You will receive your author copy from Springer soon. I am attaching the book flyer (PDF) for your reference. Please feel free to use it to spread the word and promote the book.

Professor Herstatt and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for contributing to this project.


Florian Kohlbacher & Cornelius Herstatt

Read The Preface and Introduction (PDF)

On Amazon.com

02 September 2008

Our requested changes were never heeded.

Email, expurgated, names deleted to protect the innocent and the guilty, italics/bold mine:

Dear Chuck,

.... I especially  bonded with what you spoke about in your presentation. Over the past three to four years, I've worked as a proofreader at *******,  ******, and ***** (major ad agencies).

Thanks to your lecture, I now know that Shirley Polykoff (and what an inserted "y" will do to Americanize what I presume was Poliakoff!) was the Clairol (campaign) innovator ....

On the subject of Baby Boomers,  I should tell you that when I walked into *****, the HR person greeted me with, "Oh, I think you're going to be very happy here -- we have people of all ages!" Nothing made me feel self-consciously older than that! However, the creative people still looked the same as they did at ***** and *****.

... So, it was especially amusing when your graphic for ***** came up and you noted that the copy was too small to read. You should have added that for some reason, more and more people are also using this light gray typeface (in the print ad you used as an example). My proofreading colleagues and I would get myopically and intellectually frustrated and rant about our changes not being acknowledged! We'd talk about the copywriters writing ads like the one you mentioned and not realize that the target audience could not read it! We couldn't read it without blowing it up! Our requested changes were never heeded.

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the presentation! I appreciated your clearcut, informative, amusing and candid delivery which was engrossing and compelling from start to finish. If you have more coming up, please let me know ...

R---- D-----

Our requested changes were never heeded. 

I'm ... speechless.