06 November 2006

Newsweek: Television Was UsTube

Newsweek's The Boomer Files can be a bit heavy-handed, and sometimes a bit much - but there are good pieces sprinkled here and there. So far, the Albert Brooks piece is my favorite.

A new one is about television. Marc Peyser writes:
When "Davy Crockett" debuted on ABC in 1954, the show was supposed to be a flop ... Something amazing happened when that first episode aired, however: 40 million people watched. And that was just the beginning. "Crockett" doodads-toy wagons, guitars and, especially, coonskin caps-sold faster than a wild mustang can run. Within a year, the merchandise generated more than $300 million-in today's dollars, about $2 billion.
This echoes "Chuck the Talking Head" on an upcoming History Channel/AARP segment of "Our Generation."

The article does a good job zipping us through television in the 50s, 60s, 70s - and ends up with this insightful conclusion:
If there's an irony to all this - and boomers love their irony - it's that TV today has lost almost all its taste for social commentary … To the degree that TV taught boomers to look thoughtfully at their world, that lesson may be lost. When Archie and Edith sang "Those Were the Days," they were more prescient than anyone knew.

05 November 2006

Grand-scale Grandparents

Baby Boomers are all over their grandchildren - and Millennials in general.

I've written about this before.

And even before that.

So they're buying lots of toys (and more serious gifts) for their grandchildren. Check out this piece by David Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle:
Grandparents spend an average of $500 a year on each grandchild, collectively $30 billion per year, according to an AARP study.

"This is the first group of seniors that's embarrassed to have an AARP card," noted Carol Rehtmeyer, president of Rehtmeyer, a toy design, development and manufacturing company … "They're from the rock 'n' roll generation, and embrace spontaneousness and fun," she said. "Boomers think their grandkids are too programmed, and they're looking to stir things up."
But the real person all over this is Christine Crosby of GRAND Magazine.

Read a recent press release about GRAND.

Ignore the Research and Trust Your Gut

Here's a speech I liked hearing about - reported in Advertising Age by Lisa Sanders and from the mouth of Euro RSCG Worldwide's David Jones:

Taking a "swipe at the research and pre-testing industry," Mr. Jones next exhorted listeners to stop asking permission. Drawing on a "truth" from British comedian Vic Reeves that "96.2% of all statistics are made up," Mr. Jones -- also a Brit -- argued that some of the most well-liked ads aren't based on research or focus-group results. Instead they rely on a creative director's gut instinct of what consumers will like. He cited Procter and Gamble's effort for Charmin toilet tissue created by Euro rival Publicis Worldwide that riffs off of the many euphemisms for elimination. "Publicis took a risk, and did it without a bit of research," he said.

And by way of reinforcing the previous point, his last bit of advice was for creatives to "trust your gut." Advertising is changing fast, and to not take a risk is risky -- even though it's scary to take a risk.
No argument from me. I love it.

But there is one big problem. When targeting Baby Boomers you have to have the right guts around to trust. That'd be 50+ creative guts.

It wouldn't be too bright to trust my gut to come up with a campaign for a product aimed at twentysomethings. My gut would tell me, "… Ummm ... ummm ... Wait! I got it! We get some twentysomething girl an' spike her hair an' give'er tattoos and a nose ring an' put an iPod on her head an' bed some hip-hop music an' have her hold up the toothpaste! Yeah! They'll buy it! They'll buy it!"

Sixties music. Peace signs. They'll buy it. Portraying Boomers as teenagers with gray hair. They'll buy it.

Actually, I'm talking about diversity and playing the odds.

Also in the piece are incisive comments by Mr. Jones about the problems of relying on WOM and the premature death knell for the 30-second spot.

And check out other videos from the conference. I especially liked the ones with David Verklin and Alex Bogusky. Much of what they say parallels a few chapters in my book:

Verklin: More video/commercial content needed, and targeted.
Bogusky: Working with a client.

03 November 2006

Another Same Old, Same Old

Here's another 'same old, same old' article in the December 2006 edition of CRM magazine.

Nine out of ten points made and 'new insights' revealed are in my book Advertising to Baby Boomers (June 2005, Paramount Books) and/or can be found on this blog. Many of these same points are also discussed in Brent Green's Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers — and if you've kept up with Matt Thornhill's Boomer Project.

Again, nothing much new here - but for a quick, skeletal 'Cliff Notes' version, give it a read.

A 2nd Edition of my book (probably in paperback) with four or five new chapters and much updating will be available in early 2007.

01 November 2006

The steady glow of the Boom tube

Eric Deggans has a top-notch piece in The St. Petersburg Times:
"… A mountain of assumptions: Older consumers don't change brands easily. Older consumers are too savvy to be swayed by peer pressure or fads. Older people aren't interested in consumer items such as fast food, fashionable clothing, electronics or entertainment. Older consumers will watch advertising messages targeted to young people, but young people won't reciprocate."
"Such presumptions led major advertisers to target young people decades ago, building a media establishment that valued, over all others, consumers ages 18 to 49. And nowhere was this disparity worse than in the TV industry, where older adults spend more time watching television, but still are valued less."
All echoing themes in my book, my presentations, this blog. Here's one more:
"Researchers always asked 'When will the boomers become old and start acting like their parents'" said Sarah Zapolski, of the Knowledge Management research division at AARP. "But we were asking the wrong question. In many ways, boomers are behaving the way they've always behaved: They've always been less conservative about shopping and entertainment and fashion."
But it was the lede that really hit home:
It's something Linda Ellerbee can feel, like a cold breeze on the back of her neck, every time she meets with somebody from Madison Avenue.
No kidding. Wait until you start preaching to Madison Avenue about this stuff. It's less like a cold breeze and more like being dumped headfirst into a cryogenic freezer...

Visit Linda Ellerbee's Lucky Duck Productions.