16 September 2009

Boomer Backlash II

Note: I’ve plagiarized myself with this post – but thought the ideas behind the original needed updating.  The backlash predicted is happening now.

imageA pivotal (you’d never forgive me if I used the word watershed) campaign by Kimberly-Clark for their Depend line is getting a lot of press. Culled from a piece by Bob Moos of The Dallas Morning News:

Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment
image … 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 women make better drivers and which sex actually rules the world … The TV spots are carefully crafted to appeal to boomers who, if they don't use Depends themselves, may be caregivers for parents who do …

image The creative is lots of fun. No surprise, since the spots were directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (born 1948). A Boomer directing Boomers.  Click one of the images below to watch the spots:

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I guess what upsets me about this campaign is not the campaign itself.  I love 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?  Baked Beans? Gender-specific razors? Aluminum foil? A smart phone? Anything but some age-related malady.

And there’s this:

Use only as directed
By Joseph P. Kahn
image Take one night last week, chosen at random, when NBC Nightly News aired 17 commercials during its 30-minute broadcast.

Of those 17 spots, 12 were for (in order): Zyrtec, an over-the-counter allergy medication; Citrucel Fiber Supplement With Calcium; Advil PM, a combination pain reliever and sleep aid; Transitions prescription eyeglass lenses ("healthy sight in every light"); Spiriva HandiHaler, for use by COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) sufferers; the cholesterol-lowering properties of Cheerios; Bayer aspirin and its heart-attack prevention benefits; Omnaris nasal spray, a prescription allergy medication; Just For Men hair coloring (let's help graying old Dad get a date!); Boniva, which helps reverse bone loss in postmenopausal women, most notably actress Sally Field; ThermaCare heat wraps, for relief of muscle and joint pain; and Pepcid Complete, a heartburn and acid reflux remedy.

The Backlash: If every time someone over fifty sees a commercial targeting them and it’s always for an age-related product or service, pretty soon their eyes will glaze over, they’ll get itchy and grumpy.

The Real Issue: Marketing and advertising folks grasping the fact that Boomers will be buying billions (trillions?) of dollars worth of non-age related products for the next twenty-odd years. If you target this group for toothpaste, computers, clothes, food, nail polish, sporting equipment, toenail clippers - anything at all (almost), and you do it with respect and finesse, they will appreciate and consider your product.   

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.

A quote from my book (1st Edition published in 2005):

advbbcover It’s going to be up to companies to be proactive when dealing with advertising agencies. Quality control of your product doesn’t stop at the entrances of Madison Avenue’s finest, or at the doors of small local or regional advertising agencies. If companies put pressure on agencies, and demand 45-plus creatives for products aimed at the 45-plus market, then they will find out that Baby Boomers are still “the single most vibrant and exciting consumer group in the world.”

Boomer Backlash I

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