19 December 2017

What a year.

Not for advertising but for everything else.

In my corner of the ether, no progress by ad agencies targeting this unwieldy, diverse demographic.  Looking over my posts the last twelve months…

Image result for old new york timesIt’s always a treat to get up, make some coffee, open the newspaper (pixels or pulp) and read nothing new.

The three most popular posts of 2017:

My pick for must-read post of the year:

The Interminable Death of Television
imageNothing I can think of is as lively and chipper as television in its final throes.

If we all began dying as happily, healthily, slowly, and painlessly as TV, we wouldn’t fear the process - but welcome it.

My favorite post of the year:

Something Old, Something Old, Something Borrowed, Something Old
2014-11-14-beany.jpgAlong with Google Glasses, you'll also be wearing Google Nose and Google Mouth.

Back in January if the world is still around.

13 December 2017

We’re always sick.

No matter what the product or service, when Mad Ave tries to ‘reach’ us we’re always sick.  Or something’s horribly wrong. 

Even if they want us to buy a car we have to be sick first:

What happened to this lady? Did she have a heart attack?  The doctor says she has to ‘go slow’…

Well, whatever her affliction is she’ll get better if she buys this car. And exercises. And is looked after by her daughter.

According to most ads selling stuff to Boomers, we have to be sick before we can buy anything. Or, we’re naturally ill all the time and the only reason we’d buy anything is to make us well.

We’d never buy a product just because we might want it. What would be the point of that? When you’re young, you only buy products so you can be hip. When you’re old, you only buy products for medical reasons. 

I googled the car and it’s a pretty good car. But the spot tells me nothing about the car. Of course, why would I want to know anything about the car? All I need to know is that it has healing powers.

And don’t try to sell me a refrigerator unless it can cure me of something.

12 December 2017

Another Pointless Press Release

I read a press release the other day that was a mix of silly and pointless. A few news sites picked it up and fashioned their own versions. (There won’t be any links because I don’t link to silly.)

Culled from the press release and articles:

Millennials (81%) are much more likely to be influenced by advertising than Baby Boomers (57%), who have generally already set their brand affinity and buying patterns …

I’ve debunked the myth of ‘boomers don’t change brands’ so many times I’ve lost count. A quote from a review of my 2005 book by Dr. Joyce M. Wolburg published in The Journal of Consumer Marketing:

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)

What’s not mentioned, not even considered, is that 95% of advertising is targeted to Millennials.  Of course they would be influenced. And when advertising is directed at a mature demographic, advertisers screw it up so much that we’re offended. (I think I’ve said this a thousand times in my book, blog, speaking engagements, consulting assignments, on street corners drooling and unbathed as I accost unsuspecting passersby.)

Download the first few chapters of the book: Advertising to Baby Boomers PDF

Overall, consumers view traditional advertising mediums — TV, print, and radio — as the most trustworthy, while they view online and social media advertising more skeptically …

What a shock. I’m also guessing that most consumers trust established stores more than some guy in a dark alley with an open suitcase full of watches and whatnot.

A post from a few weeks ago:

Smartphone Ads = Silly Graphical Doodads
Image result for ouija board… The mobile/social media soothsayers will have you believe that there is this unknown, magical mode of persuasion that has never been thought of before – and will reveal itself any day now.

And lots more, too many more posts:

Social Media - WOMM - Web Advertising

From May 2010:

… That silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities.

02 December 2017

Joseph Coughlin: The Longevity Economy

image"Old age (as a concept) is made up. Most of it was invented by human beings for short-term, human purposes over the past century and a half. Today, we’re stuck with a notion of oldness that is so utterly at odds with reality that it has become dangerous. It constrains what we can do as we age, which is deeply troubling, considering that the future of our older world will naturally hinge on the actions of the older people in it."
Dr. Joseph Coughlin

I met Joe Coughlin in 2006. We were presenting at a private conference for a pharma outfit, still wet behind our hairy ears.

I had attended and/or spoke at various marketing and boomer conferences - and thought I’d heard it all. But Joe’s presentation was like no other. We chatted on and off through the day and shared a cab to the airport.

Since then, Dr. Coughlin and MIT AgeLab have become potent forces researching, investigating, educating, and promoting all things elder.

http://agelab.mit.edu/sites/default/files/Logo_for_site.pngThe focus of AgeLab has evolved. In the beginning it was gizmos, mostly. Now it encompasses just about every facet of age-related life:

AgeLab Research Themes & Projects

Dr. Coughlin’s new book is likewise like no other.

The Longevity Economy
… Coughlin provides deep insight into a population for whom the defiance of expectations is the new normal, and who are building a striking, unheralded vision of longer life that very few in business see coming. His focus on women -- who are leading the charge away from traditional ideas of retirement toward tomorrow's narrative -- is especially illuminating …

Google The Longevity Economy and/or Joseph Coughlin for press and reviews, along with videos of his appearances over the last decade.

My take:

Dr. Coughlin covers a handful of subjects I’ve written and talked about for years: advertising/marketing and the horrors of not understanding this demographic, the importance of entrepreneurs, the power of women as decision-makers, etc.

What I love about the book: Joe’s fascination with history. No matter what the subject, he delves into all the antecedents.

My presentations usually include a history of advertising. I talk about diversity and creativity through the years. So, I’m a sucker for history.

For me, the paragraph summing up the book is on (appropriately enough) page sixty-five:

Office Lens

A few selections from my book and blog:

Advertising to Baby Boomers, ©2005,2007
CVRComp… I'm fifty-four, and (according to the advertising and marketing industry) I haven't brushed my teeth, bought laundry soap, purchased a shirt, or taken a shower in almost twenty years. And as far as big ticket items - well, those rabbit ears work just fine on my 13-inch black & white T.V. They just need a nudge and a jiggle every now and then, that's all. And if a new needle is needed for my phonograph, I just get in my '73 Pinto and head over to the Goodwill and, when no one's looking, twist one off of a dusty old turntable and put it in my pocket ...

09 April 2009
Why couldn’t it have been…?
dependpackages… I guess what upsets me about this campaign is not the campaign itself.  I like it.  I see people around my age – they’re entertaining, loose, funny. I’m wondering what the payoff will be. What a letdown. 
Why couldn’t it have been a car?  Laundry soap?  A computer?  A razor?  Anything but some age-related malady …

image16 September 2009
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.

The Real Issue: Marketing and advertising folks grasping the fact that Boomers will be buying billions (trillions?) of dollars worth of non-age related products for the next twenty-odd years. If you target this group for toothpaste, computers, clothes, food, nail polish, sporting equipment, toenail clippers - anything at all (almost), and you do it with respect and finesse, they will appreciate and consider your product.

I’ve been scribbling and bellowing about advertising and baby boomers since 2003. After the first few years it dawned on me that I was part of a bigger picture. Admitted blustery profundity: We’re changing society and the effects will be felt for generations. Millennials will be old someday and they’ll be old longer than we’ll be old. We’re paving the way.

There are lots of folks who’ve educated us and continue to educate us. Names off the top of my head: Robert N. Butler, David Wolfe, Ken Dychtwald, John Migliaccio, Kurt Medina, Matt Thornhill, Brent Green, Marti Barletta, Mary Furlong, Myrna Blyth, Carol Orsborn, Rick Moody, Mark Miller, Paul Kleyman, Scott Rains, Kevin Lavery, Dick Stroud, Reg Starkey, Laurie Orlov, Richard Adler, Todd Harff, Bill Thomas, Louis Tenenbaum, Arjan in’t Veld, Martijn de Haas, David Cravit, Moses Znaimer, Maxime de Jenlis, Florian Kohlbacher, Christopher Simpson, Gail Sheehy, Marc Middleton, Ronni Bennett, Jim Gilmartin, Gill Walker, Dave McCaughan, Kim Walker, Tony Mariani, Barry Robertson, Frédéric Serriere, Bob Hoffman, have I left any out? No doubt.

jcoughlinJoe Coughlin is the Point Man/Person at the moment. Read the book.

Posts about MIT AgeLab and Joseph Coughlin:

22 April 2008
Bookmarked Brains: MIT AgeLab

19 May 2009
Fast Company Names Joseph Coughlin to Top 100 List

12 April 2010
Designing for Older Consumers

04 August 2010
Universal Design As A Beginning, Not An End

imageJust for fun:

The Dotty Thing
by Chuck Nyren
On the way to the store to do Thanksgiving dinner shopping. She’s thumbing through the newspaper inserts and reviewing her list …