That’s probably not true but it certainly seems as if they are.
AARP Launches Baby Boomer Ad Firm
By Suzanne Vranica
Washington-based advocacy group AARP has created a marketing agency to help corporate America peddle products and services to the over-50 crowd, which AARP says doesn’t get enough attention from advertisers…
I emitted a short bleat about this on American Public Media’s MARKETPLACE® the other day. You can listen to and/or read it here:
A bunch of quotes from the WSJ piece and other media outlets covering the story:
The agency, called Influent50, says traditional marketing firms have trouble reaching that generation because they are typically staffed with young, fresh faces whose expertise lies with millennials.
It's as if no one over the age of 40 exists on the planet -- and certainly no one over 40 is ever seen walking the hallways of an ad agency.
Sounds vaguely familiar. From a post of mine in 2003:
Advertising to Baby Boomers: Back into the Fold
The Giant Leap: there had better be a minor revolution in the creative end of the advertising industry. Talented men and women in their late forties and fifties need to be brought back into the fold if you want to reach us. This includes copywriters, graphic artists, producers, directors, and creative directors.
And the first chapter of Advertising to Baby Boomers (2005):
Why Companies and Ad Agencies Need Baby Boomers (PDF)
… Truth is, you can analyze marketing fodder all day and night, read countless books about marketing to Baby Boomers, attend advertising and marketing conventions around the world, and soak up everything all the experts have to say. Much of what is out there is valuable and useful … But if you plan on implementing a creative strategy and turn it over to a different generation of advertising professionals—you'll forfeit the natural sensibilities required to generate vital campaigns…
“The 18 to 34 age group is just seen as the sexier audience,” said Scott Collin…
From the Introduction (The Geritol Syndrome) to Advertising to Baby Boomers (2005):
The real reason the Geritol ads were funny was because they weren’t exactly the cutting-edge of advertising “art.” These weren’t sexy ads, ones that an agency would brandish as their best work. Over martinis just off Madison Avenue, I doubt that you ever heard,“Wow! Did you see the latest Geritol spot? Baby, fantabulous!”
Targeting older Americans isn’t easy. Experts say there is a dearth of expertise out in the marketplace when it comes to this segment of the population and many times ads don’t hit the mark.
A blog post from 2011 that might be worth a look:
Non-Diversity = Solipsism
… I was watching a commercial. A twenty-something talked about how he’d moved back in with his parents, but they were sleeping. Then we see them in a car (the spot was advertising the car) and on their way to have fun doing something or other. He was microwaving his dinner. A mildly amusing spot.
Ad executives say that marketers tend to discount marketing to seniors because they believe that older people are already brand loyal, making them a tough sell.
Again, vaguely familiar. A quote from a review of my book by Dr. Joyce M. Wolburg of Marquette University, published in The Journal of Consumer Marketing (2005):
A second favorite excuse of agencies is: "Baby Boomers don't change brands" (p. 52, italics in original). Nyren dismantles this excuse nicely with examples of brand switching, and he further acknowledges that in cases where loyalty to a brand does exist, marketers who do not target Boomers give them no reason to change.
Read the full review. (PDF)
Mr. Austin at Influent50 says there are plenty of things marketers should avoid when marketing to older people. That includes photos that show the passage of time such as images of a birthday party. “That is an instant turn off for the segment,” he said.
AARP, I guess, must’ve learned this the hard way. A post of mine from 2007:
Food fights, Balloons and Dancing Gorillas
… I hope Mr. DeRogatis’ take on it isn’t correct - or I’m staying home and locking the doors and windows if I ever retire:
"The message of the AARP ad is that life will be one big, happy birthday party for retiring Baby Boomers, complete with food fights, balloons and dancing gorillas."
AARP is an organization for people who have birthdays:
OK, enough of picking on the big boys and girls. I wish them luck. My only question:
Will this new agency be the agency of record for all of AARP’s advertising?
… I wonder.
Dick Stroud’s take on it all:
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Let's hope AARP's Influent50 has more success than Focalyst
Just for fun:
The Karaoke Grandkids
by Chuck Nyren for The Huffington Post
… "I don't think I have anything you can sing along with. Ask your grandmother."
"No, you have CDs!"
"Yeah, but no Mitch Miller. Would you like Thelonious Monk, Mozart or Jimi Hendrix? Your grandmother has cowboy CDs you can sing along with. And someone named Michael Bubble."