28 February 2007

Bye-Bye, Forth & Towne

Gap Inc. announced plans yesterday to shutter its Forth & Towne division, which catered to women ages 35 and older … Forth & Towne was launched 18 months ago in New York and Chicago to much fanfare as a place for fashion-conscious baby boomers to shop …
Well, so long. I hope it wasn’t something I said.
"Forth & Towne was a great test of a promising concept and an illustration of the innovative risks you need to take in our business," said Bob Fisher, chairman and interim chief executive at Gap Inc.
Innovative risks? He’s got that right.

27 February 2007

My 90 Seconds of Fame Redux Redux Redux Redux

Read the original post from December, '06.

On The History Channel and sponsored by AARP:

Our Generation : Toys of a Generation

Airs on Friday March 02 12:00 PM
Airs on Friday March 02 06:00 PM
Airs on Sunday March 04 08:30 AM
Airs on Saturday March 10 08:00 AM

The Boomer Generation was the first generation to be actively marketed to as children. In the 1950's, canny advertisers used television to reach young boomers and entice them with a generation's worth of seemingly irresistible toys. Today, many of these toys are classics. Our resident historian Steve Gillon hosts.

26 February 2007

Barron's "Geezer Power"

----- Original Message -----
From: *********
To: nyrenagency@
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 8:06 AM
Subject: Boomer cover story in Barron's mag this week, fyi


I came across your blog and thought I’d send an fyi re: this week’s cover story in Barron’s magazine.

“The Last Laugh” (alternate headline: “Geezer Power”) describes how “for years, 18-to-49-year-olds have been marketers’ darlings. But an historic shift in spending power will force a change…” and firms like Estee Lauder, Starwood, Walgreen, Whole Foods will benefit.

We made the article a free feature this week, so sites and bloggers can link to it and discuss. URL and excerpts are below.

PR Director, Barron’s

Barron’s Magazine cover story, 2/26 issue: The Last Laugh


...Every eight seconds, an American turns 50. Last year, the first boomers -- members of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 -- turned 60. That's likely to send consumer and investment dollars flooding to a number of companies…Estee Lauder, Starwood, Walgreen, Whole Foods and other firms will benefit.

The mighty AARP, which dropped the word "retired" from its name a few years ago and became simply an acronym, now has 38 million members -- and expects that number to hit 50 million in the next five years. "This is a pivotal moment," says Bill Novelli, 65, the group's Washington, D.C.-based chief. "All these boomers are coming into their mature years, and have more longevity than ever.

That's apparently news to some people in the advertising, entertainment and media worlds… Says John Kottmann, director of strategic planning for McCann Erickson: "Twenty-five to 54 is still a very traditional market for many products. Media really lives and dies based on its appeal to 18-to-34-year-olds, and, increasingly, younger [age groups]." On average, a prime-time TV show that caters to a 35-to-49-year-old audience can get 30% more per advertising minute than one that caters to people 55 and above.

Good to see that Barron’s is on top of all this. However, I don’t have much to ‘discuss’ about it. There’s really nothing new here. I’ve been writing about this subject for years – in articles, my book (the publishers sent the updated 2nd Edition paperback to the printers on Friday – so it should be out in a month), this blog. Others blogging and writing about marketing and advertising to this demographic include Brent Green, Matt Thornhill, David Wolfe, Dick Stroud, Kevin Lavery, and Mary Furlong.

I'm guessing more than a few of the above will roll their eyes at the tired, insulting graphic and lede:
The aging baby-boom generation, which bared it all at Woodstock, plans to live it up -- and has the cash to do it. Pulte, Walgreen, AMN Health and other firms will benefit. Marketers, mend thy ways.

Does it look familiar?

Typical, ignorant nonsense. Read every other post of mine to dispel this myth.

Nowadays many of us write about how to reach Baby Boomers with marketing and advertising. It’s already a given that companies should be targeting this demo.

But the article is worth a read. At least it's nice to have Barron’s catch up with validate what we’ve been saying all these years.

21 February 2007

Dove Pro-Age Campaign

This'll be my third post about Dove Pro-Age. It's not because I'm obsessed with attractive, naked Baby Boomer women (although I am) - but because this may end up being a watershed campaign.

While we won't be seeing the spot on TV, the rest of the world will be. However, the print ads are in some ways even better. A few grabs from my book:
  • Contrary to popular myth, Baby Boomers do not believe that they are still teenagers or young adults …
  • Boomers are slyly redefining what it means to be the ages they are. Included in this new definition are some youthful attitudes, but the real change is that instead of winding down, many are winding up …
  • There is a big difference between thinking you are younger than you are, and not thinking that you are old. This "night and day" distinction may confuse many pundits, but it does not confuse most Boomers …
  • Baby Boomers do not want to be twenty again, or thirty again. They want to feel as good as they possibly can for the ages they are. They do not want to be marketed and advertised to as if they were young adults or thirty-somethings ...
  • In fact, Baby Boom women are the real age revolutionaries. Many are feeling very empowered, very alive, and ready to take on the world. While they could do without some of the wrinkles and some of the aches, ask most women over forty if they would like to live their twenties and thirties all over again, and they'll say, "No thanks. I'm happier and more productive now than I have ever been." …
  • So if an advertising agency tells you "when you target 19-to-35-year-olds, you likewise reach Baby Boomers," they are sadly out of touch with one of the largest and certainly the richest market segment today ...
Seems like I was conjuring up the The Dove Pro-Age campaign two and a half years ago.

One of the major reasons it all works is because of Annie Leibovitz. While she's much, much more, Ms. Leibovitz can certainly be described as the quintessential Baby Boomer creative. (And a very hands-on CEO was deeply involved in the campaign.)

Bring 50+ creatives back into the fold (and/or find new ones), and you may end up with similar results: a revolutionary campaign that resonates with your target market.

19 February 2007

Food fights, Balloons and Dancing Gorillas

“Every time I swear I'll never again be shocked or saddened by a TV commercial ruining a treasured rock anthem, another proves me wrong.”
I could’ve said that. But someone else did first. Read Jim DeRogatis’ piece in the Chicago Sun-Times:
Punk pitchmen
First, Iggy Pop had a lust for cruise life, and now what do i get from The Buzzcocks? An AARP ad ... No matter what the genre -- pop-punk or hip-hop, classic rock or dance-pop -- the best bands work long and hard to create a complete identity, considering every aspect of how their songs are written, recorded, packaged and sold. When they sell their music to a commercial, they cede control to an advertising director, and they take their chances.

I’ve blogged about this numerous times: here and here and here and here.

In the 1st Edition of my book published over two years ago I also talk about it. In the 2nd Edition paperback (it’ll be out soon) I prattle on and on about it some more – and in one section, with a different slant:

Purely anecdotal: I’m watching TV. I hear a tune I haven’t heard in thirty-five, forty years. My mind goes off into the ether. “Wow. What a great song. I’d forgotten all about it. I had the album. The cover was blue . . . And there were a bunch of other great songs on that album. What the hell were they? I can’t remember . . . I wonder if I can get it on Amazon. There’s probably only a compilation of his hits, or a boxed set. But I just want the CD of the album. I’ll have to remember to check the next time I’m online ..”

By then, the commercial is over. In fact, probably three other commercials are over. I have no idea what the product is, or what any of the other products are. *
As far as AARP …

I just don’t know what to do with their ad campaigns. The Party/Buzzcocks one makes no sense. I haven’t a clue what the point of it is. I hope Mr. DeRogatis’ take on it isn’t correct - or I’m staying home and locking the doors and windows if I ever retire:
"The message of the AARP ad is that life will be one big, happy birthday party for retiring Baby Boomers, complete with food fights, balloons and dancing gorillas."

Here’s another AARP ad that has its heart in the right place, understands Baby Boomers wanting to leave a legacy to their grandchildren (again, I’ve talked about this numerous times) - but the spot is so mannered, so hokey, so "Let's put adult thoughts and words into the mouths of children - it'll be so touching and so profound." Good idea, bad execution:

If you must know, it was Donovan's "Catch The Wind."