29 April 2009

agency fifty/bureauvijftig

Dear Chuck,

bvAs promised an email about our new agency ‘bureauvijftig’ (literally translated agency fifty, we glued the words together). Our new website (which still needs some images) is www.bureauvijftig.nl.

bureauvijftig is a creation of Arjan in’t Veld (25), Dick Vos (66), and me, Martijn de Haas (37).

Dick is the ex-owner of a large and successful advertising agency in the Netherlands.

Arjan is director and a target group specialist from his former company Inthefield.

I am the marketing strategy and target group specialist from Active Development.

We have several people connected to the agency including art directors, copy writers, online specialists, ages 20 to 66. Some are direct colleagues and some are ambassadors doing freelance jobs. We stress the importance of this broad range of ages as we completely agree with your philosophy on communication for age groups is best made by people belonging to these age groups.*  Combine this with sharing insights and experience in a broad range of marketing, communication and advertising aspects and you will be able to connect effectively to a specified audience.

Our main goal is making connections and combining the best of 2 worlds:

  • the young and the so called mature consumers
  • young and old specialists
  • the online and offline worlds
  • research & creation
  • science & marketing

We have managed to hook up with the leading university professors in the field of researching the aging population in the Netherlands and worldwide. 

Our products are:

  • a huge research database; all the target group research that we have acquired over the years and are still acquiring
  • a consumer panel; at least 1700 older consumers and a population of 95,000 older consumers from which we can recruit more respondents for qualitative or quantitative research.
  • a thermometer test; a tool of testing a campaign or assumption in a population. This test can be followed online by the clients.
  • a 2-second test; people decide within 2 seconds if they like your communication. With this test we can see the effectiveness of the first impression. This can also be followed online.

bvpic In general we are continuing our old ways but bigger and better with a healthy mix of ages. We already attracted our first big client and we feel that this economic spell will force companies to look at the mature market.  Our pay-off is result driven communication in which we promise results and even take 20% of the client’s risk.

targetfifty As you had already discovered, we have changed Arjan’s Mokkamarketing.nl to www.target50.nl. It is an inspirational blog like yours where all our co-workers and ambassadors can report and give opinions on articles and videos about the mature market and the aging population.

We are aiming at becoming a strong player in the traditional industry by bringing new ways. We hope to fly you in some day to give one of your presentations that inspires them all.

Moschis Last week we also met George P. Moschis who is an interesting researcher and professor you probably know.

I hope this explanation is clear and am looking forward to you and your comments and questions.

Kind Regards (also from Arjan),


George Moschis and I are with the same house, Paramount Market Publishing:

BBTPBaby Boomers and Their Parents
Surprising Findings About Their Lifestyles, Mindsets, and Well-Being
by George P. Moschis, PhD and Anil Mathur, PhD

My Book: Advertising To Baby Boomers

*An excerpt from Advertising to Baby Boomers:


More about diversity in the advertising industry:

Old Masters and Young Geniuses

What Kind of Genius Are You?

Baby boomers are smarter than you think

Trust Your Gut


People generally get better.

Calcified Advertising Agencies

Rance Crain Makes Perfect Sense Yet Again

Diversity = Productivity

Managing Age Diversity in the Advertising Industry

My best wishes for success to you, Dick, and Arjan!

27 April 2009

Is roiling ether the best place for advertising?

Over a month ago I blogged a New York Times piece:

Baby Boomers, Luddites? Not So Fast.

That NYT piece spawned others, including:

A-twitter about social marketing

Baby Boomers lead U.S. online market

From my book:

bookex1 bookex2

Here’s what’s going on: Many boomers (along with every other demo) are jobless – or afraid of losing their jobs:

Longer Unemployment for Those 45 and Older
nytWorkers ages 45 and over form a disproportionate share of the hard-luck recession category, the long-term unemployed — those who have been out of work for six months or longer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How do you keep your job or get a new one?  Make sure you’re really tech-savvy:

From my book:


The big buzz phrase today is social networking.  Because Boomers are worried about their work-related competencies, all of a sudden they’re diving into Facebook, LinkedIn, are Twittering, etc. to find out about it all and make connections. 

But is this roiling ether the best place for advertising? 

Me commenting on the NYT article:

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?

Someone commenting on the A-Twitter article:

Drivel Indeed
How many people I'm "twittering" with doesn't tell me much of anything. I want to know how it translates into sales.

Nielsen has an interesting take on it all:

I predicted a bit of this back in November 2008:

Baby Boomers & The Economic Collapse

And if you watched the video above, you know that this isn’t an either/or for advertisers.  But if you had to pick one …

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bloggers?
em A BIGresearch survey conducted in mid-2008 found that blogs influenced only 3.3% of adults in their apparel purchases. A Harris Interactive poll showed that bloggers were rarely the first source used when considering purchasing decisions.

Kit Simpson deconstructs the recent Kmart WOMM campaign:

Kmart goes to the Twits 
an When it comes to social network marketing, success comes in being able to do it -- not whether it actually boosts sales … If each of the 6,000 people went to Kmart and bought $100 worth of merchandise, that would represent roughly three and a half one hundredths of one percent of their revenue. (To be precise, it would be 0.003529411764705882% -- but let's not get picky.)

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.

22 April 2009

A Smart Approach

Good news for the advertising/marketing industry and consumers: The Federal Trade Commission is seriously considering cracking down on the nefarious doings of word-of-mouth, buzz, and blog marketing.

I was tipped off by Peter Himler’s blog, The Flack:

peter_himler Who'll forget all those "influential" bloggers who received spiffy new Nikon digital SLRs to tool with and talk about. (Come to think of it, I can't recall any of them spilling a negative word about their gifts from the early adopter gadget Gods.)

How long have I been railing about word-of-mouth marketing?  Since 2005:

medshow2 To me, nothing is more dishonest and 'old school' than shills showing up at bars or wherever and pretending to be your friend and offering you gum or lipstick. They remind me of shills used in medicine shows (talk about 'old school'...) And if I start reading blogs that are thinly disguised sales pitches, I'll never read the blog again. (Except, of course, if the reason for the blog is to sell you something, in which case it's really old-fashioned copywriting/advertising. Authorized company blogs, for example.)

And I’ve blogged about this subject ad nauseam:

Advertising/Marketing Article of The Month

The Brouhaha Over WOMM

The Brouhaha Over WOMM Returns

What's Plaguing Viral Marketing

My Blog Was WOMMed!

Snake Oil In Cyberspace

Internet Hero Of The Week

Backing up much of what I’ve been saying for years:

Bloggers Be Warned: FTC May Monitor What You Say (subscription)
By Michael Bush
adage Jim Nail, chief marketing officer of TNS Media Intelligence and a WOMMA board member, said the revisions will bring more credibility to word-of-mouth and social-media marketing. "The thing that makes word-of-mouth marketing powerful is people believing they are getting truthful and honest opinions from real users," Mr. Nail said …

"The FTC is ... putting out guidelines to make it clear to people who are involved in social media and viral marketing that the same rules apply in this context as they do in the more formal context of paid advertising and infomercials." There are no legal implications for social-media sites such as Facebook or marketer sites such as Amazon, where consumers often post product reviews. However, Ms. Jacobs-Meadway said, paid endorsers who post on those sites can be held liable if they do not identify themselves as such.

Similar policies are already in place on the other side of the pond:

Buzz marketing illegal from May
ipa One particular clause in the Regulations will make a number of activities a criminal offence including seeding positive messages about a brand in a blog without making it clear that the message has been created by, or on behalf of, the brand … Also, using “buzz marketing” specialists to communicate with potential consumers in social situations without disclosing that they are acting as brand ambassadors, will be illegal … Seeding viral ads on the internet in a manner that implies you are a simple member of the public, will also be against the law.

Many WOM marketers are thrilled that their industry may be cleaned up:

We think it is a smart approach,”dm said  Sharon Swendner, president of .Com Marketing, an interac­tive agency that gets paid to blog. “We would all like to believe that the markets are self regulating, but unfortunately, as we've seen from banking, it doesn't always work that way.”

And excerpts from a few comments on the Ad Age article:

“What's there to complain about--they're just enforcing transparency and truth in advertising.”

“It could bring added credibility to the blogging space …”

“It's a shame that the FTC has to be the one to give the wake-up call but I'm happy that at least someone is.”

“These laws go without saying.”

20 April 2009


tnyt I read the online edition of The New York Times all the time.  So I’ve grabbed and linked to this or that article dozens of times.

motorcycle In January 2008 I thought it fascinating that there were two articles over two days – one about marketing to Baby Boomers and one about diversity.  I blogged about it:

Diversity = Productivity
Irony: The article with answers to how advertising can reach Baby Boomers doesn’t mention advertising or Baby Boomers, while the article that doesn't really have much to say on the subject is all about subject.

Again, it’s happened.  Stuart Elliott’s piece is good – but there’s nothing new here:


The Older Audience Is Looking Better Than Ever
For decades, older consumers were largely shunned by marketers because they were deemed less wealthy, less likely to try new products and less willing to change brands. Campaigns directed at them were described dismissively as made for the “Geritol generation.”

The Introduction to my book (1st Edition May 2005) is subtitled “The Geritol Syndrome” – and available for free from my publishers, Paramount Market Publishing:

Advertising to Baby Boomers (Introduction) (PDF)

In the book and on this blog I’ve talked at length about Grandparents and media and media planners and brand-switching and just about everything else in the NYT piece.  Here’s something from The Kansas City Star where I was interviewed along with Hallmark Channel CEO Henry Schleiff – and we’re discussing all the same things.

But a more interesting piece that really does have to do with  marketing/advertising to baby boomers was in the NYT a few days before:

Generation B
by Michael Winerip

They Feel Your Losses
“The boomers’ experience, their values and their work ethic make them worth it,” Ms. Ringer said. “They’re good at performing gracefully under pressure.”

Read this recent post and now I can pretty much repeat what I said a year ago:

Irony: The article with answers to how advertising can reach Baby Boomers doesn’t mention advertising, while the article that doesn't really have anything new to say on the subject is all about subject.

14 April 2009

New Blogs, Businesses, Resources

50+ marketing is exploding worldwide.

That’s a cliché-ridden statement I’ve been wanting to use for years.  Finally I can. 

kw Kim Walker of Silver Group Asia is blogging:

Observations, insights and innovations that connect with the 50+ market.
We INFORM with unique research, data and insights … We ADVISE on strategy and increase understanding through training and speeches …We help CONNECT to the market through relevant and targeted programs and media

risessRead an interview with Kim Walker on Brent Green’s blog – then download Kim’s keynote "The Rise of the Silver Surfers" presented to the iMedia Brand Summit in Kota Kinabalu, E Malaysia.

adnAd Nauseam’s Christopher Simpson (Canada) takes a professorial slant with his new blog.  That’s because he is a professor.  And a seasoned all around creative:

On Editing and Writing
Dedicated to clarity, one sentence at a time
Perhaps it’s irrational, but I am tired of people telling me to attain a state of consciousness the means to which only they can provide.

(Great resource, Kit – and that appraisal  is coming from a Bloviating Pleonast.)

md Martin Diano of The Baby Boomer [Knowledge Center] is collecting experts for his Boomer Authority project:

Boomer Authority
ba A Question and Answer Resource for the Baby Boomer Generation - Gain access to a community of professionals and organizations for free timely advice!

50TargetMy friends in The Netherlands, Martijn de Haas and Arjan in't Veld, are involved in a new agency – and a new web site/blog.  Martijn told me that there might be English language versions soon. Until then, enjoy the pictures.

And Vince Vassolo, gerontologist/ad man and self-proclaimed Head Boomer, is blogging:

vv Baby Boomer Marketing Blog
Boomers are bright, opinionated and socially connected, so they’ll decide what your brand means rather than having you or some trendsetter define it for them.

10 April 2009

As I reach my late-middle 50s…

nyt An amusing, too truthful piece by Michael Winerip of The New York Times:

Aging by Megabyte 
AS I reach my late-middle 50s, I am, for the first time, feeling old. I don’t mean physically old. I have aches and pains, but I’ve been blessed. My health has been good … I have four children ages 14 to 20, and once they hit the teenage years, a primary purpose in their lives has been to tear their once-godlike Dad down to bite-size.

It reminded me of a silly thing I wrote a handful of years ago:

The Slobberer
Without a hint of fear she reached up and pulled down on the sides of my mouth. "Ahhh," she said with a nod. "You drool."


“You drool."


"At night."

"But...old people drool."


I twitched and tried not to shudder. "Are you sure? I'm not even in my late fifties yet. I’m in my … earlier late fifties.”

And in my book Advertising to Baby Boomers (2007):





More from Michael Winerip:

mw Spring would arrive, we’d be out at the ball field once again, I’d be hitting them flies, and the three boys would be edging toward me, yelling, “Remember when you used to hit them far, Dad? Remember that, Dad?”

09 April 2009

Why couldn’t it have been…?

A couple of Depend spots – click the picture to view:depend2

The creative is good, actually a surprise. But what isn’t a surprise – the creative is good because they’re directed by Errol Morris (born 1948):

Kimberly-Clark Launches Largest Campaign Ever For Its Depend Brand
…One of the key elements of the new campaign is a certain level of authenticity -- showcasing real people, since this is such a real issue for so many people…

Sounds like lessons from my book.

But why aren’t these spots sending you to the web site?  There are dozens of previous posts that talk about this. Here’s just one:

Snake Oil In Cyberspace
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.

dependpackagesI guess what upsets me about this campaign is not the campaign itself.  I like it.  I see people around my age – they’re entertaining, loose, funny. I’m wondering what the payoff will be. What a letdown.  

Why couldn’t it have been a car?  Laundry soap?  A computer?  A razor?  Anything but some age-related malady:

Use only as directed
By Joseph P. Kahn
bcoml There were glossy pitches for Centrum Cardio multivitamins, AARP supplemental medicare insurance plans, Visine … Contour Meter diabetes testers (now available in five vibrant colors!), Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel foot insoles, Flomax (for urinary and prostate problems), Wal-Mart prescription-drug services, Children's Benadryl Allergy and Sinus Liquid, Centrum Silver vitamin tablets, Boniva (Sally Field playing a nimble game of Twister with her granddaughter this time), Tena Serenity Pads bladder protection, and One-a-Day 50 Plus vitamins.

So the Depend campaign gets an A for creative, C- for marketing. 

And looking at the big picture – let’s hope that ad agencies will see these spots and realize they’re missing out not hiring people over fifty to create campaigns for just about any product or service.

Or should clients put pressure on their agencies? 

An excerpt from Advertising to Baby Boomers:


05 April 2009


JWT BOOM, an agency specializing in the 40+ Market, closed last month.

This is where I link to a news story – but that’s the story.  There is no story.  I can’t find a thing about it in the trades or any other news sources.  Find it for me.

Why did JWT BOOM go belly-up?  I have my own theories, some I’ll share and some I’ll keep to myself.

Snippets from an email received last week:

… I also meant to tell you that you apparently have really good sources. We finally heard from **** ******* that JWT Boom is closed as of today …  Apparently JWT is closing all of its specialty agencies … And I heard it from you first!

ATBBpaperKey phrase above: “specialty agencies”

In 2004, JWT opened its ‘specialty agency’ JWTMMG (later known as JWT BOOM).  From my book published in early 2005:


Was JWT BOOM simply a victim the worldwide financial crisis? Maybe, maybe not.  I’ve talked about Baby Boomers and the economic collapse in a blog post last year and in an online presentation:

2008 Review: A PowerPoint

An interesting article last month in Ad Age:

adage General Mills Thrives on Increased Marketing Spending
"When I started here in 1983, we didn't do much advertising to baby boomers," he said, adding that boomers are eating more cereal as they age. "We're targeting them directly now."

Christopher Simpson brings us up to date on Ad Nauseam, citing a recent study by NeuroFocus:

Christopher Oh, so now they're turning to Boomers
If nothing else good comes from the recent economic crisis, at least we have the faint hope that advertising can become more adult.

And rumor has it that another Boomer-focused company underneath the WPP umbrella is about to kick the bucket.

More from the email:

…  Ad Age says today that the Chicago JWT office is closing. I have a feeling that JWT is not long for this world …

JWT GOES BELLY-UP.  Hmmm.  I bet that news would make the trades. 

03 April 2009

Academic Research on Boomers & Lifelong Learning

conferenceWord’s out that Ann Harwood wowed them with her exhaustively researched dissertation on higher learning and experiential travel at The 2009 Aging in America ASA-NCOA Conference:

ahOriginal Academic Research on Boomers & Lifelong Learning
“The findings of this study reveal the threads of interest in social responsibility work by Boomers and older adults. Higher education and lifelong learning institutes are in the prime position to provide leadership, college courses, training and programs that will empower these curious Boomers and hardy elders to give back to society by working in fulfilling jobs for the rest of their lives,” reported Harwood. “Social responsibility disciplines include human services, healthcare, education, environment, arts and culture management, and nonprofit community leadership ..”

I’ve written about these subjects in my book and here in the ether. A handful of related blog posts:

CC Baby Boomers, Adult Communities, and Education (2005)
Campus Continuum focuses solely on developing, marketing, and operating university-branded 55+ Active Adult Communities that are tightly integrated with their academic hosts.

Selfless baby boomers switch careers (2005)
Study shows majority of boomers looking to make a difference …

lifechangingtravel Boomers, Vacation, Travel (2006)
Over-50s make excellent volunteers as they bring with them different life skills and a different outlook to younger volunteers.

Me vs. We (2008)
Will boomers really give something back? They already are. Nationally, boomers (33%) have higher volunteer rates than either seniors (24%) or young adults (24%), reports the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is the most schooled and traveled generation in history. It has much to offer by the giving of its time. The number of American volunteers rose to 65.4 million last year from 59.5 million in 2002. It is projected to reach 70 million by 2010, driven by aging boomers who want to make a difference. (USA Today)

Cookie-Cutter Cavalcades (2009)
So you've escaped middle age and are ready for the long calm of retirement. What next? If you spend too much time rocking on the front porch, will your brain droop into autopilot? One antidote for this is educational travel. (AP)

More from Ann Harwood:

harwoodpp“The majority of people in the boomer age group are interested in getting training for work in social responsibility … Eighty seven percent (87%) of The University of Montana and sixty seven (67%) of Elderhostel respondents favor tax credits for training and/or working in public or community service jobs. There is also a segment of volunteer tourism that is growing steadily where some of the program expenses are tax deductible.”

02 April 2009

Retiring For The Night

bt I had a spirited chat the other day with Patricia Frank, a freelance journalist working on a cover story for BedTimes magazine:

Pat Frank Is your Web site hurtful or helpful?
by Patricia Frank
According to quantitative research conducted by the Better Sleep Council in 2007, 60% of mattress buyers conduct research before mattress shopping. Since 1996, the number of people “looking around in stores” and reading newspaper ads has declined steadily, while the number turning to the Internet has risen significantly.

I’ll take a wild guess that the story she’s putting together will be in the June issue:

bedtimes Editorial Calendar
June 2009
Retiring for the night
The wave of baby boomer retirements is just beginning. Their lifestyles and, in some cases, their health, are changing. How can the bedding industry meet the needs of this enormous demographic group?

Carol Orsborn is also being interviewed for the article.