27 February 2009

The more things change …

SE Stuart Elliott of The New York Times does a good job highlighting the maxims “the more things change, the more they remain the same” and “there’s nothing new under the sun”:

Tropicana Discovers Some Buyers Are Passionate About Packaging
tropnew The PepsiCo Americas Beverages division of PepsiCo is bowing to public demand and scrapping the changes made to a flagship product, Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice ... The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamored for a return of the original look.

Mr. Elliott aptly resurrects the uproar twenty-three years ago with the introduction of New Coke:

The original version was hastily brought back as Coca-Cola Classic and New Coke eventually fizzed out.

What amuses me: I keep hearing about the end of advertising as we know it because now ‘the consumer is in control’ and there are ‘brand ambassadors’ and other such nonsense.

Remember the nutty popularity of logo t-shirts in the 1980s? 


I was told back then that this was the end of advertising. Who needed it when everybody you met was a walking billboard?   

Logo t-shirts are still around – but so is advertising, last I looked. 

With no historical perspective, you might think that all has changed because of the internet. But nothing has changed. It’s simply been supercharged.  Consumers have always had influence and share control of advertising, marketing,  product development.

Read about Jean Wade Rindlaub on The Advertising Hall of Fame website:

jwr Jean Wade Rindlaub
BBDO's long commitment to advertising and marketing research can be traced to Rindlaub. The innovative methods she developed to sound out consumers were adopted by BBDO and became widely modeled within the campbellsbusiness.

And if you watch the video, Ms. Rindlaub says, “I could tell you who really writes advertising. You'd be surprised.  It's you.”

Three years ago Jack Trout had this to say:

jt Tales From The Marketing Wars A third-party endorsement of your product has always been the Holy Grail. It's more believable. In prior days, we used to try and find the "early adapters" for a product. We figured they had big mouths and loved to tell their friends and neighbors about their new widget.

The New Coke fiasco happened before the WWW, before email was ubiquitous, before IM and Twitter. Post Offices and telephones worked fine. They still do.

What the internet has done (among a few other things) is create new multimedia playing fields for advertising, marketing, public relations, research - just like the printing press, radio, and television.

26 February 2009

The Silver Market Phenomenon and AARP AgeLine®

silvermarket The Silver Market Phenomenon, edited by Florian Kohlbacher & Cornelius Herstatt, has been awarded an AgeLine® Citation by AARP Policy & Research:

AgeLine is an online, bibliographic database produced by AARP that focuses on the subject of aging and middle-aged and older adults, particularly addressing the social, psychological, economic, policy, and health care aspects of aging.



The Silver Market Phenomenon
Thirty-three individually authored chapters examine the challenges, chances, and perspectives of the current demographic shift--aging and shrinking populations--in many countries around the world …

Dick Stroud and Yours Truly contributed chapters:


More about The Silver Market Phenomenon.

Advertising to Baby Boomers is also in the database.

23 February 2009

Snake Oil In Cyberspace

Forrester Research has a new probably-not-much-new report: How To Reach Baby Boomers With Social Technologies.  I haven’t read it, but Jenna Wortham of the New York Times has:

nyt Baby Boomers, Luddites? Not So Fast.
A recent report from Forrester Research indicates that while it might be tempting to categorize all aging Americans as techno-dinosaurs and Luddites, more than 60 percent of baby boomers are avid consumers of social media like blogs, forums, podcasts and online videos.

I had first crack at commenting:

As far as Boomers being tech/web Luddites - I’ve been dispelling that silly myth for years - in my book and blog (Advertising to Baby Boomers, first published in early 2005).

But monetizing social networking sites … well, they still haven’t been able to do that with the Millennial and Gen Y demos. What makes anybody think you can do it with Boomers?

Michael S. Malone recently had something to say on this subject:

malone2 Facebook Scandal Version 2.0
But just as crucial to this strategy is step two, or what has been called Web 3.0: monetizing all of those millions of users. And here, most of these companies have hit a wall. By inculcating in their users the belief that social networks should be free, these companies are having a hard time figuring out how to make them pay.
Having failed to tackle the problem head on, these companies are now trying to get in through the back door -- in particular, selling off to advertisers all those terabytes of information about searches, interests and purchases.

Back to the comments collected by The New York Timessome fascinating ones follow mine:

Perhaps … it is simply a case of older users being a bit more savvy about marketing ploys, social networking, and the intermixing of the two.

Sounds like my take on WOMM: For every duplicitous WOMM post exposed, thousands go undetected. Even a lowly blog like this one has been infected by such sleazy business tactics.

…Marketers should be looking at niche sites that draw boomers…

Sounds like my book:



I’m an instructor of technology as well, and believe it or not there are … clueless twenty-somethings when it comes to applications ... Just because you can use Facebook or MySpace hardly makes you technology-savvy.

I’ve blogged this subject.  From 2007:

An Award Winner
logo_npr On NPR recently there was a report about students who were given laptops instead of textbooks. While these kids certainly knew how to download music, hang out at Facebook, and play video games – they had real problems opening up and using a word processing program. Many had no idea how to save a document. And when they did save it, they couldn’t find it again to open and work on it – or figure out how to print it.

This raises two issues for me; one about the attitudes of younger people toward me and technology and the second about the flailing about of “marketing” types who continue to refuse to understand why many of us Boomers refuse to buy their snake oil in cyberspace … Don’t sell to me when I’m trying to share research findings with colleagues, or when I’m trying to answer students’ questions, or when I’m trying to catch up with the latest events in my daughter’s life. The value of such connections cannot be monetized. Get over it.

And there’s this:

Boomer communications are personal in nature.
wsEighty-four percent of boomer recommendations are made face-to-face and 82 percent by phone, as opposed to 45 percent that are made online. With boomer recommendations so rich with personal opinions, companies can reap the full benefits of positive buzz by ensuring that their customers are completely informed of all key features, capabilities and benefits of the company's products and services.

For the umpteenth time 

The Most Effective Marketing/Advertising Model For Reaching Baby Boomers: What is now called traditional advertising pushing you to an age-friendly, informative product/services web site.

20 February 2009

Facebook Furor

I guess the big 2.0 story this week is Facebook’s TOS/PR brouhaha.  There are thousands of press pieces, podcasts, and blog posts:

chicagotribune The Facebook uprising
Thousands of Facebook users threatened to un-friend the entire Web site this week to protest what one consumer guardian called "a digital rights grab."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and 25 other groups were poised to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission…

Lots of juicy morsels splayed on this social networking news story smorgasbord - but I’ll only chew on one: diversity. 

Take a look at Peter Himler’s post:

peter_himler Saving Face (Book)
I knew the moment the news broke that Facebook was in for a rough patch in the court of public opinion … The real value seasoned PR pros offer seems to be in short supply at many tech start-ups, even the most successful ones. It has less to do with the number of journalists or bloggers the PR person knows, or even his or her ability to craft a sticky story line. The real value lies in one's intrinsic sense of how a "public" will react to various outputs -- a skill that is only honed after years of wallowing in the mud.

PR professionals can’t anticipate everything. But the PR department of a social networking site not anticipating a groundswell of negative social networking?

Age Diversity.  I think I’ve blogged about it a few times:

Old Masters and Young Geniuses
What Kind of Genius Are You?
Baby boomers are smarter than you think
Trust Your Gut

20And a NYT piece:

Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain


That New York Times graphic?  It’s what Peter Himler is talking about.

17 February 2009

The list goes on and on…

lk Lina Ko of Boomerwatch.ca rounds up examples of mature women in campaigns:

Model Boomers
… 52-year-old Jerry Hall is the new face of Chanel; 59-year-old Twiggy is the model for Marks & Spencer; Helena Christensen, in her late 40s, is modelling underwear for Agent Provocateur. The list goes on and on …

Ines2My favorite link Lina provides:

Who says supermodels have to be 14 years old? Former French runway model Inès de La Fressange, 51, walked Jean Paul Gaultier's haute couture runway on Wednesday and stole the show from her younger colleagues.

I’ve blogged this topic before:

Demand For Older Models Grows

London & Marks & Spencer

What happens if you don’t use age-appropriate models.

2009 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit

bannerSome interesting folks speaking this year at The What’s Next Boomer Business Summit in Las Vegas on March 19th:

Discover the business segments with the largest growth opportunity in the boomer, senior and caregiver marketplace.

Read about them.

15 February 2009

Television Still Shines

Interesting stats and a news story …

The Stats:

eball In a Nielsen survey … people of all ages said they spent vastly more time watching television than they did using the Internet … In a Multichannel News article, Starz Entertainment executive director of marketing, sales and corporate research Neil Massey said, “There is no evidence that people are abandoning television for other platforms.” He continued to note that “the universe of people who watch no television but watch long-form video online is about 1%.”

The News Story:

nyt Why Television Still Shines in a World of Screens
by Randall Stross
rstross… Television stands out as the one old-media business with surprising resilience. Though we are spending a record amount of time online, including a record amount of time watching video, we are also watching record amounts of very old-fashioned television …

As enamored as advertisers are with the interactive potential of digital advertising, they know that online is a complement to offline, not its replacement … the typical American watched 142 hours of television monthly, up about five hours from the same quarter the previous year. Internet use averaged more than 27 hours monthly, an increase of an hour and a half …

I talk about this in my presentations and consulting. The web is a boon for most traditional media, not competition. With Baby Boomers, advertising should push them to web sites:

research brief 89% typically visit a Web site after seeing a print ad, and 83% visit a site after seeing a television ad.

11 February 2009

Boomers Picky Travellers

I’ve said this for years, and blogged it recently:

Cookie-Cutter Cavalcades
Sounds a bit like my book, first published in early 2005.  An excerpt:

book1 book2

Canadian Boomers aren’t much different:

Province Aging boomers picky travellers
New seniors bored by 'package holidays'
Over the next two decades, the ranks of seniors will swell with a vast generation that's healthier, more active and more discerning about travel than any before them, experts say.
"They want new experiences; they don't carpwant the beaten track," says David Cravit, vice-president of ZoomerMedia, which handles communications for CARP, Canada' association for the 45-plus.

10 February 2009

Boomer Bookends

metlifeThe MetLife Mature Market Institute has released a follow-up study. The press release (PDF):

The MetLife study entitled Boomer Bookends: Insights Into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers, shows that in the group born in 1946, some 2.7 million Americans, about one in five have delayed collecting Social Security, and few have fully retired (19%).

bbookends Boomer Bookends: Insights Into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers
In this study, to compare and contrast the
Oldest and Youngest members of the Boomer
generation, the MMI also conducted a
comparable nationally representative survey of
the trailing edge Boomers, those turning age
45 in 2009.

Fascinating, required reading - but I slice and dice it a bit differently (certainly when fashioning advertising and marketing), giving society/culture more weight than booms in birth.  From 2006:

So What's A Baby Boomer?
… People born in the years 1939-1957 have more in common than people born in the years 1946-1964.

Just one snooty pundit's opinion.

09 February 2009

Reg Starkey blogs…

Creative problem-solver Reg Starkey is now blogging for CreativeBrief.com:

reg_starkey Reg's practical experience of working with many of the world's most acknowledged advertising agencies has now been combined with an in-depth knowledge of the important and neglected mature market. His knowledge and consultancy in this sector is sought by discerning clients in a broad range of sectors.

Reg’s premiere post talks about the history of Saatchi & Saatchi – and cautions us not to be too cautious during this recession. That’s sage advice:

Learning lessons from success in past recessions
creative briefIn the teeth of a fierce Recession, the chrysalis that was Cramer Saatchi, the Creative Consultancy, became the steel butterfly that is Saatchi & Saatchi to this day …

07 February 2009

The New Old Redux

It was blogged last week – and now I’ve read The New Old: How the Boomers Are Changing Everything ... Again:

newoldbookThe book is … backed up with solid statistical support, but it is not primarily about numbers – it’s about people. It’s about new ground being broken, new ways of thinking, new kinds of social and work relationships, new products that can reduce or even eliminate the effects of aging. It (offers) a sneak preview of an entirely new society that is coming…

The book (lays out) specific strategies organizations must follow to take advantage of the opportunities – and avoid being rendered irrelevant and uncompetitive in the new order.

The author:

davidcravit5 David Cravit has over 30 years’ experience in advertising, marketing, and consulting in both Canada and the USA. He has participated at the most senior levels in the creation and placement of over $5 billion worth of media advertising.  Mr. Cravit is Senior Vice President of ZoomerMedia.

And he’s a good writer and I’m a sucker for good writing.

zoomermedia Immersing myself in The New Old was like hanging out with business friends. While the glue for gab is usually marketing and advertising, we often chat about everything else: politics, psychology, art, creativity, family, sex, money, religion - and why we feel so weird being the ages we are. We’re sort of old but don’t feel old. And we don’t feel young, really. What is all this? We’re supposed to be winding down, yet we’re winding up. Aches and pains and lately the economy might give us pause – but they’re not stopping us. We’re frazzled, not fizzled. That’s what The New Old is all about.

zoomerDavid tells some funny stories. One has to do with Zoomers trading experiences with Expedia, Travelocity, etc. It’s a down-to-earth anecdote that mirrors a section in my book about a lame commercial:


In the final chapter Mr. Cravit has fashioned Ten Commandments for advertising/marketing to Boomers/Zoomers. I could list them here – but his savvy elucidations of each commandment are what makes them sizzle.

Read Brent Green’s review of The New Old.

The New Old on Amazon.com (United States)

The New Old on Amazon.ca (Canada)

05 February 2009

Upcoming Webinar & Workshop

immn A few IMMN projects coming up:


Supermarket Guru (and IMMN Honorary Board Member) Phil Lempert will offer his take on The 2009 Product of the Year USA Awards with a webinar:

phil_lempert3 Newly Named Winners of the 2009 New Products of the Year and the Boomer Impact (February 18, 11:00 am EST)
IMMN is honored to have "Supermarket Guru" Phil Lempert, one of the country's leading consumer trend watchers and analysts, share his insight on these products' impact on boomers.

Mr. Lempert shows up regularly on The Today Show. Check out his blog Before You Bite.

On May 15th in Washington, DC (co-sponsored by The Market Research Global Alliance): Boomers & Beyond, a workshop.  I spoke at the first one in 2006:

beyondtheboomers.0 Boomers and Beyond Conference: Big Success and Lots of Fun

Boomers power up by aging in place

Aging In Place and Universal Design expert and consultant Louis Tenenbaum is liberally quoted in this piece from The Washington Times:

Cover story: Boomers power up by aging in place
Carisa Chappell
wtThe aging-in-place movement has become big with 89 percent of people older than age 50 wanting to remain in their own homes indefinitely, according to a recent AARP survey …

louis "One of the issues with older clients is getting into and out of a house," Mr. Tenenbaum said. "There are a number of ways to achieve the no-step entry, including integrating a lift into the landscaping … Mr. Tenenbaum said the bathroom can become a scary place for elderly people because it often is wet and has hard surfaces. He said such features as a no-step shower and tub and toilet grab handles are important.

Check out Louis’ AGING IN PLACE GUIDE blog.

silvermp More: a sample chapter from The Silver Market Phenomenon:

Universal Design – Innovations for All Ages by Oliver Gassmann and Gerrit Reepmeyer (PDF)

04 February 2009

Ask the Brains: Is Midlife Crisis a Myth?

scientificamerican Scientific American has a monthly column, Ask the Brains.  The mag hands off questions to experts.  Here’s one I liked:

Is Midlife Crisis a Myth?

da David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, responds:
Many people expect that midlife brings forth inevitable crisis, but that idea is not supported by social science.

Makes mincemeat of this featherbrained campaign (and plenty of others):

Passat's Midlife Crisis
I was tipped off to Passat’s tongue-in-cheek web site by Steve Hall’s top-notch, often troublemaking blog, Adrants (rated way up there in some recent marketing/advertising blog poll)…

03 February 2009

People generally get better.

aarpmag1 I’m … umm … sitting somewhere, leafing through AARP Magazine.  There’s a wonderful, down-to-earth interview with Toni Morrison

A bit of it is perfect for the blog.  I convince myself that it’s worth doing something I never do anymore: actually type-in a chunk of a magazine.  (My rule: if I can’t copy and paste, forget it.)

The magazine is carried to my office, the page gets dog-eared, marked up, plopped and propped - and I almost start banging away. 

Then I decide to do something smart. I go to the AARP site and there’s the interview, ready for ethereal snatching

What got me all hot ‘n bothered:

tm Q: Do you find you’ve become more creative as you’ve gotten older? Oh, yes. I’m much, much better with creative things—people generally get better. They just know more.

aarpmagQ: Your mind certainly seems to have stayed fertile. Yes, but what’s really important is humor—the way you see through things. And I don’t mean just “Ho, ho, ho!” but real irony about the diabolical nature of things. If you don’t have that, you just collapse.

I’ve blogged about this a bunch of times:

Old Masters and Young Geniuses

What Kind of Genius Are You?

Baby boomers are smarter than you think

Trust Your Gut

20And there’s this NYT piece:

Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain

Wiser, smarter, funnier, more creative.  Even if only half-true, only partially true - think of all the talent out there not being used in advertising (and hundreds of other creative industries).

Again (and again and again): Diversity = Productivity.