27 October 2010

Nissan Leaf & Baby Boomers (Part II)

The first post about the Nissan Leaf discussed the web site.  I neglected to mention the miniscule, mealy fonts and poor choices for color palette and contrasts. Read this.

Here’s a nifty computer fly-though I think is on the Leaf site (although please don’t ask me to find it again – instead, I’ll just toss it up from YouTube):


What I like: The dashboard appears to be large and readable. 

Some past posts about marketing/advertising automobiles to Boomers:

Car Spots Driving in the Wrong Direction (2006)

Coming Boom in Boomer-Friendly Transport (2008)
imageMy point three years ago was that Baby Boomers were buying up those mid-priced boxy cars (even though they were being marketed to college kids and twenty-somethings) because they were easy to get in and out of, easy to see out of, and some had large dashboards that were easy to read. So why not build cars with these and more features for older drivers? And market them as such?

Who’s gonna buy this car? (2009)

What Next From The Crystal Ball of Common Sense? (2009)

If you’re offering a car to the 50+ demo, physical comfort and ease of use had better be front and center in all marketing material. 

Somewhere tucked away in the Leaf web site (don’t make me look for it – that’ll take hours):

  • 6-way manual adjustable driver’s seat
  • 4-way manual adjustable front-passenger’s seat

Great. But let’s see it somewhere where we can see it. 

And how about a video showing how easy it is getting in and out of the car, the large windshield, big mirrors, etc.

This worries me – from a piece on the Forbes website:

… The much-desired feeling of automotive superiority will have to come from the zero-emission badge, not a horsepower rating or superior creature comforts.

Not surprisingly, an independent source has made the best video about the Nissan Leaf:

A review by CNet’s Brian Cooley

This one’s just as good:

Brian Cooley & Nissan Leaf

My point: A couple of video reviews and a trip to Wikipedia offer more information and ‘reason why’ then the Nissan Leaf’s flashy, convoluted official web site.

Not good.

25 October 2010

Nissan Leaf Eyes Baby Boomers (Part I)

From International Business Times:

imageNissan's new green car Leaf eyes baby boomers
By Anil Das
The Nissan Leaf … is a 5-door hatchback electric car made in United States.

The difficulty and complexity of marketing this product is obvious to all.  The story evolving will probably be a book someday (whether EVs are a success or a failure). 

I’ll highlight only a few avenues Nissan has chosen – ones that directly relate to advertising/marketing and Baby Boomers.

A few pretty good spots so far.  One touchy-feely with a cute ending:

Polar Bear

And one that does an impressive job explaining what it’s all about in about 30 seconds:

The New Way

If they’re really targeting Baby Boomers, and/or using forty-five as a median value for an age-neutral campaign – there’s a problem.  The Nissan Leaf website is a mess.

imageThe landing page is OK – but once you disappear into the hierarchy (if that’s what it is) you’re dumped into a mushy maze, blinded by blinking, frenetic orbs aping some sort of cloud computer-ish org chart. I’m not sure what it is.

Certainly, this site won’t play well on this field.  That’s too bad, because (for the umpteenth time):

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.

There are a few other issues.  I’ll save them for a post later in the week.

Update Oct 27Nissan Leaf & Baby Boomers (Part II)

20 October 2010

Vibrant Nation: What Boomer Women 50+ Know, Think, Do & Buy

OrsbornColleague and friend Carol Orsborn has a new book, co-written by Stephen Reily:

Vibrant Nation: What Boomer Women 50+ Know, Think, Do & Buy
Baby Boomer Women represent the healthiest, wealthiest, best-educated generation of women in history, yet their real strengths and interests are often ignored in the marketplace. Now, a groundbreaking new book studies the behavior, wants, needs and buying habits of women 50+.

Vibrant_Nation_coverI was lucky enough to receive an ARC a few months ago.  Lots of fun – like being in a roomful of intelligent, fascinating women.  (What guy wouldn’t want that?)

But you also want it if you’re in the Marketing/Advertising/PR biz.  Let’s call it required research.

The inside cover blurbs (my take is nestled in there somewhere):

image“Let’s look ahead ten or twenty years: The top marketing executives at the top companies and organizations are going to be the ones who figured out how to effectively connect with the hearts, minds, and wallets of Boomer women 50+. Here’s the guidebook. Vibrant Nation combines powerful insights with practical advice anyone can use to increase success with this dynamic and critically important audience. Buy it, read it, and keep it handy. It’s the key to your future success.”
Matt Thornhill, author of The Boomer Consumer, and Founder of The Boomer Project

image“Vibrant Nation is a great read—very informative, very sassy, straightforward, doesn’t miss a beat, perfect for all women, particularly those 50+! I loved it!”
Amy Ferris, author of Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis

image“Finally, someone understands that we’re not seniors or Boomers or older women, but a vibrant nation of individuals passionately doing, laughing, and loving. We’re influencers, consumers, and lifelong learners who feel strongly, live boldly, and love being in the company of other fabulous women.”
Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff, authors of Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman’s Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve

image“Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., and Stephen Reily have written an inspired and lucid manifesto for marketing success with one of the most powerful consumer groups today: women who are ‘post minivan and pre-retirement.’ The authors deftly dispatch lingering myths and build a case that this engaged consumer is in fact ‘the Excalibur of demographics, tantalizing with the promises of untold riches and power.’ But they go beyond mere myth busting. The authors provide creative and original marketing frameworks and insights with which leading-edge marketers can build powerful branding and advertising campaigns.”
Brent Green, author of Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging and the Future, and President, Brent Green & Associates, Inc.

image“A crucial research book for marketing thinkers and doers, not data gatherers. Fueled by the voices of Vibrant Women over 50, Carol Orsborn and Stephen Reily assess and showcase a demographic often marginalized by mainstream advertising and marketing. If you want to know what is really on the minds of Baby Boomer women, don’t ask them — just let them talk. That’s what VibrantNation.com and this book let them do.”
Chuck Nyren, author of Advertising to Baby Boomers

image“If you want to sell to Boomer women, you have to know who these women truly are today. They do. Stephen Reily and Carol Orsborn get this better than anybody and supply innovative and profitable strategies for taking your brand to the next level with Boomers.”
Leah Komaiko, author of Am I Old Yet? A True Story of Timeless Friendship, and Creative Strategist, LeahKomaiko.com

image“Women aged 50-70 are the real ‘prime time.’ They spend more than younger consumers and are eager to embrace new experiences and brands. They also are natural community-builders, and Vibrant Nation presents insights from one strong community these women have built together. This practical and inspiring guide is a must read for marketers who hope to connect with this Vibrant Woman's heart, mind, and pocketbook.”
Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women and PrimeTime Women

The Press Release.

18 October 2010

October 26: Art & Copy on Independent Lens (PBS)

Art & Copy to Premiere on the PBS Series Independent Lens on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10 PM
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. 

imageThis is an advertising blog, so I’m guessing that a good many readers are familiar with the names above.  If you’re in the business, Art & Copy is mandatory viewing.  If you’re not – it’s pretty good and you’ll enjoy it.

I received a promotional copy.  Thanks, Independent Lens and ITVS.

The title is a reference to Bill Bernbach and his insightful and revolutionary practice of teaming copywriters and art directors from the get-go.  This had been done before, especially during the earliest days of modern advertising – but as with most businesses, everything became departmentalized.  Now we talk about silos and flattening hierarchies.  At DDB, Mr. Bernbach made it an an advertising industry standard.

Art & Copy does cover a chunk of the revolution – but concentrates on the post-revolution work of the 1970s to the middle 1990s.  It’s great to have folks like Hal Riney and Lee Clow on videotape for future generations.

imageOf course, I get bigger kicks out of earlier folks like Phyllis K. Robinson, Mary Wells Lawrence, and the controversial George Lois – the real Mad Men and Women

A good piece in The New York Times:

The Birth of ‘Just Do It’ and Other Magic Words
Mr. Pray, the film’s director, said part of his reason for doing the film was to shed light on the people behind ads that — for good or ill — have left a mark on American culture.

“Whether we like it or not, they have shaped our culture to a huge degree. And nobody knows where they’re coming from,” Mr. Pray, a documentarian who has also directed commercials, said in a recent interview. “We know the captains of industry. We know the heads of G.M. But somehow that’s not true with advertising.”

Where is the definitive documentary on the history of advertising?  That’s what I’m waiting for.  Maybe I should make it myself. I’d start right here – and call up Mark Tungate and a few others.

Watch Art & Copy: Tuesday, October 26 on Independent Lens.

Watch the full episode. See more Independent Lens.

Bill Bernbach

15 October 2010

In Home, Out of Touch

imageI do find it amusing when I find my name surrounded by construction equipment, since the last thing I built was with Lincoln Logs.

Feature: In Home, Out of Touch
by Jason Jacks
ProSalesMost Baby Boomers want to retire where they live now. That will necessitate accommodations to age that they're not currently willing to accept.

A 2009 study by MetLife Mature Market Research and NAHB found that 63% of the Baby Boomers surveyed desired to age where they now reside.

Flip through ProSales – and/or download a PDF.

More reading:

Universal Design As A Beginning, Not An End

Designing for Older Consumers

A Potential Boom from Baby Boomers: Universal Design & Aging in Place

Aging In Place, Universal Design Redux

Disruptive Demographics: Global Aging, Technology & Innovation

Aging In Place Technology Watch

Louis Tenenbaum.com: Aging In Place Ideas

11 October 2010

The Man Who Sold America

Excellent bio:

Man Who Sold America: The Amazing  Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century
by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank, Arthur W. Schultz
alaskerLasker's creative and powerful use of "reason-why" advertising to inject ideas and arguments into ad campaigns had a profound impact on modern advertising, foreshadowing the consumer-centered "unique selling proposition" approach that dominates the industry today. His tactics helped launch or revitalize companies and brands that remain household names--including Palmolive, Goodyear, and Quaker Oats.

Instead of a review, I’ll defer to Kenneth Roman’s take in the WSJ (Mr. Roman penned a superb bio of another fellow you may have heard of):

Present at the Birth of Modern Advertising imageWhen Lasker moved to Chicago in 1898, advertising agencies were still mainly brokers of space in newspapers and magazines. Lord & Thomas employed just one graphic artist and a part-time copywriter. All that was about to change. America's population was swelling, and manufactured goods were flooding into the market; the emergence of large-circulation newspapers and national magazines like The Saturday Evening Post meant companies had new and inviting places for promotion.

All through the book, the great and the ugly, I kept thinking “These stories are not only relevant today – they’re what’s been missing for years. Reason-Why Creative. Public Relations based on the principles and practices within the company. Time to get back to the roots…” 

Then, somewhere I stumble upon a reader review: 

If you are looking for advertising insights this is not the book. As a student of the game I expected to get more insights into how his agency made such an impact … But what he did has no more application to the business as it is today any more than Mad Men does.

Odd stuff.  This person thinks Mad Men is real – or thinks a biography is really a soap opera.  

Instead of learning from the innovators – their successes and failures – what we get today is this:

Three-Quarters of Americans Have Found a TV Commercial Confusing
imageCommercials are supposed to be somewhat clear. Yes, they can be artsy. Yes, they can be clever. Hopefully they are both entertaining and informative as well. But, a commercial's main focus needs to be selling a product or service. If consumers watching these commercials are unsure of that main focus, the marketers are doing something wrong.

Reason-Why CreativeToday, viewers are not even sure of the reason why they’re watching commercials.

Also – for all you PR folks … I sent an email recommending the read to a Flack friend:

Just finished this…
Fascinating character, great stories. First half mostly about advertising, with healthy chunks on PR. The second half is almost exclusively about PR.

One blurb:

sk“Cruikshank and Schultz provide vivid details of Albert Lasker’s revolutionary advertising and public relations career, launching and revitalizing beloved American brands. The Man Who Sold America tells a fascinating story, and reveals valuable lessons and insights for anyone interested in communications and the media.” - Carol Cone, Founder, Cone Inc., and Managing Director, Edelman

Read the book.

04 October 2010

New Report From MetLife Mature Market Institute

I’ve blogged a bunch of them:

image Aging In Place

Boomer Bookends

Ecologies Of Risk

Discovering What Matters

The newest one: How America's Leading Edge Baby Boomers Will Transform Aging, Work & Retirement

image Key takeaways:

  • Over the next 10 years aging Early Boomers will cause a 50% rise in the number of people 65 to 74 years old, a growth rate for that cohort not seen in 50 years.
  • It is estimated that at least two-thirds of Early Boomers are grandparents and a rising number are responsible for their grandchildren.
  • The labor force participation rate of Early Boomer men and women is at a 15-year high; trends suggest that it will rise further in the future.

I’ve talked about the Baby Boomer grandparent ethos for years:

Grand-scale Grandparents (2006)
image "This is the first group of seniors that's embarrassed to have an AARP card," noted Carol Rehtmeyer, president of Rehtmeyer, a toy design, development and manufacturing company … "They're from the rock 'n' roll generation, and embrace spontaneousness and fun," she said. "Boomers think their grandkids are too programmed, and they're looking to stir things up."

Grandboomers (2007)
image Marketers are now targeting Baby Boomer grandparents for all sorts of things. GRAND Magazine has ads for the normal fare (vacations, pharmaceuticals) but you’ll also find ones for children's toys, books, and educational products (lots of them)…

grandmother This weekend while at Costco, I caught a grandmother (she shall remain anonymous) sending pictures of dresses to her granddaughter so the child could pick the one she wanted.  Instant virtual shopping. 

This scenario is played out thousands of times every day around the world - and would make a smart theme for an advertising campaign.

And I’ve talked ad nauseam about work and redefining later stages of life:

A quote from my book (© 2005, 2007):

NyrenPB Contrary to popular myth, Baby Boomers do not believe that they are still teenagers or young adults. (Some probably do, but they need therapy.) Boomers are slyly redefining what it means to be the ages they are. Included in this new definition are some youthful attitudes - but the real change is that instead of winding down, many are winding up. We're not 'looking forward to retirement,' we're looking forward to new lives, new challenges. Only a small percentage will opt for pure retirement. (I predict that in twenty years the word 'retirement' will still be in dictionaries, but followed by the modifier archaic.)

And a few posts (before and after the economic downturn):

My Warm Milk and Nap (2006)
"Money is not the sole motivating factor behind Baby Boomers working into retirement. They instead see work as a way to stay challenged and mentally active and sustain a link to the community they have been a part of for most of their lives…"

Time to Retire the 'R' Word (2007)
Retirement, by the way, was an irrelevant word for the poor folks who needed to work forever. Now the word is irrelevant for nearly everyone. Many baby boomers, now turning 60, are healthier and want to work forever.

Call for ban on use of the word 'retirement' (2009)
Aimage LEADING psychologist has called for a ban on the word retirement, saying it no longer reflects the reality of growing old for the baby boomer generation …

Download The MetLife Report (PDF)