28 May 2010

Growing Bolder to American Public Television

Those actively optimistic and fun folks at Growing Bolder must be more frenzied than ever. In September, American Public Television will be offering The Growing Bolder series to PBS outlets:

The Growing Bolder TV Show Goes National!
image The Growing Bolder TV Show has been selected by American Public Television as one of the very few new programs for national distribution …  every PBS Station in the country will receive the show in high definition and many have already indicated that they’ll air it.

image Famed Soothsayer NostraChuckus has been startling the world for years with his mundane prognostications – and Growing Bolder’s eventual syndication was divined but partially obscured in his crystal ball. It looked to him like a radio show, not a TV program. 

Listen to the Growing Bolder Interview - 2006. (But please excuse the host and his rather tepid, underplayed introduction. A bit of hyperbole would have been appreciated.)

Growing Bolder Press Kit for PBS stations, local and national underwriters.

Contact your local PBS station and request The Growing Bolder TV Show.

27 May 2010

Advertising didn't die with the invention of the telephone.

Another trenchant post by The Ad Contrarian worthy of ripping off:

3 Oddball Ideas About Media
image Think carefully about the numbers.  … YouTube viewership has reached 2 billion videos a day. This is absolutely mind-blowing. However, it doesn't  make YouTube an effective advertising medium. There are some media that are universally utilized but are not very good for advertising (e.g., the telephone.)

Along with these:

Is roiling ether the best place for advertising?

Snake Oil In Cyberspace

There’s this from 2005:

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

26 May 2010

No News News Redux II

No News News Reduximage
I’m one of the few bloggers to take pride in bringing you no news news.  I’ve been offering my readers no news news for years …
No News News Flash #1:
A lot of times no news news happens because Dick Stroud beats me to it, what with his getting up earlier than I do.
Like today …
Email designs are neglecting the needs of Boomers
There’s nothing new here – and Dick knows it.  But he’s nicer than I am. 
A post from a few years ago about a presentation of mine:
Our requested changes were never heeded.
image … It was especially amusing when your graphic for ***** came up and you noted that the copy was too small to read. You should have added that for some reason, more and more people are also using this light gray typeface (in the print ad you used as an example). My proofreading colleagues and I would get myopically and intellectually frustrated and rant about our changes not being acknowledged!
What I say when this slide pops up: “A fifty or older designer would not design an ad that he or she cannot see.”
The same holds true for DRM email.
No News News Flash #2:
In Praise of the Original Social Media: Good Ol' Television
image Here's what I've learned from soaking in all that data: For all the buzz and obsession about social media, old media still rules our lives. (It's amazing how often we use new media to talk about what old media is up to.) And of all the old media, TV maintains the tightest grip on our collective consciousness.

I can’t link to all the posts here about this.  Just believe me – or search the blog for ‘television’ …
And my next post will be about TV.
image Baby Boomers grew up watching television as a group.  I tell the story in a section of my speaking/consulting presentations.

So until the next time nothing new pops up in the news …

24 May 2010

Diversity as a Strategic Advantage

Pretty good, nothing that new, but …

Diversity as a Strategic Advantage
image It's about more than filling quotas, as such companies as Turner Broadcasting, IBM, and Pfizer have discovered
By Alaina Love
For companies to capitalize successfully on diversity, they must develop a robust and comprehensive strategic framework that not only considers how to attract and retain diverse employees…

There doesn’t seem to be any mention of age diversity.  I’ve been writing and blogging about that for seven years:

Back into the Fold (2003)
The Giant Leap: there had better be a minor revolution in the creative end of the advertising industry. Talented men and women in their late forties and fifties need to be brought back into the fold if you want to reach us. This includes copywriters, graphic artists, producers, directors, and creative directors.

Managing Age Diversity (2006)
image "Advertising agencies are in the business of creativity. They are also in the business of managing human perceptions. It's therefore interesting that although many tactics are employed to ensure creativity, agencies have traditionally not cottoned on to the fact that a more diverse workforce, inclusive of non-discriminatory age policies, poses the potential for greater competitive advantage."

Rance Crain Makes Perfect Sense Yet Again (2007)
image It makes all the sense in the world for ad makers (both clients and agencies) to be well-stocked with people who understand consumers, whether young people who fathom the mysteries of cyberspace, a good mixture of people who reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of our country, and, yes, even older people who understand the vitality and buying power of the great gorge of baby boomers overtaking our land.

Diversity = Productivity (2008)
Dr. Page asks practical ones like, “How can we all be more productive together?” The answer, he suggests, is in messy, creative organizations and environments with individuals from vastly different backgrounds and life experiences.

image Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains (2010)
… As Strauch’s book makes clear … older workers can provide valuable brain power to an organization.

So – other than this glaring omission, a good piece.

21 May 2010

We’re all miserably happy, or …

image Nothing in life fills me with more joy and happiness and dread and stress than reading surveys and news articles about Baby Boomers.

While it’s usually a mistake to assume that Baby Boomers are all the same, in this case it must be true: We’re all happy and miserable.

After all, you can’t argue with facts:

Baby Boomers: An unhappy generation?
by Amy Sherman
image … Why does a recent survey from Pew Research on Demographic Trends state that of all the generations, baby boomers are considered the unhappiest and most discontent? Could it be because our work and personal responsibilities cause us too much stress? Or that we feel strapped, tired and just bummed out?

Daily stress and worry plummet after age 50 By Sharon Jayson
image After 50, daily stress and worry take a dive and daily happiness increases, according to an analysis of more than 340,000 adults questioned about the emotions they experienced "yesterday."

The research, published online today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that young adults experience more negative emotions more frequently than those who are older.

The Takeaway: Your happiness or misery is directly or inversely proportional to the survey you happen to be reading.

20 May 2010

Foretellings Redux

image I’m watching Charlie Rose.  He’s interviewing a CEO in the venture capital/media biz:

imageJonathan Nelson is Providence's chief executive officer and is based in our Providence and New York offices. Mr. Nelson is currently a director of Bresnan Communications, Hulu, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Univision Communications and Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.

Interesting fellow.  Then I’m practically stupefied when he says (almost a direct quote) “More people will be using Smartphones than laptops and desktops within five years.”

Someone else divined that same thing recently:

image With the exception of the workplace, smartphones (along with iPads and Kindles or something like them) might just make desktops and laptops and the web as we know it obsolete.

Jonathan is as smart as I am.  Wait … he’s smarter.  He’s a billion-and-almost-a-half-aire

But he’s got nothin’ on me. We think alike, we’re exactly alike - except for being separated by a few measly bucks. Big deal. 

He says what I said about 28 minutes in (click his pic): 


image His tie is crooked.  I’d never allow that to happen on my neck. My clip-on is always neat and straight.

Maybe more separates us than simply quadrillions of pennies.

19 May 2010

Advertising Is Dead. Again. (Part II)

Bob Hoffman, infamous Ad Contrarian, tipped me off to this one.

image Here’s a question I’ve never wondered about:

“What do viewers do during commercials?”

I just assumed that most viewers watch them. Now I find out the truth: Most viewers watch them.

image Contrary to longstanding received wisdom, the large majority of viewers of live television do not leave the room, nor do they change the channel, when the TV program they are watching goes to commercial …

TV advertising and program promotions reach 85% of adults daily; viewers typically see 26 advertising or promotional breaks daily, at an average length of 2 minutes and 46 seconds per break …

  • 11% of viewers change channels during the four minutes of TV programming before the commercial break
  • 14% change channels during commercials
  • 13% change channels in the four-minute period after programming returns
  • 86% of viewers remain with live TV during commercials

Such a shock.

But … what about social media marketing?  That’s the new thing, what everyone’s talking about, the only way to go nowadays. It’s the greatest thing since the telephone.

image For those fascinated with graphs and charts, download this PDF:

Video Consumer Mapping Study


imageNext time some digi-dork vomits up the old "no one watches commercials anymore" line, smack him in the head for me. – The Ad Contrarian

Advertising Is Dead. Again. (Part I)

18 May 2010

Advertising Is Dead. Again. (Part I)

Here’s a very scary article:

New report claims social cure to ineffectual advertising
A report launched today claims that nearly $426 billion was spent on ineffectual advertising activity in the last year alone. (!!!)

image Today’s newly empowered consumers hold a deep rooted cynicism towards companies: 58% (62%UK and 54% US) of respondents felts (sic) that ‘companies are only interested in selling products and services to me, not necessarily the product or service that is right for me’.

The Grim Reaper has arrived.  According to this survey.

In my presentations there’s a slide that quotes similar surveys:


Then, with the magic of PP custom animation, I reveal a bit of possibly relevant info – the dates of these surveys:


 Most of the above statistics are from The Mirror Makers by Stephen Fox:


It’s official.  The last sixty-four years of advertising has been declared ‘ineffectual’. 

Sharpen your scythes. Part II coming up tomorrow.

It’s tomorrow: Advertising Is Dead. Again. (Part II)

17 May 2010

Print Readership is Highest Among Baby Boomers

image Senior Magazine, based in Colorado with a dozen or so sister publications up and down a handful of Southern and Western states, says this:

Why has Hyundai increased sales while every other auto manufacturer has seen a decline in sales?  Print marketing to boomers.

Well … that’s not completely true.  Hyundai also has a pretty good television campaign.  Very classy stuff.

How long have I been talking about targeting Boomers for automobiles?  Here I am actually talking about it in 2005:

image Author/Copywriter Champions Advertising to Baby Boomers
Co-host Brad Forsythe interviews Chuck Nyren, author of "Advertising to Baby Boomers."

The Advertising Show (audio download)

And there’s this:

What Next From The Crystal Ball of Common Sense?

imageFamed Soothsayer and advertising gadfly NostraChuckus has been startling the world for years with his mundane prognostications. 

One of his first foretellings is now coming true.  Way back in The Ancient Times (2005) he foretold the redesigning of automobiles for an aging demographic …

More about print:

Print Readership is Highest Among Baby Boomers
image According to a NAS report published in March 2010, time spent on print media (community & daily papers, magazines & books) is highest among older Baby Boomers who are spending an average of 100 minutes per day reading their favorite print media.  The study also reported that the younger Boomer segment (ages 45-54 years) spends an average of 30 minutes per day.

In addition to national papers, the research stated that 58% read their local daily papers regularly, and 68% read their local community papers regularly.

And they’re also watching television and responding to brochures, some other forms of Direct Marketing, and the internet. 

As I’ve been saying for years:

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.

14 May 2010

The Daughter Trap

Laurel Kennedy:

image As founder of the “thinking firm” [part think tank and part consulting firm] called Age Lessons, Kennedy has become an acknowledged authority on multi-generational issues and an advocate for mature consumers.

We met in Chicago, worked together in New York City.

imageLaurel sent me a copy of her new book The Daughter Trap: Taking Care of Mom and Dad...and You.

I’m not exactly the target market for this tome, what with being male and both parents gone.  So a straight-ahead review of the book might be suspect. 

I’ll say this: Ms. Kennedy knows how to write and keep you reading, is quite adept at coordinating intriguing stories that roll like waves and eventually engulf you, is wonderful at interweaving anecdotal and statistical evidence while making her points forcefully:

Researcher Kennedy conducted 60 minute depth phone interviews across the U.S. with a nationally-representative sample of 216 working women born between 1946-1964, who reported having primary caregiving responsibility for one or more aging parents or in-laws.

Since I’m not reviewing the book …

image Praise for The Daughter Trap
Silver Anvil and National Telly Award winner Kennedy presents a razor-sharp tome on the impending national crisis in elder care.

More Reviews

The chapter getting the most press is about sibling rivalry (Laurel really hit a nerve with that one):

image Mom's favoritism can affect kids, sibling rivalry as adults
Kennedy … found that even though none of her questions asked directly about a parent favoring one child over another, about two-thirds of the women said there was a favored child, and most said it was "mother-focused."

Ms. Kennedy covers all relevant topics in her book and website.  I’ll toss in my 2¢ on one – corporate sponsorship …

This will sound a bit jaded and opportunistic - but as we know, companies do not like to associate themselves with depressing subjects – in this case, old and helpless people.  However, what an appreciated relief it would be for a couple of major outfits to acknowledge and support caregivers. It’s perfect PR. You don’t have to focus on the ‘caregiving’ – but on the difficult issues facing caregivers a strong, resilient bunch (because they have to be).  Grab your PR folks, get in touch with Laurel, and there are limitless possibilities.

As an example: There’s lots of talk about a new web site targeting Baby Boomers, Life Goes Strong:

image P&G, NBC Digital Create Network of Boomer Verticals
NBC Digital Networks and Procter & Gamble are partnering to offer a "vibrant" online destination for baby boomers. The network of sites known as Life Goes Strong will celebrate topics and passions "at the center of this dynamic generation’s everyday lives," NBC Digital said.

A good take on it by Dick Stroud.

There are a handful of articles about caregiving on the site – but wouldn’t it be a real coup to add another vertical and title it Caregiving Goes Strong?  (Actually, I’d prefer Caregivers Go Strong to focus on the people, not the act of caregiving.) 

What great PR it would be.  You’d make 40 million friends.

Need more ideas?  Read The Daughter Trap.

12 May 2010

Consumers Hesitant To Embrace E-Reader Advertising

The CMO Council’s new study:

image Consumers are holding on to their magazines, not ready to join the e-reader revolution, but are open to change in the form of more relevant and targeted, personalized advertising engagements …

“Consumers view magazines as part of an overall experience, likely rooted in leisure and relaxation. The advertising within print publications is viewed as part of that experience, similar to the commercials during the Super Bowl. What is telling is that regardless of channel, consumers are demanding a more personalized engagement, not necessarily a more digital one when it comes to their leisure time publications.”

image As usual, it all sounds very familiar.  NostraChuckus had something to say about this subject years ago:

Positioning Magazines for Baby Boomers (April, 2007)
There are active and passive parts of our day. Without getting into too much psychobabble, as you get older the passive side needs more nourishment. It’s not really passive. It’s focused absorption. At some point you have to climb out of your frenetic digital nest and concentrate on one thing. It might be reading a book, watching a TV show or movie, listening to music, looking out the window.

Or immersing yourself in a magazine.

This isn’t ‘down time’ (that would be sleeping), but nourishing your psyche by absorbing and not actively being involved in what you’re doing.

image Magazines do not compete with the various offerings slithering and exploding in a digital nest … It’s like a pleasant dinner, a walk, a good movie, a good book – to be singularly appreciated.

… For a big part of their day Baby Boomers are happy to fly far from all the chaos and into another nest – one that is warm and nourishing. That’s where they will find, among other delectable items, your magazine.

And the smaller these doodads get, the less visceral impact they will have:

image The visual power of the web will fade as more people use handheld devices.  Goodbye, fancy-schmancy web sites. People will get bored sifting through it all when they can find what they need with their smartphones …

That silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities.  Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.


image In a Fast World, There is Still Room for Slow and Steady
… Most members of the Baby Boom and Silent Generation would agree that a fast-paced world does not mean everything in it has to be at the speed of a texting pre-teen.

10 May 2010

HR/Brain Roll

I’m on a Human Resources/Brain roll. My last post:

Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains

image The first roll was in 2003, before blogs were known as blogs.  You’ll have to take a wild ride on The WayBack Machine to find it:

Advertising to Baby Boomers: Back into the Fold (June 26, 2003)
image Truth is, you can analyze marketing fodder all day and night, read countless books about marketing to Baby Boomers, attend advertising and marketing conventions around the world, and soak up everything all the experts have to say. Much of what is out there is valuable and useful, some practically required reading, others instructive and illuminating. But if you plan on implementing a creative strategy, and turn it over to a different generation of advertising professionals—you'll forfeit the natural sensibilities required to generate vital campaigns.

Since then, a book – and scores of posts.  A handful:

Hire Baby Boomer Creatives
NostraChuckus predicts the future. Again.

The Trouble with HR
image It makes all the sense in the world for ad makers (both clients and agencies) to be well-stocked with people who understand consumers, whether young people who fathom the mysteries of cyberspace, a good mixture of people who reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of our country, and, yes, even older people who understand the vitality and buying power of the great gorge of baby boomers overtaking our land. – Rance Crain

Older Employees' Better Coping Skills Mean Better Engagement

image Thanks to Kim Walker of Silver Group Asia, we now know that Singapore is a leader in the HR revolution:

Singapore Promotes The Benefits Of Older Workers
image Singapore's Ministry of Manpower has launched a multimedia campaign created by Dentsu to promote the employment of older workers. Through the campaign, MOM aims to highlight the importance and benefits of employing older workers to CEOs, HR Directors, HR Managers and Line Managers.

Do we have anything like this produced by the U.S. Department of Labor?  Or any other government entity? I haven’t seen any.  We’re too busy pushing Social Security – which is well and good and appreciated.  But perhaps we should also do a bit of vigorous, high-profile advertising that would benefit and expand the economy:

07 May 2010

Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains

I can’t seem to get away from this book:

The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain
For advertisers, everything she says is important.  Ms. Strauch talks about “creating a disorienting dilemma” and “shaking up the cognitive egg” to get our attention – not something usually done when advertising to Baby Boomers. Most ads pander and lull us to sleep.

image Carla Fried of CBS Moneywatch profiled the book:

Memo to H.R:
Older Brains
= Smarter Brains

image A new book makes the case that our brains can age as well as a vintage French burgundy; many of our most important cognitive functions actually improve with age … as Strauch’s book makes clear … older workers can provide valuable brain power to an organization.

I said pretty much the same thing a few days before, commenting on a New York Times interview with Barbara Strauch:


My book also surprised me after I read it:

The Trouble with HR
image While writing the first edition of my book way back in 2004, I ripped through it without much of a third eye – meaning, I knew what it was about but I had no idea what it was going to end up being.  When I received copies from my publisher, cracked open one, and finished it, I had a minor epiphany.  “This is really a book about HR.”  Kind of a shock, since I certainly didn’t plan it as such.  I’m one of those creative types, not a Human Resources person.

I wonder if Ms. Strauch had some of those same thoughts about her book.

I'll leave you with a quote from Rosser Reeves:

Old Masters and Young Geniuses
"No, I don't think a 68-year-old copywriter can write with the kids. That he's as creative. That he's as fresh. But he may be a better surgeon. His ad may not be quite as fresh and glowing as the Madison Ave. fraternity would like to see it be, and yet he might write an ad that will produce five times the sales. And that's the name of the game, isn't it?"