17 August 2006

Tiger Woods Should Pitch for Cadillac

Doron Levin of Bloomberg News writes mostly about the automobile industry. I've always liked him because he thinks creatively. More often than not, Mr. Levin doesn't simply point at problems and whine, but often comes up with smart, imaginative solutions.

His latest imaginative solution has Tiger Woods hawking Cadillacs instead of Buicks. Doron makes perfect sense:
"… the handsome, well-spoken Woods just might do some good for Cadillac, GM's luxury car division. Cadillac … still lags behind the luxury competition, mostly because baby boomers refuse to switch from their BMW, Lexus and Mercedes sedans. And that's a pity for GM, because Cadillac's CTS and STS are good-looking, highly-rated alternatives."
Let me take Mr. Levin's idea and come up with my own imaginative solution. Pretend that Cadillac hasn't decided to write off Baby Boomers—the largest age demographic for new car sales, especially for luxury cars.

Doron mentions the embarrassing Cadillac/Led Zeppelin campaign. I railed about it in the introduction to my book (PDF):
"… If Cadillac wants to appeal to Baby Boomers (we think of Cads as cars gangsters drive, or as hearses) do you really have to position them as something that will make us feel young again as we zoom around blasting rock and roll while our car is in cruise control? Only occasionally do we sit around and daydream about being eighteen again. Most of the time we don't feel that old."
Time to have some fun, go off into the ether. I'll re-brand Cadillac for Baby Boomers. First some research:

Many older Boomers, along with 60-70 year olds, are becoming obsessed with three related matters: their grandchildren, volunteerism and mentoring, and their social/cultural legacy as a generation (with a quarter-century or more to add to it).

'Me Generation' becomes 'We Generation in USA Today:
Will boomers really give something back? They already are. Nationally, boomers (33%) have higher volunteer rates than either seniors (24%) or young adults (24%), reports the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is the most schooled and traveled generation in history. It has much to offer by the giving of its time. The number of American volunteers rose to 65.4 million last year from 59.5 million in 2002. It is projected to reach 70 million by 2010, driven by aging boomers who want to make a difference.
Don't think that I'm saything that it's all altruism with Baby Boomers. They also love to play. And play they will:
The bottom line is that over the next 20 years there will be more golfers in the higher play frequency years than at any time in history. When will this happen? Not tomorrow – Baby Boomers haven’t begun retiring in large numbers. However, our model suggests that incremental rounds from boomers will rise gradually over the next 10 years, peak around 2015, and remain in force for another 10 years after that ... NGF estimates that, over the next 20 years, total rounds attributable to boomers will increase by 75 million to 100 million above what they are currently playing.
Tiger Woods is Cadillac's spokesperson. The campaign is about Cadillac and The Tiger Woods Foundation. Nothing cheesy like incentives (these are luxury cars) - but a real connection. More than merely a corporate sponsorship. Cadillac is deeply involved with educating and motivating young children by actively supporting a high-profile volunteer program where mentoring is the most important ingredient. Perhaps Cadillac has a mentoring/volunteer information package you can pick up at a dealer - and/or deep info on their web site.

Cadillac looks like a different car to me now. I don't see tacky jewels, machine guns, or coffins. I see a meaningful future and my place in it.

And it sounds like a different car. It resonates in my social conscience — not in the speakers of my car audio system when I turn it up to 'eleven.'

This approach hasn't hurt Target. With Cadillac/Baby Boomers skew it towards mentoring.
Too bad GM didn't do it right the first time. Instead of that insulting, icy, slick, soulless campaign, Cadillac could have transformed their image into something exciting and meaningful to Baby Boomers.

Along with educating and motivating tens of thousands of kids.

(And, if you'll allow me to be your typical oily, duplicitous, conniving marketing strategist, it introduces Cadillac to tens of thousands of Millennials — car buyers in ten, fifteen, and twenty years.)

11 August 2006

Tribal Knowledge by John Moore

I just read a really good one: Tribal Knowledge by John Moore.

Sure - it's all about marketing, advertising, coffee, Starbucks. But it's really a book about passion.

If you're in business merely to sell any product or service, and you need to be kicked in the ass by all sorts of empty motivational fodder and marketing department rave-ups, Tribal Knowledge probably won't make much sense to you. You'd be better off reading books with titles like "HOW TO SELL ANYTHING TO ANYBODY" or "GET ON OPRAH and MAKE A $MILLION$ DOLLARS IN ONE (Yes, I said one!) MONTH."

However, if you're genuinely passionate about your offering, whether you're an entrepreneur tinkering in a garage or the CMO of a multinational, this book is for you.

I have a number of clients with passion for their products/services. Actually, most have it. But they don't know what to do with it. Some are embarrassed by their passion, and opt for a straight-laced, too-tight-tie approach. They don't want anybody to think that they're out of control. It wouldn't be very business-like. Then there are the unbridled enthusiasts who overwhelm you with their bubbly chatter, salivate as they babble about their product, and spray your face if you don't roll your chair back a few feet first. Much better to get their drool on your shoes.

Uptight or gushy, these are the people who are often business visionaries.

But being a business visionary and getting your vision off the ground, and keeping it hovering—first over three or four places, then over thousands—are two (or three, or four) very different things.

John Moore tells the story of Howard Shultz and Starbucks, and how the company corralled and funneled its passion (not only for a great cup of coffee but for the experience of a great cup of coffee) into a practical marketing plan. John says that the company kept reinvesting its profits. True. But between the lines you realize that what they really did was reinvest their passion. Over and over. Until … well, you know what happened.

Tribal Knowledge is primary source material. John worked there. He also worked for Whole Foods. These are two companies that created their own industries—not quite out of thin air, but almost. So listen to him.

The Tribal Knowledge Web Site.

Places where you can buy the book.

John's interview with Nettie Hartsock.

John Moore's more famous than my blog blog (and for good reasons), Brand Autopsy.

08 August 2006

Circus: The Millennium Group Newsletter

Millennium Group is an ad agency in the UK with 180 employees.

That info alone won't get any hearts pounding or eyes bulging. So here's the kicker: Millennium only takes on clients that want to target the 50+ Market.

Any comparable agencies on this side of the pond?

Yeah, mine. Less 179 employees. Sure, it's only me and the dog and cat—but I do have a dozen or so top-notch creatives and marketing folks whom I call upon when needed. We get things done.

Others? There is a handful of small (very small) agencies focusing on the mature market, and one large agency with a mature market division and a handful of employees. That's about it.

We should have ten Millenniums.

Millennium now has a newsletter:

"So why are we producing this newsletter ...? The strapline says it all really: and because for too long we have been trying to ensure that marketing to the over 50s sector of our society is done with some finesse, some vitality and some efficiency." — Kevin Lavery
Inside are astute, fun-to-read pieces. Dick Stroud writes about oddball segmentation:
Articles inevitably contain the revelation that it is possible to divide older people into strange tribal groups. They are given names like the sophisticated 'Astute Cosmopolitans' and the boring 'Thrifty Traditionalists'. Other than the amusement value, why are consumers, that marketers largely ignore, dissected into so many weird sounding segments?
Reg Starkey's offering is a fast-paced mini-history of the Baby Boomers' influence on culture, media, and advertising:
Professor Timothy Leary's exhortation to "Tune in, turn on, drop out" was just one extreme manifestation of what MTV now defines as our 'Splintering Structures'. This is just one of three over-arching trends, all driven originally by the Baby Boomers…
I've been asked to contribute a piece. It might show up in the next issue.

Contact Millennium. I'm not sure how they're distributing Circus—but if you're in the UK, there's a good chance they'll put you on their mailing list.

04 August 2006

Eons Again.

Eons is live.

Although I've blogged about it numerous times, I'm not obsessed with the place. I've never talked to them, although my stats tell me that over the last few months a slew of deep hits to this blog have come from a 'Navy shipyard' in Boston. It took me awhile to figure it out…

It's just that Eons is the first commercial site for Baby Boomers with lots of VC backing (the figure thrown around is 10 mil) - and all of us involved with marketing, advertising, and any type of content targeting this demographic are watching it very carefully. Other sites for Boomers are in the works, so Eon's success or failure will have an effect on more than a handful of current projects.

Eons is getting tons of press, and some blog activity. Many of the articles are making fun of the obit email alerts, with headlines like "You've Got Death" and "Social Deathworking."

What do I think of the place? Let's start with my prediction a few weeks ago: Eons will be a happy-time AARP. I wasn't too far off (minus the death alerts). However, in an earlier post I said this: Jeff Taylor is an interesting, nutty, very bright fellow. Little did I know when I wrote that, that it would also describe the web site. Even better than "a happy-time AARP."

Eons is OK. I'm not put off by it (a good sign). The 'mind games' are fun. My sodden noggin could use more exercise. And I took advantage of the Longevity Calculator. According to this curious mix of medical research, common sense, and voodoo, I'll be twitching and drooling until I'm 84. (Oh, well. I always knew I'd die young.)

However, I'm not convinced that Baby Boomers are looking to network unless there is a specific reason, a real benefit (don't ask me what those reasons or benefits might be - that's a big chunk of how I make my living as a consultant, creative director, and copywriter). I do find most of the content on Eons rather bland. Some content is fine in bland form (medical advice, etc.). But with 10 million bucks I bet they could dig up more creative, lively (even famous) Baby Boomer writers, journalists, and artists to spice it up a bit.

That's what most educated people over fifty are looking for - exciting content, real story-telling (including video).

I also predicted that "Eons has lots of potential." It's still early. We're all hoping that the site is successful. Because if it is, more sites for Baby Boomers will follow.

03 August 2006

Chicago Conference: Beyond The Boomers

I'll be blogging more about this - but for now be aware of a major business conference in October, BEYOND THE BOOMERS: The Transition Years.

Press Release
The conference is directed towards marketers, service providers and those who need to understand the unique psychology, perceptions, needs, issues and behaviors of this now 60+ population.

Presenters will include such national speakers as luncheon presenter, Dr. Ajit Kambil (Global Director, Deloitte Research, Deloitte, LLP), keynoter, Maryellen Molyneaux (President, The Natural Marketing Institute) Michael Gratz, (Director, AARP Market Intelligence Group), Chuck Nyren (author of business best-seller, ADVERTISING TO BABY BOOMERS), Vicki Thomas (author of BANKING ON THE MATURE MARKET), Don Montuori (Editor, Packaged Facts) and Sharon Ray Alt (Principal of Boomer Groups)...
Visit the Beyond The Boomers Conference Web Site. (Lots more to come over there - you're getting a sneak preview.)
WHEN: Friday, October 20, 2006 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
WHERE: Chicago Hilton and Towers, Chicago, IL
I'm wrapping up the morning session. That's the perfect slot for me because I can just keep blabbing and flashing PP slides—and at noon everybody will get up and leave for lunch and I won't have to answer any difficult or embarrassing questions.

I'll post about sponsorship opportunities soon. So far, some of the sponsors are GRAND Magazine, The Natural Marketing Institute, Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, Paramount Market Publishing, Inc. and SELLING TO SENIORS: The Monthly Report on the 50+ Market.