30 June 2009

Memed again.

The whole point of this blog, the book, my consulting, my speaking over the last six years: To kick-start the revolution. 

So, it’s working (or at least word is getting out):

jfMedia X: Wasted on the Young
by Jack Feuer 
Which is why, brothers and sisters, we need a communications Strawberry Statement. We need a new revolution. A corporate rebellion, not a cultural one.

Boomers are going to have to go back to the barricades and do what we do best: Force the issue. If there aren't bodies in the streets, there's no truth in the communication and no value in the channel … Track down the creative directors responsible for all those asinine, tie-dyed, surfer music spots and shove their Smartphones up their service entrance.

I’ve never been quite that graphic.  I’ll scratch my head in public, but not my ***:

NostraChuckus Scratches His Head
chimp1… In this age of digital ephemera, where things zoom by, just as quickly zoom into oblivion, are forgotten, or even worse, never seen, when these same things zoom by again and again and again, they’re all, all of a sudden, brand new.

More from Media X (and Yours Truly if you follow the links):

We aren't now and never were a Generation just about Me.

You think we're brand loyal.
jcm (A second favorite excuse of agencies is: “Baby Boomers don’t change brands.” Nyren dismantles this excuse nicely with examples of brand switching, and he further acknowledges that in cases where loyalty to a brand does exist, marketers who do not target Boomers give them no reason to change.)

And the next person that hires Dennis Hopper to star in their commercial will find their house thoroughly TP'ed … Find somebody else to represent the Sixties. Stanley Owsley would work.

(Again) Boomers are going to have to go back to the barricades and do what we do best: Force the issue …

A chapter in my book is all about that:

advbbcover I’m going to try to motivate you—to rally the troops. If you are a creative who is a Baby Boomer, those troops would be you.


Cloned. Memed.  I like it.

28 June 2009

50+ Marketing Seminar in London

Thursday 16 July 2009, Olympia, London, UK:

50+ Marketing Seminar
The 50+ Marketing Seminar brings together a wealth of experience and knowledge from the UK's experts on marketing to the 50+ and mature markets.

I know three of those experts:

kevinlavery Kevin Lavery: One of the founders and currently Managing Director of Millennium, the UK’s leading specialist marketing consultancy for the 50+ market.

regstarkey Reg Starkey: A former President of the Creative Circle, Reg’s work has been recognised with national and international awards. He has published one book for Millennium, ‘SAMPLES OF ONE’ and contributed to two others on the mature market, as well as editing their B2B magazine CIRCUS throughout 2008.

DickStroud Dick Stroud: In July 2003 I started the world's first daily blog that is dedicated to 50-plus marketing. Before running my own companies my career included working for IBM and PA Management Consultants. At the dawn of time I collected a first-degree in Electronics and an MBA.

circus We all contributed to Circus Magazine (PDF).  Kevin, Dick, and yours truly are members of IMMN.  I’ve blogged about Kevin, Dick, and Reg dozens of times:

Kevin Lavery: Why we should be marketing to the over-50s

London & Marks & Spencer
After The European Speaking/Consulting Tour it was off to London for a good mix of business and pleasure - so much so that it was hard to separate the two.

If you’re here you’d better pay attention to what’s happening over there:
InTwoFocus is Europe's first Web video marketing agency specialising in the 50-plus market

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

heroes 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.

So this should be a good one.  Too bad I won’t be there to heckle them from the gallery.

26 June 2009

Me vs. We Redux

A colleague sent this email:

Good story today -
This Boomer Isn't Going to Apologize

I did read something about a bunch of pundits apologizing for the recession/depression or whatever we’re going through. Apparently, they think it’s all their fault because they’re Baby Boomers. (Did any generation apologize for The Great Depression? I’ll have to check the history books.  If not, it should.  Some of those evil bastards must still be alive.  Anybody over ninety-eight had better atone.)

This blog gets hits from search terms such as selfish boomers. The googlers usually end up on one of these 2005 posts:

Those Selfish, Money-Grubbing Baby Boomers
Andrea Coombes of MarketWatch has put together a trenchant article about Baby Boomers and their value systems. In this case, it has to do with inheritances … Money is low on the list of what boomers hope to inherit …

Selfless baby boomers switch careers
Kevin Corke of NBC News has put together a short piece about Baby Boomers wanting the second acts of their lives to be more meaningful by finding jobs that are socially responsible. It was prompted by a Princeton Survey Research Associates International study.

Or one from early 2008:

Me vs. We
mevsyou Last week I read a piece of marketing advice: "Baby boomers have always been considered the 'me-generation,' and that doesn't change with age."  It's this type of reckless gibberish that is useless to marketers, and ultimately harmful to their clients.

And there’s a book.

I explained it all way back in 1998:

tootsie1xBaby Boomer Nutrition  People are always coming up to me and asking, "Chuck, why are Baby Boomers so wonderful?"

How rare it is to have an infinite number of correct answers to a single question! One of my standard replies: It has to do with our alimentary intake during adolescence.

Truth be told, I get queasy reading all the bashing and the defending.  I did like this piece, however:

bloom How Boomers Can Change the World (again)
rmkBy Rosabeth Moss Kanter 
World, get ready! The Baby Boomers are becoming the Senior Boomers, and they want to change you again.

So what does all this have to do with advertising?  I’m not sure.  Maybe something, maybe not. A snippet from my book:


More from Matt Thornhill: Blessed or Cursed? Baby Boomers Frequently Unfairly Attacked

24 June 2009

The Midlife Gals

From: Kelly Jackson
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 3:17 PM
To: Chuck Nyren

gals1 Chuck,

We'd ask if we can call you Chuck, but as boomers, you know that we'd do it anyway.

We're two sisters from Texas. We're The Midlife Gals, who are making a name for ourselves all over the Internet (just google The Midlife Gals and poof ... first two to three pages of nothing BUT us).

We're KEEN to become spokeswomen marketing to boomers. We are presently writing a conversational weekly column and producing and starring in weekly videos for More Magazine online. For More Magazine, we're sort of a twisted, dangerous version of Dear Abby. We know that boomers need humor and react to that type of marketing. We're sort of The Smothers Brothers with bosoms. Please peruse our website/blog:


How do you suggest we break through?? It's not as if we aren't TRYING!

KK and Sal

23 June 2009

NostraChuckus Scratches His Head

Who is NostraChuckus?

Another déjà vu …
For me, the strangest episodes are happening while reading news articles about Baby Boomers and realizing that I’ve read versions of them all before – in my book and blog. 

sooth And they’ve given me excuses to have tongue-in-cheek fun with my alter-ego NostraChuckus.  But recently it’s been spooky.  I’m starting to believe my own goofy hype – hype I made up myself.  (Or maybe I’m still having tongue-in-cheek fun ...)

A recent piece in MediaPost:

Maybe Peter Pan Should Move To Madison Avenue
mpb … Nationwide research by AARP shows that the majority of consumers over 50 feels that advertising and marketing either portrays them negatively or ignores them altogether.

Why? Because it's being created by people at least 20 years younger.

Hmmm.  All points made sound suspiciously like my online and trade mag articles, my blog, my consulting, a big chunk of my presentation when speaking.  Since 2003. 

I’m happy to see all this.  Maybe even proud.  Because  NostraChuckus predicted it all – including the emergence of small-to-medium sized ad agencies staffed with folks who understand that ‘the best advertising is done by people who advertise to themselves

I’ve also yelled it over Led Zeppelin. (audio download)

advbbcover Related posts here?  Every third one, probably. (And at last count, there are 481 of’em.)

A review of Advertising to Baby Boomers from 2005 – and two snippets:
 pull1pull2  q0

From the book:

quotea qb 



chimp I guess NostraChuckus is scratching his head because in this age of digital ephemera, where things zoom by, just as quickly zoom into oblivion, are forgotten, or even worse, never seen, when these same things zoom by again and again and again, they’re all, all of a sudden, brand new.

Dick Stroud, another brilliant seer of simple common sense, is likewise scratching his head – but for different reasons.

Update 7/01/09: Memed again.

21 June 2009

Entrepreneurship: The New Mid-Life Crisis

A BusinessWeek blog post:

Entrepreneurship: The New Mid-Life Crisis
This is a guest blog by Emily Schmitt, who joined BusinessWeek’s Small Business team and Investing team in June.
bwAn entrepreneurial boom is on its way, but don’t expect it to be led by 20-somethings. Instead, America’s best economic recovery plan is in the hands of those aged 50 and up, according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation.

Not much new, really – but check it out for some good links, including one to The Kauffman Foundation study (PDF).

I left a comment on the blog, along with a few quotes from my book.  A handful of more pulls:




More from the BusinessWeek blog post:

As we see more large firms go under, we may also see a shift toward small businesses—the same ones that drive innovation. And it’s all thanks to the baby boomers.

I’ve also talked a bit about  this – in a few blog posts and in an online presentation.

17 June 2009

Universal Design Moves More Mainstream

It’s fun to be quoted by folk I don’t know:

Universal Design Moves More Mainstream
By Home Experts Team
homeIntel It’s stating the obvious to say that the Baby Boomer generation is aging – we’re reminded often, thanks to the media.  However, it is this generation – or more specifically, their situation and needs – that is paving the way for how the rest of us will prepare for the future.


I do know Dr. Scott Rains.  He picked up on it, nice fellow that he is:

rollingrainsUD: Learning from Chuck Nyren and HomeIntel Blog

But if you take a peek at Rolling’s Seven Principles of Universal Design at the end of the link above, you’ll know that he has nothing to learn from me.  I learn from him.


More Universal Design News: A Free Webinar Thursday, June 18th – hosted by Louis Tenenbaum.

15 June 2009

Harris Poll & Advertising & Social Networking

Take a look:

HarrisInteractive Offline Social Word of Mouth Influence On Brand Decision-Making More Frequent and More Powerful Than Online Social Media

The most frequently identified methods of gathering information were:

  • Using a company website (36%),
  • Face-to-face with a salesperson or other company representative (22%), and
  • Face-to-face with a person not associated with the company (21%).

Other frequently mentioned methods or sources were:

  • Advertising in print media (19%),
  • Independent websites that have reviews (19%),
  • Phone call to the company (16%), and
  • Public or private social networking sites (4%).

Thirty-six percent use a company web site.  Four percent use social networking sites. 

I’ve been blogging about this for years

The real issue is that WOMMers have usurped the term word of mouth.  Word of mouth is what word of mouth marketing isn’t.  From my book:

When it all comes out in the wash, WOMM will be the best thing to happen to (silly retronym ahead) traditional advertising. Pretty soon, consumers won't believe anybody - even their best friends. They'll realize that they receive the most honest and straightforward information about a product or service from a TV commercial, print ad, or product web site. At least we don't lie about who we are and why we're saying what we're saying.

As far as all the claptrap about WOMM replacing advertising - people who are hawking that one have a slippery grip on history. Word-of-mouth marketing is nothing new. It's been around for a hundred years, since the beginning of modern advertising, always morphing into various forms. The latest morphs: online social networking and blogs.

There is plenty of marketing and advertising to be done on the Web, and who knows what forms they will take over the next ten years. We'll all be surprised. But word-of-mouth as the primary driving force of marketing? I think not.

Remember this: Advertising didn't die with the invention of the telephone.

Someone who understands history and makes you laugh:

The Revolution That Never Happened
ac Ten years ago, if you would have said that DVR viewing would represent only 5% of total viewing today, you would have been called a fool and a Luddite. – The Ad Contrarian

Download The HarrisInteractive® Report (PDF)

14 June 2009

A Few New Campaigns

Way back in 2006 I was part of a private marketing seminar for AstraZeneca’s Crestor:

az The day was productive and fun. The three ‘experts’ were Dr. Coughlin, John Page from Yankelovich, and you-know-who. The numbers-cruncher wore a very conservative, gray suit, the academic a dark pinstripe and loud bow tie, and the ad guy a mock turtleneck and over-the-top orangey sport coat.

We were straight from central casting.

The night before I had dinner with a gentleman from Commonhealth and the Brand Manager of Crestor®.  Of course, I’d done homework.  Three points I made:

  • Boomers want information.  I found out more about the active ingredient (Rosuvastatin) and how it works from Wikipedia than I did on the Crestor web site.

  • Feel-good advertising is fine, but make sure the commercial pushes you to the web site for more information – and the information is there.

  • You should produce a computer-animated ‘fly-through’ video of arteries showing how and why Crestor works. 

crestor The other night I saw a Crestor spot with a man in his fifties explaining a bit about the medication, and pushing viewers to the Crestor web site to view an animated video about how Crestor works. 

I can’t find the television spot on the web, but did find the animated video:


Take an interactive artery tour …


My colleagues, heroes, and brothers in troublemaking Brent Green and Dick Stroud have been all over a bunch of campaigns that use the perennial ‘time machine’ technique:

Some target 50+, one should but doesn’t, one (or maybe two) are age-neutral.  You decide:

Bacardi Rum Mojitos, Marketing Missteps, Boomers and Social Justice
bg Take another look at the commercial and now scrutinize for diversity. You’ll see Caucasians, Latinos and African Americans. You’ll certainly see a balance of gender, as you would expect for a nightclub evolving backward through the fourth dimension (of time). What you won’t see is anyone over the age of 40 (more likely 30) — neither in the present nor in the distant past where the thirsty customer finally gets his freshly mashed mojito.

dsThe more retro the better?
Retro advertising is back with a vengeance … I suspect you can have a bit too much of retro, even for the over-50s market.

The M&S spot is my favorite:

Probably because Twiggy is sexier and more fun now then way back when – and I chortled at the cheeky nod to a classic spot for Levi’s:

11 June 2009

Older Employees' Better Coping Skills Mean Better Engagement

mb Marti Barletta sent this to a handful of us boomer business folk:

The Herman Trend Alert
June 10, 2009
by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia
Older Employees' Better Coping Skills Mean Better Engagement 
hgOur younger workers are most affected by the current economic crisis even as our older employees are able to handle the trials of this difficult economic time. These findings were recently reported in a study by Boston College's Sloan Center on Aging & Work.

It reminded me of some posts over the last five years:

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

And an article I never got around to blogging about:

Why We Need Aging Workers
By Ray B. Williams
rbw The key to a company’s future success will be its adaptability – its capacity to deploy resources quickly to seize competitive opportunities and to draw from a labor pool that features a mix of multi-skilled, full-time workers, and specifically-skilled, contingent employees who contribute on a part-time or temporary basis.

And my book:


09 June 2009

Builders urged to pay attention …

Excerpts from a recent news article:

Builders urged to pay attention to what Boomers want
by Cecilia Chan - Jun. 6, 2009
The Arizona Republic
azc Developers of retirement communities will need to adapt to the changing lifestyles of Baby Boomers to continue to attract them in the future, an Arizona State University expert says.

… "One of the issues for the industry is if they keep building these humongous cities with amenities, is this what they want?" Waldron said. "Some researchers show Baby Boomers don't want to be segregated and they want to continue working."

…  In the report, local developers and experts note that retirement communities will have to change to draw a new kind of retiree. For example, the report points out that the number of 55-plus people working from home has increased sharply, more than doubling over six years to 13 percent in 2007.

Sounds familiar.  Excerpts from my book, originally published in March, 2005:

Advertising_To_Baby Boomers … Past generations tended to get excited about modern conveniences that would make their lives easier. They would walk into a planned housing unit and exclaim, ‘Look! It’s got this and this and this and this!’  The more features, the better. The more planned, the better. It was time to start a new life. They wanted to be rewarded for all their hard work, and relax.

Not so with Baby Boomers. We take most modern conveniences for granted. We don’t want to start new lives, but continue the lives we already have.

… Baby Boomers will be anticipating a seamless transition. Instead of ‘Look! It has this and this and this’, we’ll be sniffing around for friendly, useful spaces. You will want us to say, ‘Look! There’s a perfect place for my pottery wheel’ or ‘There are plenty of windows and sunlight. My house plants and indoor herb garden will do fine in here’ or ‘Good. I can put up big, deep shelves for my books and CDs’ or ‘Here’s the perfect room for our side business on eBay’ or ‘Here’s a place where I can soundproof a recording studio or have an entertainment center’ or ‘This oversized back door is great because I can get my bicycle in and out without squeezing and jerking it around, and the extra-wide hallway means there’s plenty of room so I can just lean it against the wall and we won’t bang into it every time we walk past it.’

… When developing or molding a community for Baby Boomers, start with the concept of neutral. Do not confuse this with sameness. For example, when designing an indoor community space, do not assume that it will be used mostly for Bingo. Fashion it with flexibility so that it may be used for almost anything.

advbbcover Read the complete chapter (PDF):

C H A P T E R  F O U R
Give Boomers Room for Choices