31 May 2009

Boomers key to economic recovery

The Chronicle Times:

Boomers key to economic recovery
CTBaby Boomers should be renamed Economic Boomers … they hold the key to America's economic recovery and … the best thing American business could do right now is market to boomers.

Other news pieces floating around make the same points.

Nice to see the press and a handful of business industries catching up.  I talked about it all six months ago:

Baby Boomers & The Economic Collapse
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.

And in an online presentation posted January 3rd (about 17 minutes in):

2008 Review: A PowerPoint
Not necessarily the biggest stories about advertising and Baby Boomers – but ones that intrigued me, that I believe will be influential.

Another quote from the Chronicle piece:

So, the best thing any business in America could do right now is to learn how to sell to Boomers. It's not just good for business -- it's good for the economy.

From my November blog post:

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.

advbbcover 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.

27 May 2009

Baby Boomers Bolting From Facebook

Not that it matters or anything’s changed – but surprise, surprise: Baby Boomers are decamping that most famous of digital digs.

Inside Facebook
Fewer Users Over 55 Coming Back … the number of active users over 55 actually decreased by over 650,000 … In other words, users over 55 who joined the site earlier this year haven’t been coming back as much in April and May …

Why it happened, why it doesn’t matter to marketers and advertisers:

Is roiling ether the best place for advertising?
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.

Snake Oil In Cyberspace
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?

The Forgotten Market Online

Christina_Binkley Christina Binkley of The Wall Street Journal is all over the paucity of online shopping for 35+ (that’s age, not size) apparel for women:

The Forgotten Market Online: Older Women
New Fashion Sites Target Youth -- Though Most Web Apparel Sales Are to Women Over 35

Dick Stroud blogged it last week:

All of this would be OK if it were not for the facts. 45-54 year olds spend twice as much online as their daughters. Not surprisingly the average age of an online customer at Saks.com … is 42.

Christina and Dick have nailed it – so I’ll simply link to a few bygone babblings:

Chico’s and Younger Women

Marks & Spencer Redux

Demand for older models grows

24 May 2009

The Depend Campaign

moosA pivotal (you’d never forgive me if I used the word watershed) campaign by Kimberly-Clark – and Bob Moos does a wonderful job unpacking it:

Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment
dmn The new TV commercials have ordinary boomer men and women engaged in some unscripted banter about the differences between the two sexes, such as whether men or dependspotwomen make better drivers and which sex actually rules the world … The commercials were directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris and bear a striking resemblance to a short film he created for a recent Oscars telecast in which people talk off the cuff about why they like movies.

Watch the Depend spots.

Bob saw my 4/9 post about the campaign and called me:

em Why couldn’t it have been…?
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.

So I get a quote or two in the article.  Thanks, Bob!

Related Post: Ads target empty nests, full wallets

19 May 2009

Fast Company Names Joseph Coughlin to Top 100 List

mcp Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin has been awarded a spot on this year’s Fast Company list of Top 100 Most Creative People In Business.  Here’s why:

joecar #87 - Joseph Coughlin: Director, MIT's AgeLab
Coughlin, 47, runs the first multidisciplinary research lab devoted to using smart technology to bolster older folks' quality of life.

In my book (2005) I hint at a few things Dr. Coughlin talks about in the video clip.  An excerpt:


And that’ll be due to pragmatic visionaries like Joe Coughlin and his research team.

Dr. Coughlin and yours truly ‘gigged’ together a few years ago:

MIT AgeLab
jcoughlin As you can imagine, I've 'seen'em all' when it comes to presenters and pundits specializing in age-related issues. Dr. Coughlin's presentation was nothing I'd ever heard or seen before. Mind-boggling technological advances are already here or down the road apiece.

More about MIT AgeLab and Dr. Joe Coughlin:

Bookmarked Brains

18 May 2009

Asia-Pacific Tourism Summit

Next week in Sydney, Australia:

Asia-Pacific Tourism Summit
boomerSummit Baby boomers are the travelling phenomena of this era.  Destinations and tourism operators wishing to be part of this exciting demographic niche need to start planning urgently to cater for the interests and requirements of the travelling baby boomer.

 eTurboNews has a good piece about it:

Tourism operators pulling down the shutters for Australia - without realizing
etn Forget Gen X and Gen Y. It could be the baby boomers generation throwing the tourism industry a lifeline …

I’ve been writing about all this for years.  A blog post and excerpt from my book:

Cookie-Cutter Cavalcades



The eTurboNews article also addresses the bigger picture:

… Advertising research has shown the baby boomers feel overshadowed by younger generations when it comes to products and services, and no-one is interested in courting them or their money. 

No kidding.  That’s my book, my blog.  A recent post:

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

buckleyManaging Director of Tourism Australia Geoff Buckley will address this question: Are Baby Boomers the recession busters

Could be.  I likewise mention this possibility in an online presentation (skip to the 17:30 timeline mark).

15 May 2009

2009 Boomer Venture Summit


Mary Furlong, my good friend and heroine of all things Boomer, is hosting the sixth annual Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit on June 16th and 17th.


We invite you to join us for an exciting two-day program consisting of leaders across a wide range of industries. They all have one thing in common – they invest in or serve the boomer consumer.

The juiciest event will be The Boomer Business Plan Competition:

Grand Prize Winners will be selected on Wednesday, June 17, 2009. All finalists will present their business plans to an esteemed panel of judges at the 2009 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Business Plan Competition at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA.

If you’re not able to attend, make sure to track down press about it afterwards.  You'll find out about the winner and many of the finalists.  Their ideas for products and services are always refreshing, creative, and smart.

A post about The 2006  Boomer Venture Summit.

13 May 2009

Advertising/Marketing Resources

evergreenlogoEvergreen Advertising/Marketing in Australia offers free PDF downloads of some sterling resources, including:

  • The introduction to Section One of David Wolfe’s seminal Ageless Marketing

  • Chapter Two of Dick Stroud’s 50-PLUS MARKET (Yours Truly contributed a section elsewhere)

  • An issue of Prophets Profit magazine focusing on the 50+ market 

  • A Brochure for The Evergreen Report
    Women over 50: Their perspectives on
    life and portrayal in advertising

  • The Preface and Introduction (The Geritol Syndrome) from my book Advertising To Baby Boomers

When you get there scroll a bit and click the thumbnails for downloads:

Evergreen Resources


A direct link: Advertising To Baby Boomers Preface & Introduction

12 May 2009

Oprah & Dan … & Chuck

I’ve blogged Dan Pink:

What Kind of Genius Are You?
dhp 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…

wnm And I talk about his book A Whole New Mind in my presentations.

Of course, Oprah and Chuck go way back:

Boomers Beyond: Marketing to a 50-Plus Audience (2005)
I'm the selfless sort. If Oprah's name cozying up to mine will boost her career, I'm glad to help.

So it was especially gratifying to me when they finally powwowed:

danandoprah Oprah Talks to Daniel Pink
... I think baby boomers are going to do something quite spectacular. They say, "Sixty's not old. Oh, I've got 25 years left." Then they look back 25 years and say, "Holy smokes, that sure happened fast. Are the next 25 years going to happen as fast? And if they are, what's my legacy going to be? When am I going to live my best life? What kind of imprint am I going to leave on the world?" Roughly 100 baby boomers turn 60 every 18 minutes in this country. Imagine the collective force of that …

I’m a bit miffed that they didn’t invite me to join them. Oh, well. You know how people get when they go big time. They forget who helped them get there …

08 May 2009

Not About The Kindle Controversy

bezos I don’t want to get into a brouhaha over Amazon’s Kindle and whether it’s a swindle or a savior or Beelzebub.  (Although the talking version seems to need elocution lessons.)

I’m only interested in this:









70 percent of Kindle owners over 40?
by David Carnoy
crave We can't call this the most scientific poll ever taken, but it's probably a good indicator of the Kindle's age demographic. If you add it all up, over half the owners are over 50 and 70 percent are over 40.

That might be news to most folks – but not to readers of my book and this blog.  Pulled from the cover of the 1st edition (March, 2005):








The newest Kindle is bigger and (of course) better:

Amazon Introduces Big-Screen Kindle
ntyl The device, called the Kindle DX (for deluxe), has a screen two and a half times the size of those on the two older versions of the Kindle, which were aimed primarily at displaying book pages.

Do you think Amazon and their ad agency will be doggedly targeting Baby Boomers with their campaign? 

We’ll see.

(As I fiddled with this post, a really good idea for a TV spot burst into this noggin of mine.  When we finally see a campaign for Kindle DX, I’ll tell you what it was.  Or maybe I’ll drive down to Seattle and harangue Jeff Bezos …)

06 May 2009

Businesses Fighting For Baby Boomer Dollars

A very good piece by Mary Motzko – and not necessarily because I’m quoted.  Yours Truly is in heady company:

Businesses Fighting For Baby Boomer Dollars
lw Marketing Campaigns Aimed At Boomer Generation
While baby boomers are open to advertising, there are certain avenues companies should avoid as to not turn their targeted audience against their product.

After being interviewed, I suggested that Ms. Motzko contact Dr. Harry (Rick) Moody.  She did:

rm When creating an ad aimed at baby boomers, Harry Moody, the director of academic affairs for AARP, warns companies to not generalize those over 50 into one group. Moody said that grouping all baby boomers together as the same audience "is sure to lead to disaster."

Also interviewed is Mark Bradbury, Research Director at AARP:

According to Bradbury, baby boomers are used to redefining what it means to be a certain age. They did it when they were young, then again in their teens and 20s, and now they're trying to redefine what it means to be 50.

That sounds familiar.  From my book:


Or you can hear me scream it over The Who and Led Zeppelin.

05 May 2009

Experts in Asia and Australia

This blog gets half its hits from international ISPs – and half of those are from Asia and Australia.  Why?  Both continents have huge older populations, and marketers there are wisely rethinking demographic priorities. 

biGill Walker contributed a sumptuous chunk of insight in a recent Henry Stewart Talks Seminar.  Her appearance on Australia’s Today Show is likewise a treat – and it includes one of my favorite troublemaking spots (for NestlĂ©'s Entice).

Click here or the picture below to watch the interview:


A recent blog post featured Kim Walker.  Last month he was a guest on Channel News Asia’s "Primetime" morning show:

For a more academic approach to it all:

silvermarketThe 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 …

There’s a chapter by you-know-who in there somewhere.

04 May 2009


On Friday I stuck this piece in my virtual holster, but Dick “Quick Draw” Stroud was speedier to the trigger:


Even Google talks nonsense
It looks like it was written in 10 minutes after a rapid canter through Wikipedia.

Notorious for ageism, it’s no surprise that Google’s Boomer marketing advice is old hat, confusing, and clunky:

“… Boomers, in particular, tend to benefit from nostalgic targeting that reminds them of their youth.”


01 May 2009

Puncturing Myths

As usual, there aren’t really any myths about Boomers and media/advertising that haven’t been punctured by Yours Truly and many others.  A pretty good list from a year ago:

How Well Do You Know Boomers?
Myth #6 - Boomers are brand loyal and will not switch
Golly gee, willikers. If you don't know this by now ...

But I guess the industry is still in a river in Egypt.

At the recent Upfront Summit, Crown Media CEO Henry Schleiff apparently caused some trouble.

Click here or the picture below to view the video clip:hs

The chief of Hallmark's TV operations doesn't think enough people appreciate how rapidly the traditional TV audience is aging or what that means.  (Ad Age)

I was quoted along with Mr. Schleiff in a Kansas City Star piece last year:

Baby boomers become the forgotten consumer
August 4, 2008
By Jennifer Mann
"Our viewers have assets, not allowances," Schleiff told Wall Street analysts.