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 clichés. 

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.)