27 September 2010

Next Avenue: Baby Boomers & PBS

Something’s simmering in the Twin Cities:

Public Broadcasters to Launch 'Next Avenue' Multimedia Initiative to Super-Serve and Engage Baby Boomers
imageNext Avenue, a new, national public television initiative that will offer comprehensive, multiplatform content designed to super-serve and engage baby boomers, help them navigate a new life stage and unleash their full potential…

So far, so good. 

But there’s more:

Adult Sesame Street to teach how to live
imagePBS … is collaborating on an adult Sesame Street, a new series that will teach baby boomers how to live. Called Next Avenue, the series — and corresponding web site — aims to help teach baby boomers how to handle their lives, now that they have reached middle age, just as the pre-school TV show teaches children their A-B-Cs.

Isn’t it a tad patronizing to assume that Baby Boomers need to be taught how to live and handle their lives?  Just reading that makes me itchy and queasy.

image There is a very intelligent series coming out of Twin Cities Public Television: Life Part 2.  I’ve blogged about it, and often use video chunks in my presentations. But I don’t think of Robert Lipsyte as Buffalo Bob hosting an adult Howdy Doody Show.

image Maybe this silly positioning will initially attract underwriters and PBS affiliates – but branding the project as a middle-aged pre-school when promoting it to the public…

Will they be resurrecting Mr. Do-Bee?

image One piece of advice: I wouldn’t get all agog over the concept of multiplatform content by making this project a truly interactive venture. Of course, have a web site (PBS usually produces good ones). Mobile apps? Fine. However, don’t be sidetracked.  Concentrate money and energy where the eyeballs are

Some ethical questions are considered in this New York Times piece:

Public TV Project Aims to Make Baby Boomers Its Own

23 September 2010

Which Comes First: Research or Insight?

Forrester Research/MediaPost has important news for us:

Boomers Ahead On Tech Curve Where It Counts: Their Wallets
image While Boomers are arguably less tech-savvy than younger consumers, they spend more money on technology, and on the Web, than any other age demographic …

Sounds familiar. Pull quote on the cover of Advertising to Baby Boomers ©2005:

coveradvbb“It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.

More from the MediaPost piece:

Boomers … are more reserved in their adoption of technologies and digital behaviors, but do in fact adopt technologies that play a role in pre-established behaviors.

Culled from Advertising to Baby Boomers (Page 161):


Read these folks:

IMMN Advisors/Thought Leadership

image Marti Barletta
Brent Green
Dr. Florian Kohlbacher
Kurt Medina
Hiroyuki (Hiro) Murata
Dick Stroud
David B. Wolfe
Todd Harff
Marilynn Mobley

They’ll give you insights years before spreadsheets will.

21 September 2010

Baby Boomers & Travel Companies & Irony

Recently there was a item from a trusted source about a new travel company targeting Baby Boomers.  I’m not linking to it because I wasn’t impressed. Dull and lifeless stuff.  Just add it to the invisible list of the same old same old.

A day or so later I stumbled upon another news story about a travel company targeting twenty/thirty-somethings.
The irony for me: The latter company has a good site, good copy – and with tweaking of their offers and philosophy would be a great model for targeting Baby Boomers.

That one I’ll link to.  In a minute.

I’ve been writing and speaking about this subject for years.  From January 2004 (get out your magnifying glass or skip it):

The article was expanded for a chapter in my book (©2005, 2007).  Excerpts:

Pouncing Mouses
      Many sociologists and futurists are predicting a few more radical social and political upheavals triggered by Baby Boomerbefore were packed off in coffins and urns, sprinkled over mystical mountains and mundane golf courses, or blasted into outer space so we can eternally commune with the cosmos.

advbbcoverOn  the other end of the spectrum, we’ll also be revolutionizing the  tourist industry for the  next  thirty years, taking hundreds of millions more vacations before the ultimate holiday. Travel companies are having big problems trying to figure out what to offer—and how to reach us. Were not lining up on docks for meaningless cruises on silly ships, nor are we allowing ourselves to be bundled into cookie- cutter cavalcades so we can gawk at decaying castles from the lumpy seats of double-decker buses. Nobody is going to tell us what a vacation is. We’ll tell you.
Theres a cottage industry out there preying on the blubbery and frightened tourist industry, making wild guesses as  to  what Baby Boomers will want to do with all our free time. I wont list them all here. They range from ecologically correct junkets to health-nut boot camps to intellectually and culturally themed excursions to the beating down of well-publicized, well-traveled “unbeaten paths.

This book deals with advertising to Baby Boomers, but I’ll over- step my bounds and propose a business model: Boomers  are internet- savvy. Boomers  are not passive. We do not want to simply  slap one key and have  our  vacation  pop up on a  screen. We want to rattle lots of keys, have our mouses pounce and bite off appetizing chunks of graphic and description from all sorts of sources––and build unique, variegated vacations.

Some smart dot-com entrepreneur will partner with thousands of travel companies, resorts, hotels, museums, airlines, car rental companies, and build a modular travel and reservation website. Myriad tempting experiences will be offered. The website will calculate the price of each activity, cataloguing and coordinating everything. It will be a package you fill with goodies.

Planning it will be half the fun, and immediately entice and involve the site visitor. For a few days you’ll be lying on a beach. The next day you’ll travel to a large city and take in whatever sights you wish, perhaps joining a guided tour. In the morning you’ll be driving to a tennis resort for a day or two. After that will come a scenic road trip to a local winery for a prearranged private tour. Keep driving, and you’ll check into a secluded lodge, and hike in the mountains for a few days. Then  youre off visiting another city in another country, mostly to just goof around. Finally, check in your car, hop on a train, and before long youre naked and slumping into a vat of hot mud at a famous health spa, followed by a shower and reservations at a five- star restaurant.

30                                       Advertising to Baby Boomers

You could even spend an afternoon in lumpy seats on a double- decker bus if you want.

Possible Copy/Campaigns:
We dont tell you what a vacation is. You tell us.
Package your own vacation.
The unPackaged Packaged Vacation
Tell us what a vacation is. Then take it.

And there have been a slew of posts. Just a few:
My Favorite Cyber-Myth (2005)
How I snicker and roll my eyes whenever I read about Baby Boomers fumbling around on computers, scratching their heads, totally flummoxed.
Cookie-Cutter Cavalcades (2009)
If you spend too much time rocking on the front porch, will your brain droop into autopilot? One antidote for this is educational travel …
Travelers Angry with Web (2009)
NostraChuckus was sure the online travel biz would make things easier and easier, more fun and more fun – where one of the best parts of a trip would be planning it. 
Here’s the travel company for twenty/thirty-somethings:
image All our tours are flexible and give you free time every day. So you’ll have plenty of time to do your own thing. We also give you plenty of great ideas (and prices) with our Explore More optional activities.

Like to mix it up? Keep it simple one night & a little more spectacular the next? Budget tours give you a chance to stay in everything from cabins, hostels to hotels & even a 16th century French chateau.
Sounds like tons of fun to me – very close to my version of a perfect travel service for Baby Boomers.  Pick and choose, pick and choose.

image The PDF brochures are a bit busy for my eyes (they’re not for my eyes) – but wow.  I’m excited.  Download or view a couple:
contiki ebrochures
So where’s the travel company with variety and oodles of pizazz for Baby Boomers?

15 September 2010

The Crystal Ball of Common Sense Goes Viral

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

Here’s one of his prophetic proverbs summoned from the smokey haze:






NostraChuckus’ foretelling appears to be true for all demographics:

Getting Big In The YouTube Age
by Lee Gomes
image In effect, the videos that got watched the most on the Internet are those that bought their popularity through traditional offline advertising, especially on TV.

The secret to viral video success: a big ad budget
imageby Meghan Keane
As Forbes points out, the "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" ads originally became popular because of a very expensive traditional media buy: TV ads…

There, I Said It: Screw Viral Videos
Posted by Jim Louderback
imageSome of the best and most talented video producers focus their enormous talents on creating viral hits, instead of building repeatable episodic series that are built around an authentic host or an extended narrative. Yet in the end, those are the video properties that keep viewers coming back, provide predictable views that publishers covet and repeatable results that drive sales and profits…

Witness the Old Spice Guy phenomenon. Marketers worldwide are even now trying to replicate that success, without realizing viral was furthest from their minds. It started with a Super Bowl ad -- hardly the norm for a viral-focused campaign…

image But … what happened to WOMM? I thought that was going to kill (silly retronym ahead) traditional advertising.  Now viral videos are… 

And I keep hearing about the end of advertising as we know it because ‘the consumer is in control’ and there are ‘brand ambassadors’ …

What’s the next big threat to mainstream advertising? NostraChuckus predicts Logo T-Shirts.

Top 10 Double-Secret Unknown Facts About Advertising (The Ad Contrarian)

13 September 2010

Aging In Place, Universal Design Redux

Actually, it’s the culmination of recent activities and blog posts about and by the cutting-edge AIP and UD Thinkers and Doers:

image Universal Design As A Beginning, Not An End
I’ve been blogging about MIT AgeLab and Dr. Joseph Coughlin since 2006…


Marketing Universal Design
I was catching up on some of my colleague’s writing today starting with Laurie Orlov’s blog Aging in Place Technology Watch about Aging in Place as a Crisis of Opportunity for CCRCs . Laurie referred to a piece by MIT Age Lab‘s Joe Coughlin in his blog, Disruptive Demographics, called Should I Stay or Should I Go? These are both great pieces, sucking me right in the way the web does, ‘helping’ whole days to slip away unnoticed. This is time well spent.

image Baby Boomers & Universal Design

I have to admit – it’s nice to have nice things said about me by a gentleman who’s actually out there designing and building stuff.  The last thing I built was with Lincoln Logs.

image Finessing Universal Design for Boomers
It is so encouraging to see experts springing up in the blogosphere on Universal Design after decades of indifference.

Now we have a MetLife Mature Market Institute report in conjunction with Louis Tenenbaum:

MetLife Aging in Place Report
image I am pleased and excited to announce Aging in Place 2.0, Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge,  a report from the MetLife Mature Marketing Institute. The report describes Aging in Place 2.0, the extension of current aging in place to the dynamic and collaborative housing and care system I have long advocated in this blog. See MMI’s press release on the report.

image My thanks to John Migliaccio, MMI’s Director of Research and his colleague Darcy Defrancesco.  They patiently and professionally helped me shape my passionate ranting.

John Migliaccio.  I think I know that guy….

Download the The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0 Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge September 2010

09 September 2010

Art & Copy on PBS in October

This looks good:


George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Lee Clow and Hal Riney may not be household names, but the advertising slogans they are responsible for - "Just Do It," "I Love NY," "Where's the Beef?," "Got Milk," "Think Different," as well as brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to presidents - are embedded in our national psyche. 

image The social and cultural impact of their ads and those of other advertising legends are brought to light in Art & Copy, a dynamic exploration of art, commerce, and human emotion, premiering on the PBS series Independent Lens Tuesday, October 26 2010 at 10 PM. (check local listings).

Exploding forth from advertising's "creative revolution" of the 1960s, these artists and writers - some among the original "Mad Men" - all brought a surprisingly rebellious spirit to their work in a business more often associated with mediocrity or manipulation.  These artists knew they were moving culture and not just moving product…

I'm happy to send a DVD …

A. H.
Senior Publicist

I’m taking her up on this. Along with chunks in my book and some blog posts, my presentations often include a history of advertising focusing on the most influential art and copy creatives over the last eighty years.

06 September 2010

Smart Phones, iPads, and Baby Boomers

In March I headed up a workshop in Turkey:

From my hotel room window. Back from Istanbul.
There are 15 million people living in Istanbul – and I think I saw all of them. 

And I met about two dozen of the brightest.

Attendees included marketing executives from Fortis, Anadolu Hayat Emeklilik, Yapi Kredi Bankasi, and IS Bankasi.

image I had only one regret. An attendee was looking for information and guidance and I wasn’t really prepared for the questions:

image Baby Boomers and older in Turkey have not warmed up to online banking and financial services. They make an attempt - but soon become frustrated, returning to their old ways (needless trips to the bank, using mostly checkbooks and snail mail, etc.). They are simply not online.

That was almost six months ago.  Things change.  My answers have changed. 

I’ve talked about this before, as have others.  Two recent news pieces:

image Re-thinking the Internet with security and mobility in mind
By Larry Greenemeier
The Future Internet Architecture (FIA) research projects are expected to re-think the network from the ground up, taking into account emerging security concerns, the demand for greater bandwidth and the growth of mobile devices.

NostraChuckus divined this months ago:

image How this will play out, I don’t know – but the ‘web’ needs to be rethought.  Accessing a page on a desktop or laptop is not the same as accessing it on a Smart Phone.  There will have to be two separate ‘webs’ for large screens, small screens. People will get very tired very fast clumsily negotiating bulky pages on handheld devices. Usability cannot be ignored.  Laptops and Desktops will only be utilized for deep research or visual treats.

Your Smartphone Will Soon Double as Your Wallet
By Dan Macsai
image …After years of talk, wireless carriers, banks, startups, and handset makers are now actively working to transform Americans' cell phones into mobile wallets.

So here’s my new answer for Baby Boomers and older in Turkey (and everywhere else):

Forget about the internet (in its HTML/Flash-enhanced form).  Concentrate on Smart Phones and maybe iPad/Kindle-type devices. 

People over fifty have cell phones – and they use them.  Soon, they will all have smart phones.  The learning curve is much easier for Smart Phones and iPads.  

This means:

  1. You do not have to convince someone older to turn on a computer, log on, fumble around with a browser, etc.  It will be an easier transition from landline to cell phone to smart phone.
  2. An app for a bank can be designed to be very, very easy – as long as the fonts and numbers are big enough for older eyes.
  3. imagePromote your app in TV advertising, print – and in banks.  If someone is making a deposit, ask “Do you have a smart phone?  We can make it easy to check your balance, etc.  I will download the app for you.”  Once they know how to do one thing, they’ll be interested in doing everything else.
  4. The web/internet will not be as popular as it is today. People will use their smart phones to access the web – so the web will be redesigned and become less visual and more practical for simple searching and doing business. 

I’m less interested in specific gadgetry, more in the concept of untethered connection.  Droid, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, whatever’s next – they’re all the same to me. 

Related Post:

Digital Advertising Natives and Immigrants

Dick Stroud’s Apps for Baby Boomers