30 November 2008

Brains More Distracted, Not Slower with Age

smp Older brains work differently than younger brains.  I’ve talked about this in my book, in a new book, and here in the ether:

What Kind of Genius Are You?
A new theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types - quick and dramatic, or careful and quiet … Science News reports on a study that says an aging brain may be a more emotionally astute brain …

And in all my presentations, including this one:


Advertising/Marketing to Baby Boomers: A PowerPoint
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.

AP’s Science Writer Malcolm Ritter’s syndicated piece tells us more:

Brain scans show root of memory glitch with aging
newsweek Brain scans of older people in a noisy lab machine give biological backing to the idea that distraction hampers memory with aging, researchers reported Wednesday.

Scientific American weighs in:

Brains More Distracted, Not Slower with Age

All these findings should translate into principles and guidelines when fashioning advertising and marketing to Boomers and older.  Commercials/print ads/web sites should be free from distractions.  Creative must be coherent for older eyes, older ears.  More often than not, copy needs solid through-lines. 

If you think this means simple and dull, try hiring some older creatives. You’ll expand your definition of creative – and your definition of effective.

SantanaAbraxas Remember: We were young once – and wallowed in graphic and auditory noise

Of course, what I’m really talking about is diversity.

More from Dick Stroud.

26 November 2008

Social Networks & Banner Ads

Two interesting pieces by Mike Shields of MEDIAWEEK:

mediaweekIs the End Near for Display Ads?
As ad budgets shrink, buyers and publishers face growing pressure to prove value of banners …

MikeShields Social Networking Traffic Up as Advertising Falls Flat 
More than half the country actively uses social networking sites, but so far advertising on these properties is nothing short of anemic …

I’m not a huge fan of banner ads, but they have their place – and their influence:

How Ads Affect Our Memory
A new study suggests that marketers shouldn't fixate on the number of people who click on ads. According to the research, just seeing an ad on a Web page can impact memory. The findings could have a significant impact on the way online advertising is made and metered.

While word-of-mouth (not word-of-mouth marketing) is the gold standard for Baby Boomers (especially women), the most effective marketing model is still traditional advertising pushing to a company/product web site.

As Jack Trout says:

jt “This all brings me to my word-of-mouth on word-of-mouth marketing. It's not the next big thing. It's just another tool in your arsenal. If you have a way to get your strategy or point of difference talked about by your customers and prospects, that's terrific. It will help, but you're going to have to surround it with a lot of other effort, including, if you'll pardon the expression, advertising. You just can't buy mouths the way you can buy media. And mouths can stop talking about you in a heartbeat once something else comes along to talk about.”

25 November 2008

The Media & Baby Boomers: Joined At The Hip

Professor Douglas Gomery answers a handful of questions about Baby Boomers and Media:
Gomery says the boomers will continue to drive the media into the next two decades. As the largest demographic group, he says, "there is no historical model for the impact a group of people like the boomers (from 1946 to 64) have had and will have though 2020 or so."

Don't embarrass yourself by asking the reigning media and marketing mavens and moguls about Baby Boomers watching TV, listening to radio. Their eyes will glaze over, their lips will move slowly, mechanically, as they repeat The Mantra - a spooky, zombie-like drivel oozing with brain-washed rhetoric about the all-powerful 18-34 demographic.

Just as informative and even more fun: The Library of American Broadcasting. I spent too much time there clicking around. 

20 November 2008


mzMedia mogul Moses Znaimer seems to have taken over all things Boomer in Canada. He’s even renamed them. They’re now Zoomers.

The number of business and media outlets that are Znaimer/Zoomer-centric is quite impressive, and worth visiting. There’s a classical music station, a magazine, a Zoomer social network, a Zoomer university, a Zoomer consumer show ……. oh, I’m getting tired. Just click the pull-down menu on top of this page for the complete list. 

Zoom The first time I heard the word Zoomers many years ago it referred to folks using these things, racing around and having fun. So that’s what sticks in my mind. I can’t shake it.

Would a Boomer/Zoomer media empire play here in The States?  Maybe not.  We’re too diverse, unwieldy, eclectic. However, if someone wants to bankroll me for ten or twenty mil, I’ll be happy to put one together.

I’ll even change my name to Chuck Znyren.

Brent Green has a good take on it all.

18 November 2008

Even as America goes gray …

What was my reaction to the President-Elect’s speech and the crowd at Grant Park?  I felt like I was whisked back in time to when I was young and idealistic.  (Now I’m middle-aged and  idealistic.)  

Here’s an excerpt from a post I tossed up a few years ago. Little did I know how prescient it would be:     


"Even as America goes gray … its skin will become more polychrome. Buoyed by higher birth rates among minorities and increasing immigration from Latin America and Asia, parts of the United States will become as diverse as a New York subway car. Minorities will make up one-third of the U.S. population in 2016…
                                                       - Andrew Zolli 

A vital connection between a large percentage of Boomers and Millennials is being nurtured by the former. Millennials will be the real Boomers - diverse and inclusive. 

And the the grandparent connection is more profound than politics.  (Sorry - most of the links have vanished.)

Also: An interesting apology.

13 November 2008

Baby Boomers & The Economic Collapse

Lots of folks have been asking me about Baby Boomers, the economic collapse, and how you should now advertise and market to this demographic.

The how hasn’t changed.  Simple answer: Make sure you have the right guts around to trust.

advbbpfrt And if you’ve been hopping around this blog for the last three and a half years, or read my book first published in early 2005, you’d know that the what likewise hasn’t changed.  Unfortunately, not too many have paid attention.

longboomA large chunk of Baby Boomers were never planning to retire.  Now, another huge chunk won’t be able to retire.  That’s a lot of people still in the work force – and they’ll be staying there for another ten or twenty or thirty years, contributing mightily to the economy.

And if you work, you buy. What do you buy? Almost everything.  Clothes, appliances, computers, toothpaste.  The list is endless.  Regular, ol’ stuff.  Stuff almost exclusively marketed to twentysomethings with ad campaigns that don’t resonate with middle-aged consumers. 

What Baby Boomers will still be buying but not buying as much of: houses and condos in retirement villages, financial services, expensive vehicles, expensive vacations. Health-related products and services will be the only ones to remain steady, or grow.

So sell them clothes, appliances, computers, toothpaste.  This way you’ll beat the competition.

10 November 2008

Keep Preachin’

----- Original Message -----
To: nyrenagency
Subject: Keep Preachin'

preach Keep preachin' brother because some still refuse to hear.

My students presented a campaign geared to baby boomers to a group of judges at the National Student Advertising Competition. When we mentioned your book as proof that boomers don't like flashy ads, some 25-year-old copywriter/judge from **** West told them, "I can't believe boomers don't like slick ads."

So, keep preachin' and maybe they too will one day hear.

B*** A********, Asst. Professor (at a major university in the northeast)