This is a long post all about me.
Ten years ago this Saturday I was featured in a newspaper article about baby boomers. It was the first time I was asked about advertising and boomers.
Way back in 1996 yours truly was web-writing about this motley, energetic crew – and the press would interview me and a few others because we were the only folks tossing up info for and about us:
… first appeared in January of 1996. Originally titled the Baby Boomer Homepage, it was conceived simply as a portal for Boomer chat.
Who We Are: Boomers International is a free membership community for baby boomers, seniors and their families. Since our debut in 1996, we provide boomers related information, research, trends & opinion to our visitors.
Along with you-know-who:
Baby Boomers Suite101
What a Gen-X and younger world we have here in cyberspace - and it should be. It's their culture, their time. Still, plenty is available for all ages.
In 2003 I read a book by Brent Green and thought I could add to the general discussion. I’d been in advertising on and off through most of my life, so…
Advertising to Baby Boomers (Part I): Mentioning Age (2003)
When you are targeting any market, age is one of many factors. But this does not mean campaigns should mention age. Advertising aimed at Baby Boomers with themes such as 'Because you're older," or "Feel (or look) young again" can be jarring to the senses. It may leave a bad taste in many mouths. The subtext may imply a specific age range, but there is rarely a need to point it out.
More web pieces followed, and before long there they were at the top of the Yahoo/Alta Vista rankings (this was in the year 2 B.G. – Before Google).
A journalist found me:
Don't call them old
by Jean Starr
14 December 2003
… 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)."
Thanks, Ms. Starr. You started a small (very small) avalanche. A collection of fallen rocks:
Ads today often skip over baby boomers
By Julie Muhlstein (2005)
Chuck Nyren is feeling abandoned. It's not about friends or loved ones. He thinks he's being ignored by advertising.
"What's happening now, advertising agencies are pretty much run by kids in their 20s and early 30s," said Nyren, an ad industry consultant who lives in Snohomish.
Ads target empty nests, full wallets
by Bob Moos (2005)
Dallas Morning News
"Yes, I have my favorite toothpaste. But other than that, I'm wide open for suggestions," said Chuck Nyren, 55, the author of Advertising to Baby Boomers. "Why do ad execs believe boomers don't switch brands?"
Mr. Nyren said advertising agencies often ignore or misread boomers' preferences because most of their creative people are too young to understand that generation. "The agencies better hire more boomers if they want to reach them," he said.
Active lives defy aging (2006)
By Bill Glauber
"There will have to be a revolution in the advertising world," says Chuck Nyren, author of Advertising to Baby Boomers. "Baby boomers do not want to be twenty again, or thirty again," Nyren writes. "They want to feel as good as they possibly can for the ages they are. They do not want to be marketed and advertised to as if they were young adults or thirty-somethings."
A Booming Opportunity (2006)
By Renee M. Covino
"In England, they've done a lot of studies about 'wrap rage,' and it goes much deeper than not being able to open a bottle of medicine, for instance. It's anything, any consumer goods packaging that people have trouble opening, and as Baby Boomers are starting to age, they are very sensitive to this," says Chuck Nyren, who just happens to be another Baby Boomer and also creative strategist and consultant, as well as author of "Advertising to Baby Boomers." According to him, "bad packaging can make Baby Boomers feel incompetent; as marketers, you don't want to remind this group of people that they don't have the physical skills they had when they were younger."
Boomers: A Web-Marketing Bonanza (2006)
By Olga Kharif
But many sites are still struggling with their identities and have not yet hit their stride, says boomer advertising consultant Chuck Nyron, author of Advertising for Baby Boomers (Paramount Market Publishing, 2005) "Every site has happy, smiling faces of baby boomers and says: 'We want to inspire you'," he explains.
Above, name is misspelled.
Trying to catch the wave (2006)
By Bill King
He’s proud that an industry once monopolized by white males opened itself to women and other races and ethnicities under the watch of the boomers. But there was one way in which his generation of marketers threw up a wall.
“Our blind spot was age,” Nyren said. “We were the ones who started only marketing to ourselves. We created the demo. We taught people how to market to it. And now, we’re paying the price, because the agencies have all been brainwashed into thinking that to be worth anything [to marketers], you have to be young.”
'Elderbloggers' Shy Away From Money Talk (2008)
By Candice Novak
"Most older people hit that Google button, and in some ways it confuses them more than it enlightens them," Seattle marketing expert and blogger Chuck Nyren, 57, says, "because there's so much crap you have to wade through to get something that is truthful or helpful."
I was talking more about this – not Google Search.
Baby boomers become the forgotten consumer (2008)
By Jennifer Mann, McClatchy Newspapers
Nyren said he often hears from marketers that advertising isn't effective on those 50-plus consumers, that it's a waste of time and money.
No, he said, they're just not doing it correctly.
"Speaking to the 50-plus, it has to be different in terms of writing and graphics and presentation," Nyren said. "A 20-something is an easier sell - you have to work harder, work smarter to get that 50-plus customer, but the return on investment, if you do it right, can be tremendous."
Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment
By Bob Moos (2009)
Chuck Nyren, a Seattle advertising consultant and author of Advertising to Baby Boomers, says the TV spots are carefully crafted to appeal to boomers who, if they don't use Depends themselves, may be caregivers for parents who do.
"Morris got the right people and took the right approach," he said. "Now, if only other advertisers would hire boomers to pitch refrigerators, soap and other products."
Businesses Fighting For Baby Boomer Dollars (2009)
By Mary Motzko Aside from age issues, Nyren added that there are many different personality types included in the baby boomer generation, from former hippies to conservatives. "Evoking the '60s, it's not the smartest thing to do."
Boomers a key market for retailers, as long as it's marketed right (2013)
By Romina Maurino
The Canadian Press
"If you're over 50 and you watch television, it just keeps reinforcing the fact that you're sick. That automatically kind of turns you off to everything. They think of baby boomers as either old, smiling vapid people on a beach, or as old hippies."
Boomers buy a variety of products, just like younger people do, and pigeonholing them into certain categories isn't going to help retailers make the most out of their shopping dollars, he added.
Happy Anniversary to me.