28 September 2006

Jeff, Chuck, BusinessWeek an' The Broads

Last Sunday I was a guest on a fun Boston radio show, Boomer Broads with Attitude, hosted by Anne-Marie Aigner and Janet Prensky:
We are two women…both boomers…both with enough attitude to pass around! We have been called sassy, brassy, frank and some things we can't print! But never boring. Life is too short for boring! And, about the title: "Boomer BROADS" - we know some won't like it. Call yourselves what you want-we like the word "broads". We're proud to be broads!
Also on the show was Jeff Taylor of Eons.

The next day a BusinessWeek article by Olga Kharif was nailed to the ether:
Only a few smart Internet sites have figured out how to appeal to a large constituency with time to spend and money to burn … GrowingBolder, some of whose programming already appears on a local Clear Channel (CCU) radio station, also plans to offer video profiles of boomer role models, says Marc Middleton, CEO of Boomer Broadcasting, which produces GrowingBolder.com.
I'm quoted in the article. So is Jeff Taylor of Eons.

Mr. Taylor seems to be following me around. Well, just like with Oprah - I'm the selfless sort. If Jeff's name cozying up to mine will give a boost to his project, I'm glad to help...

26 September 2006

Focalyst: Ads Send Wrong Message

Here's a good piece by Joshua Chaffin originally in The Financial Times:
Nearly one-quarter of US baby-boomers are insulted by the advertising messages that companies are sending them, according to a new study … The survey suggested that many companies were taking a misguided approach as they attempted to reach out to the largest and wealthiest group of US consumers.
I agree with the Focalyst findings - but my solution is a bit different. Reaching Baby Boomers has more to do with sensibility when fashioning ad campaigns and less to do with simply defining cohorts and targeting them. The reason campaigns are ineffective is because the best advertising is done by people who advertise to themselves. Hire Baby Boomers to be the creative directors, copywriters, art directors, and graphic designers - and guess what - Baby Boomers will respond to intelligent advertising.

Have I said this before? About a hundred times over the last four years.

Mike Irwin will be in Chicago (along with Yours Truly) on October 20th at the Beyond the Boomers Business Conference.

17 September 2006

The Very Unsecretive Forth and Towne

Here's a link to a blog posting of mine from over a year ago:
Oh ...... great idea! Just ignore the largest, richest demographic — a generation very much accustomed to being advertised to (and not particularly happy that they're off the radar nowadays) — and one that has always responded well to intelligent, informative advertising ... Just hope that they pop in...
Here's a news story on fibre2fashion.com:
All set for Gap Inc media blitz for its Forth & Towne apparel brand
The sophisticated, visually arresting campaign was shot by renowned fashion photographer Michael Thompson and features stylized images of iconic models Beri Smither, Tatjana Patitz, Karen Alexander, Danielle Zinaich Strahl and Lisa Taylor with taglines such as "Go Forth and Be Chic" and "Speak Softly and Carry a Big Purse."
Hmmm. Like I said in another post about another industry:
Think of me as some brilliant seer.
A visionary.
Or just some slob with a bit of common sense.
Take your pick. I'll be happy with any of these labels.
Much thanks to Dick Stroud (another brilliant seer or just some slob with a bit of common sense, take your pick) for bringing this to my attention. Read what he has to say about Forth & Towne.

16 September 2006

The Search for Mr. Adequate

I received an email from Susan Silver. She had googled "Boomer Broads with Attitude" and found my blog:
"We are both going to be on Boomer Broads. Sunday I believe. I have a column which might be of interest to your fans and readers...about dating at a 'certain age.'"
Well … I was bumped from the premiere of BBWA. Probably for Susan. OK with me. I'm now booked on the second show.

I googled Ms. Silver, and clicked on a handful of her pieces. It's obvious why she's considered "the high priestess of sociological comedy through her column, The Search for Mister Adequate."

The above quote is from a recent profile of Susan Silver by Pranay Gupte in The New York Sun. Little did I know that Susan had already made me laugh hundreds of times:
Anyone who wrote comedy for the acclaimed television programs "Maude," "The Bob Newhart Show," and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" has to be a funny girl, right?

"I'm sure there are available men out there," she said, "but, of course, you've got to find them. I have women friends who attend funerals to spot single men. Some go on cruises. Some go bicycling. The problem is that they're still looking for 'The Prince,' 'The Perfect Man.' At a certain age, I hope we're wise enough to realize that he doesn't exist. But 'Mister Adequate' might."
I exchanged a handful of emails with Ms. Silver - one explaining that her search was officially over: by emailing me she had found Mr. Adequate. She replied that I was 'too cute' to be Mr. Adequate. So I guess that makes me Mr. Slightly-More-Than-Adequate — and overqualified. Or she just doesn't want to admit to everybody that she's finally found what she's been looking for - because The New York Social Diary would then have to spike her column.

But there are other questions that needed answering. Read this piece from Cox News Service:
If you're among the almost 80 million baby boomers who make up the majority of the network TV audience, you're going to see more of your own people on the tube this season … Instead of a slew of way-too-cute twentysomethings, you're going to see stars of a "certain age." … You're going to see 59-year-old James Woods in designer suits at the helm of CBS's new legal drama "Shark," 58-year-old Ted Danson leading the chuckles on ABC's new sitcom "Help Me Help You," a couple of certifiable geezers - 60-year-old John Lithgow (in a Speedo in the pilot) and 62-year-old Jeffrey Tambor - in NBC's comedy "Twenty Good Years" and 59-year-old Sally Field at the head of the table on the ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters."
So I'm wondering … are the networks, the Hollywood TV production companies, wooing Susan, begging her to write again for television? They should be. I don't know if they are or not. But they should be. And they should be wooing lots of other former television writers of 'a certain age.'

Ms. Silver is in New York. Are ad agencies wooing her, begging her to write commercials for these TV shows? I don't know, but they should be.

The same, fateful day that Ms. Silver found Mr. Adequate, Mr. Adequate was interviewed by Olga Kharif, a writer for Businessweek. It was all about Baby Boomers, the web, technology, advertising. (If I get ether ink, I'll link to it here.) One thing I remember saying: "What if someone in their fifties or early sixties walked into an ad agency. Say this person had studied art/design in college decades ago, always wanted to work in advertising or the media - but got sidetracked. This person is up on all the latest graphic software, and wants a job in the creative department. And the ad agency actually has a few clients with products/services for Baby Boomers. What do you think the chances are of this person being hired? Zero. Just think: ex-creatives brought back into the fold, paired with fifty year old 'fresh blood.' Do you think this would be the best of all possible worlds when targeting Baby Boomers? It would. But it'll never happen. And the clients are robbed."

Apply the above to copywriters. And all the new television shows targeting Baby Boomers. Imagine seasoned writers/directors teamed with middle-aged 'fresh blood.'

Susan Silver is searching for Mr. Adequate. I hope she finds something better. Advertising agency and media companies, when fashioning campaigns and entertainment aimed at the 50+ market, happily hire hundreds of Mr. and Miss Adequates. They should be searching for something better.

14 September 2006


Here is a collection of copy from six web sites targeting 50+ (always accompanied by stock images of smiling, vapid, mindless Baby Boomers – usually in the ocean or on beaches):
Redefining Life After Fifty!

Don't Just Live Longer. Live Bigger. After 50 Life Becomes Yours.

Our mission is to inform and inspire the Boomers and to promote a new vision of life after fifty.

Our mission is to encourage our readers to live bigger. To take risks and pursue their dreams.

Our vision … is to rewrite the rules of getting older and transform the voice of aging from one of limitation to one of possibility.

***** is a media company focused on empowering individuals to live the lives they imagine.

Now we have a brand new site with smiling, vapid, mindless Baby Boomers in the ocean — along with empty-headed aspirational messages, small wishy-washy fonts, and headache-inducing copy over graphics:

You've had one "prime of life". Now, as an active Boomer, you're ready for your "Second Prime!"
…. I'm getting sleepy…. WAIT! DON'T LET ME FALL ASLEEP! PLEASE! I'LL TURN INTO ONE OF THEM! DON'T let meeeeee…...


Added 19 Sept 06: Now here is a conundrum for you

Update August 2009: A post about a recent news item