07 December 2005

Margit Novack's Moving Solutions

I had a spirited chat the other day with Margit Novack, founder of Moving Solutions® and President of NASMM, The National Association of Senior Move Managers.
"Moving Solutions helps people relocate. While the context of what we do deals with 'things,' our business is about people and our expertise is about solutions. Our special commitment is working with mature adults, individuals in the midst of health crises and people of any age who have a disability. We also help working professionals accomplish smooth moves in the midst of their over-extended lives. We reduce the stress and physical demands of moving with caring, efficient and cost effective services."
I advise a leisurely stroll through the two web sites linked above. But if you really want to know more about Moving Solutions (and you do) read this piece in Time Magazine.

06 December 2005

Douglas Rushkoff's Get Back In The Box

Douglas Rushkoff has a business book coming out next week:
"...the secret of success lies inside the box; businesses that focus on their core competencies, their customers' needs and their work environment come up with better innovations in the long run than those that rely on flashy ad campaigns..."
After devouring a two-part interview on Marc Babej's Being Reasonable Blog, it's obvious that Mr. Rushkoff's views on the silliness of most branding techniques mirror my own.

But I knew that already. Required viewing for anybody in marketing, advertising, or PR is Mr. Rushkoff's Frontline documentary The Persuaders. Buy it or watch it on the web.

Link to Part II of the Douglas Rushkoff interview.

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01 December 2005

Infomercials and Baby Boomers

I think the statute of limitations has expired on this piece I penned for Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. It ran in May 2005 and was available only by subscription:

Don't Talk So Fast to Baby Boomers

Chuck Nyren -- Broadcasting & Cable

Infomercials. That ugly word conjures up half-hours of tacky, humdrum hucksterism. But it's the content that's clumsy, not the concept.

Throughout most of the last century, print was king, even during the age of radio and the early years of TV. Jingles, slogans, crisp copy, animation and clever visuals were still poor cousins of privileged print.

Beginning in the middle 1960s, dazzling cinema-like spots mixed with the succinct wit of print became the pinnacle of advertising mastery. An effective television campaign often did it all: customer awareness, imprinting, positioning, branding and messaging.

Not so today, at least for baby boomers. And it isn't simply because we're not being targeted. The real reason is that our attention spans are longer. We want to know more. We need to know more for a product or service to be imprinted. A 30-second salvo will miss us by a mile. We will subconsciously (oftentimes consciously) dismiss it.

If television advertising was once the poor cousin to print, nowadays, infomercials are the bedraggled outcasts of both. While there are exceptions, infomercials are shoddy also-rans in the advertising world.

But there is hope. Some marketers are taking advantage of the Internet and cable TV. “On-demand” advertising is the new catch phrase.

The question is how to reach baby boomers. “You can impart a pretty cool image in 30 seconds, especially with digital effects,” says Ron Koliha, a creative director and copywriter for stereo-components manufacturer Harmon-Kardon. “But when it comes to hard goods—especially high-tech hard goods—the product is the brand. Ignore the product, and the brand just becomes a symbol. Most of us baby boomers have spent 40+ years digesting information and deciding what we want. The advertiser who is willing to tell us the story of a product has the advantage.”

The cliché “thinking outside the box” applies here, but with a twist: Think outside the television box. If you are targeting baby boomers and you severely storyboard an infomercial (especially by committee), it will end up DOA. With the longform infomercial, a genuine relationship between your product or service and target market is vital, and you have plenty of time to develop one.

There are many talented baby boomer film writers/directors, editors and cinematographers who haven't gotten their hands dirty in ages. Some are now producers. Some work in television. Some are sitting around doing nothing. Find them and hire them. And trust them.

At some point in the '60s, someone convinced somebody that one-minute commercials could be exciting, absorbing, mini-masterpieces and do their jobs. If you want to reach baby boomers, now is the time to persuade agencies and clients that this is likewise true for 5 to 30-minute infomercials.

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29 November 2005

Baby Boomers and Universal Design

Megan Kamerick's article on Bankrate.com, Boomers push interest in Universal Design homes, is worth a read:
"The idea is simple: a home that is accommodating and convenient to all users at all stages of life. Universal Design principles have been around since the 1970s when the phrase was coined by architect Ronald Mace, who became director of the Center for Universal Design at The University of North Carolina."
There's nothing much new there for me - but that's probably because I just finished researching and writing an article about UD for The National Association of Homebuilders' 50+Housing Magazine. It's about how to convince Baby Boomers to consider universal design by positioning UD so it doesn't smack of 'old and infirm.'

I don't know what issue the article will be in - maybe the next one or one due out in the Spring.

22 November 2005

Marketers are Taking Note of Baby Boomers

The press release says, "The University of Maryland continues its series on the Baby Boom Generation." Don't ask me where the rest of the series is or will be.

This interview is a good one:
"The reality of the marketing opportunity presented by the aging of the Baby Boomers is beginning to be recognizedby the advertising industry, at least. I'm beginning to see more ads targeted at Baby Boomers," says Associate Professor of Business Janet Wagner at Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Students email me every so often, asking for info about this and that. Colleges and university business schools seem to be paying attention to Baby Boomers. I know this: after Advertising to Baby Boomers was selected by The Advertising Educational Foundation as a classroom resource, schools started to scoop it up. It's now in the libraries of Duke University, The Harvard Business School, Northwestern University, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, University of Washington, and lots of others.

Hmm. Professor Chuck. I like the sound of that.....

(Back after Thanksgiving.)