05 September 2006

Baby Boomers and Firefox

Sarah Lacy's latest piece in Businessweek is all about Mozilla's Firefox:
"But as Mozilla prepares for the October release of the next version of Firefox, the group is facing its biggest challenge yet: Going mainstream. Firefox's share of the market, however impressive, has been flat after rapid growth in 2004 and 2005. Analysts say that's because Mozilla has largely reached the natural Firefox constituency-hip college students, Microsoft haters, and tech geeks."
I use Firefox. However, I'm not in one of the demos above: I have no beef with Microsoft (in fact, I wrote some copy for them a loooooong time ago), I'm not a hip college student, I'm hardly a tech geek - although I know my way around a computer and the internet.

Firefox is simply a better browser. In some ways, it's much better. Using tabs along with their scrapbook feature is the best way to gather and store web-based info, and the extensions make virtual life easier and are easy to install. I get a kick out of sifting through the available extensions. It's obvious that the open-source developers are having a blast creating them.

But as the article says:
"Mozilla's order will only get taller once Microsoft releases the latest version of Internet Explorer, now available in test mode. The new Microsoft browser already contains many of the innovations that have set Firefox apart … Some fear Firefox could even lose market share."
Here is where Mozilla will really stumble - their patronizing dismissal of Baby Boomers and older:
"There are more than 63 million baby boomers and 25 million senior citizens online, and Mozilla figures the best way to reach them is for their more tech-savvy kids or relatives to install Firefox for them."
I've blogged about this before:

My Favorite Cyber-Myth

Baby Boomers Burst Online

The computer/internet ethos for most Baby Boomers is that they pick and choose what technology they want to use, buy, or install. Some are all over Skype, video and music uploading and downloading, research, education, travel planning, shopping - while eschewing blogging, communities, and web page design. Or it's the other way around. Or variations thereof. When it comes to new technology, most Baby Boomers only learn about what interests them. They don't feel the need to know everything about computers and the web.

Mozilla should make a case for Baby Boomers to choose Firefox. And there are tons of reasons for Boomers to do so. Aside from the Firefox features, most Boomers would identify with and champion a bunch of rebellious folk that questions authority and the status quo and created a product out of love and not for profit. We’ve always liked idealistic troublemakers.

I might be willing to join in and do a bit of free Firefox evangelizing - maybe by writing some copy explaining in down-to-earth language the advantages of Firefox. It would appear to be age-neutral copy, but in a style that Baby Boomers would find appealing and relevant. I could also offer some WOM and media planning advice, since media buyers/planners probably won't be much help.

But sadly … because I'm over fifty, I'm too much of a technological luddite to figure out how to find Mozilla on the web and email them. I'll have to wait until some 'tech-savvy kid' comes over so he/she can do it for me.

01 September 2006

So What's A Baby Boomer?

Thanks to Food Navigator USA, we have a bit of insight into the recent IRI Report on Baby Boomers:
Published by market researcher Information Resources Inc (IRI), the report separates baby boomers into three groups: Kennedy Boomers (born between 1956-1964), Truman Boomers (1946-1955) and FDR 60s (1936-1945).
I'm someone who isn't particularly anal about defining the term Baby Boomers. The above doesn't quite work for me - but what I do like about it is this: the report recognizes that culturally (and it's an unwieldy, diverse culture) the term Baby Boomers includes people born before 1946.

The "baby boom" actually began in 1943 when birth rates began to rise, dipping slightly in 1944 and 1945. I like to include people born a few years before that when I talk about Baby Boomers. And if you press me, I'll admit that for me the "baby boom" ended in 1957 - and people born between 1958 and 1964 really are another generation.

In other words, I think people born in the years 1939-1957 have more in common than people born in the years 1946-1964.

Just one snooty pundit's opinion.

More about the IRI Report.

A good piece by Ronni Bennett.

29 August 2006

What'sNext Magazine

I've been accused of gynocentrism because of a few recent posts.

Guilty as charged. Or just think of it as a guilty pleasure.

Businessweek has something to say about my misplaced affections:
Largely forgotten are the millions of boomer dads, who shop a lot more than their fathers or grandfathers ever did.
And over a year ago my publishers were looking for a writer to put together a book about marketing to men. I don't think they found anybody. Too bad. Someone could have been ahead of the curve.

So to make this blog fair and balanced, here's a magazine targeting Baby Boomer men:
The mission of What's Next Media is to inform and inspire men who are seeking to build a bigger, more fulfilling life. What's Next will address a wide range of topics central to the challenges and opportunities facing men during their middle years.
What'sNext magazine is due out in January 2007. The web site already has some content. Personally, I'm not drooling over its content - but that's just me. Baby Boomer men are a varied group. I'm sure lots of them will eat it up. And perhaps I'll find it tasty eventually - maybe when I can pick it up with both hands and chomp down on it.

There is a large market for all sorts of magazines and web sites targeting Baby Boomers. If I were putting together a magazine for Baby Boomer men, I'd make it a bit more open, freewheelin', disassembled around the edges. I'd have profiles about Boomers doing just about anything, humor and fiction pieces in each issue, original art and graphics, give it a more earthy personality, maybe even an outrageous personality (or a hint of one) — with less focus on the aspirational. Baby Boomers don't need to be prodded.

But that would be my magazine. What'sNext is another magazine (and a real one, unlike mine) - and it looks like it might be a good one. That's because the writers are top-notch. Much, much better than the bland ones scribbling away at a recently tossed up web site that I've already blogged about too many times.

You can get a free copy of the premiere issue of What'sNext by filling out this form.

And I'll be interested in soaking up the look and feel of the ads. I might even hold them up to the mirror, because:
According to Leo Burnett, 79% of American men say they can barely recognize themselves in advertisements.

25 August 2006

Boomer Broads with Attitude

Hot on the heels of my Hot Flash Café post comes an invite to the premiere of a new radio show:
To: nyrenagency
Subject: media request

Hi Mr. Nyren,

I am the booker-producer for a new radio show in Boston MA USA, 'Boomer Broads with Attitude' and I'm writing to ask if you could possibly join us on September 17 for the kickoff of the show. Anne Marie Aigner and Janet Prensky are the principals of a very successful marketing firm in Boston, Aigner Associates, with much media experience. We are fans of your blog.

… We wondered if you'd be available to call in for a 6 - 10 minute spot to talk about your work — advertising to Baby Boomers and the challenges, the rewards, and the specifics.

Thanks much,
(LM) for Boomer Broads with Attitude, WBIX Radio in Boston MA
Shows like this will be popping up all over the place in the next few years. 'Like this' meaning a variety of programs that target Baby Boomers, male and female.

This one sounds like it'll be fun. And I'm partial to boomer broads with attitude. Of course, in my younger years I could handle two or three or even four BBWAs at once, easy. But nowadays I'm not so sure. I'll have to get myself a personal trainer, work out, psych myself up by September 17th.

27 Sept 2006: More about Boomer Broads with Attitude.

24 August 2006

Tailoring media to an older crowd

Andrea K. Walter (Baltimore Sun) and David Bauder (AP) have complementary pieces featuring John Erickson of Erickson Retirement Communities and his developing role as media mogul. From The Baltimore Sun:
Erickson is in negotiations with Comcast Corp. to start airing this fall a daily, four-hour segment of cable programming aimed at baby boomers under the name Retirement Living TV. He hopes to build the content to a 24-hour stand-alone station. He then wants to move to the Internet and other technology such as podcasts.
From Associated Press:
Retirement Living will air "Amazing Seniors," about the achievements of people after they've retired from traditional jobs. Erickson also wants to set up a "Meet the Press"-style public-affairs show, and have programs on personal finance, travel and fitness all directed at the age group … Erickson said he could fail, like most TV startups, but he could also awaken a sleeping giant. "I think you'll find that everybody wants to talk to this market," but nobody yet has pulled it off, he said.
I won't comment on the shows because I haven't seen them (although this doesn't stop some media experts and pundits). I will say that I admire Mr. Erickson and his team simply because they're doing it.

However, the word 'retirement' might scare off Baby Boomers. It smacks of 'old' and 'irrelevant.'

Not too long ago I was talking to Marc Middleton of Growing Boldera web site, radio show, and other good stuff under wraps at the moment. Originally Marc named his
umbrella company The Active Aging Network. I said that he should dump the word 'aging.' Now it's the Active Living Network. Much better.

I'm not taking credit for this. Marc no doubt talked to other people about it. I was probably one in a handful of sounding boards.

I hope Mr. Erickson finds some good sounding boards—along with an eclectic mix of vibrant, creative Baby Boomers to produce, write, direct, and edit his network's offerings.

Retirement Living TV

The Erickson Tribune

Erickson School of Aging Studies (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)