29 February 2012

Memo to H.R: Boeing Gets A Bargain

imageBoeing and Microsoft.  They  dominate the business news in my hometown paper. (Actually, it’s not really my hometown paper.  Here’s my hometown paper.)

An inspiring article/obit this weekend:

imageAlbert Seifert, 91, worked at Boeing through seven decades
By Atia Musazay
Employees at Boeing's Auburn Fabrication Division remember coming into work at 5:30 a.m. and seeing their most senior co-worker, Albert Seifert, already there, doing what he liked best: building sophisticated tools and equipment.

What knocked me out:

In 2001, he created a highly useful tool — the Laser Trim Cell — a device that employs a laser to cut stainless-steel tubing…

So Mr. Seifert was eighty years old when he crafted a complex piece of equipment.  The original 2002 article from Boeing:

imageFrom the B-17 to lasers, Al's been there
By Phyllis Miller
… "Al is one of the guys to whom you can take a project and be assured you will get what you designed," … "He is wonderful in providing the tooling expertise, but also in helping younger designers understand what works in the production environment and what doesn't."

Daniel Nydegger, who has worked with Seifert for more than 20 years, agrees. " I believe that when he comes to work, the company gets a bargain," Nydegger said. "A lot of the engineers come to him for advice because of his longevity and the skill level that he has. If Al suggests something, they listen."

As usual, it all sounds vaguely familiar:

07 May 2010
Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains
… 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'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?"

22 February 2012

The New Millennium Tales on AEF Must-Read List

imageWay back in 2005 I was boggled when The Advertising Educational Foundation chose my book as a Classroom Resource:

imageOnly twenty-five titles have been chosen over the last six years. They include A BIG LIFE (in advertising) by Mary Wells Lawrence (Alfred A. Knopf), How Brands Become Icons by Douglas B. Holt (Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation), and Contemporary Advertising by William F. Arens (The McGraw-Hill Companies).

imageI’m boggled again (although not quite as boggled since I can only take about 1/90th of the credit for this one).  AEF has included The New Millennium Tales on its Recommended Must-Read List.

You’ll have to scroll a bit to reach it:


imageOK … maybe I’ll take a wee bit more credit than just 1/90th of it.  Yours Truly suggested to Kevin Lavery that he submit the book to Marcia Soling for consideration. 

Pilgrim Chuck is chuffed to be represented on both AEF’s book lists.

imageAnd the online Wall Street Journal mentioned The New Millennium Tales.  Very heady.

Congrats to all Pilgrims who told tales.  And a special thanks to Ms. Soling and The Advertising Educational Foundation. Visit them on Facebook.

15 February 2012

Barbara Hannah Grufferman on Anti-Aging

There’s a new voice (and beautiful face, if I may be excused for being a tad philogynous) talking lots of sense:

imageBarbara Hannah Grufferman is the author of The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, a resource book which addresses many of the concerns of women over 50…

Ms. Grufferman is the latest in a long line of fascinating and intelligent women “of a certain age” (whatever that means).  Scrolls and scrolls, parchment or ether, would be needed to list them all.  A few off the top of my head:  Myrna Blyth, Marti Barletta, Gail Sheehy, Mary Furlong, Carol Orsborn.

I stumbled upon an excellent piece along with a short, trenchant video (produced by my friends at Growing Bolder):

imageIs The Anti-Aging Industry Bad for Our Health?
Barbara Hannah Grufferman
A new study finds that the absence of older women in magazines wreaks havoc with our self-esteem. It isn't limited to just the images on the covers: An analysis of editorial and advertising images reveals that despite proportions of older readers ranging as high as 23 percent, magazines (even those supposedly geared to women over 40) show older women infrequently, if at all. Magazines geared toward older women generally show young, thin, wrinkle-free women on their pages . . . an "ideal" that's impossible to sustain, even with the use of Botox, fillers, or plastic surgery. Now experts are saying these media messages threaten to cause eating disorders, low self-esteem, and loss of sexuality in post50 women.

Find more inspiring video, audio, and images at Growing Bolder.

Botox.  That sounds familiar.  From 2003:

imageDon't call them old
By Jean Starr
Chuck Nyren is a leading creative consultant, copywriter, and columnist, who focuses on baby boomer demography, sociology and culture.

"Not wanting to get/be/look older isn't anything new. However, baby boomers will do it a bit differently," he said. "Looking and being healthy will be more important than toupees and botox. While botox and the like are getting a lot of press, I'm guessing only a small percentage of people are using stuff like that. Being able to ride a bike, play tennis and garden will be more important than looking good and feeling (bad)."


imageTwiggy & Me
Way back in July 2009, NostraChuckus mentioned something about Twiggy’s airbrushed Olay ad in one of his lantern and shadow shows.


It won’t hurt you to watch the first minute of this:

2007 European Tour

Anti-aging?  What’s wrong with that?

The Best Anti-Aging Products, Services, and Activities: Guaranteed!

There’s also something called Graywashing.

And the advertising industry screwing up:

Boomer Backlash II
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.

But more importantly, isn't it time to rise up and demand that the media - and the advertisers that support magazines, television, and radio - change how they engage with us?”

It’s people like all the ones I’ve mentioned who for years have been challenging the myopia of media and advertising.

Keep plugging away, Ms. Grufferman. 

07 February 2012

There’s still a lot of bad advice out there.

From November 2010:

There’s a lot of bad advice out there.
Even a jaded, grizzled fellow like yours truly is often amazed at the poop on the web, along with what passes as cutting-edge thought. I’m not talking politics here – but marketing advice.  I expect silliness on political web sites…

Recently I’ve stumbled on more weird opinions and advice.  I’ll share some, but no linking because I’m too nice a guy.

An article about Super Bowl ads catering to Baby Boomers made very little sense – before or after the game.  I didn’t notice many spots targeting Boomers – but apparently they all were, what with Star Wars being a theme over and over.

But Star Wars is a franchise that continues with every generation (as does Star Trek, anything Disney, and a few other iconic whatevers).  The only spots I saw that specifically targeted Baby Boomers were MetLife’s cute piece with classic cartoon characters (except for the Peanuts crew, most probably unrecognizable to younger folks):


And the Honda CR-V/Ferris Bueller spot:

Ferris Bueller

While Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Elton John, and a few other “Boomers” were featured in ads, the spots weren’t really targeting the 50+ demo.  I’d say they were age-neutral (which is fine, often better than fine). 

Back to that article. The writer said something else that made zero sense.  She thought Apple was prophetic, ahead of the curve, with their famous 1984 spot – because it targeted Baby Boomers. 

But …. that was 1984.  Boomers were the coveted 18-35 demographic.  Almost all companies in the 1970s and 1980s were targeting Baby Boomers.  Somebody needs a history lesson.

imageI’ll also mention that the article was agog over freeshipping.org – as if this were the new way to shop and is taking over the world of consumer marketing. Apparently, the site generated over one billion dollars in sales. 

But it’s simply an online clearing house for retailers – from Walmart to Amazon.com to Sears, K-Mart,  Land’s End, and on and on.  I’m not going to ‘do the math’ – but a billion dollars is probably one-fiftieth of one percent of sales generated by all the companies involved. 

While Freeshipping.org is a sweet niche business, it’s hardly the revolutionary paradigm for shopping as portrayed in the article.  (And for transparency, the writer of the article works for the company that owns freeshipping.org – so the piece was really a thinly-disguised advertorial.)

Back to The Super Bowl.  I think this piece does a better job reflecting reality:

imageSuper Bowl XLVI TV commercials ignored Baby Boomers
by Laurie Edwards-Tate
… If you’re over 50, you probably noticed most of the advertisers didn’t bother to talk to you. This is a big, big mistake.

And a week ago there was another editorial piece that confused me. Again, I won’t be linking.  It featured the Toyota Venza campaign from last year, and how wonderful it was for not portraying Baby Boomers as clich├ęs. 

I had a different take on the campaign: 

13 July 2011
Non-Diversity = Solipsism
The spots were targeting Baby Boomers.  Yet the themes revolved around Millennials, with Boomers portrayed as smiling, vapid – with no real personalities whatsoever. 

Not that this surprised me:

Why does the media think Boomers are smiling, vapid idiots?
Actually, there are two distinct demos – something marketers need to know:

• Baby Boomers who  scream and jump in the air on the beach
• Baby Boomers who scream and jump in the air on their motor scooters.

Beware of what you read on the web. (I’ll even allow you to be a bit suspicious of what you’re reading now.)