09 April 2007

Centrum Silver's Strip Poker Spot Not

Gill Walker of Evergreen Marketing in Australia sent a few of us agency and marketing folk an email. The subject line: We love strip poker. No comment in the message body, just a movie file attachment of a commercial.

When I watch commercials I try not to bring all my professional baggage along for the first visit. So … I mildly chuckled at this Centrum spot:

Kind of clever. A bit hokey. Actually, a Cocoon knock-off. But cute.

Of course, as a piece of persuasion - it fails. The spot is rife with ageism, and (even worse) portrays the target market as a bunch of delusional imbeciles.

I'm assuming that the target market is not Baby Boomers. These folks look to be in their seventies and eighties. As an exercise, let's refashion this ad for Boomers by making it appealing and persuasive:

Keep the first half of the spot, maybe shorten it a bit. We hear a door open. Pan. Barreling in are two twenty/thirty something adults (maybe with their young children). "Mom, Dad - we're dropping in because ..."

The pan back to the poker table reveals four people in their fifties/sixties, still looking pretty good - maybe with a few potbellies, a bald head, etc. They're healthy, animated, colorful. Both groups (at the door and at the table) are shocked, uncomfortable. The young adults at the door squirm, mumble something, look at each other. "Oh! Ummm …." And out the door they go, slinking away.

Back to the strip poker game. There is a wild mix of reactions (because, contrary to advertising/marketing conventional non-wisdom, people over fifty are not all the same). One is a bit sheepish, another finds the situation highly amusing, another is embarrassed, another sloughs it off and shrugs as if to say, 'Who cares, no big deal.' After a moment, they all smile, maybe giggle - and merrily continue with the game.

Watching the original commercial again - I didn't laugh at the old folks. I laughed at the agency that produced this sad, insipid spot.

Check out Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By for her take on the commercial.

Update 11 APR 2007: Interesting developments concerning the origin of this video. Read about it over at Time Goes By.

07 April 2007

Two New Appointees to GRAND Magazine's Advisory Board

I'm now on GRAND Magazine's Advisory Board. Another recent addition to the board is Marti Barletta.

This is a magazine that's heading in the right direction. Christine Crosby knows that Baby Boomers are enjoying being grandparents and are very concerned about passing on their legacies to the Millennial Generation.

01 April 2007

Calcified Advertising Agencies

Rance Crain sums it up. It's as if he's reading from my book. Although I'm sure he hasn't read it. Obviously, he doesn't have to:
Boomer Boon: 'Crazy Aunts and Uncles' Spend $1.7 Trillion
The ad business is woefully out of touch with baby-boomer buying power. Young ad people think older people are stuck in their ways, so it's a waste of money to try to get them to change brands … a prime-time TV show with most of its viewers in the 34-to-49 range can get 30% more per ad minute than one that caters to people 55 and older. Yet consumers age 50 and up already spend more than $1.7 trillion on goods and services a year …
And the best part:
Agencies like to think of themselves as the last bastion of creativity, but they're in many ways the most calcified part of the process. Enlightened clients are beginning to realize this resistance to change is holding them back; the next step is to bypass their agencies' counsel.
It's my book/blog/consulting/speaking/creative strategy in a nutshell.

May 9, 2007: A follow-up piece by Rance Crain, You Know Who's Boss -- Consumers

28 March 2007

The Boomer Century on PBS

There’s a show on PBS tonight titled Boomer Century:
“The Boomer Century: 1946-2046” is a two-hour documentary that looks to the baby boomers’ past for clues to how this generation of 78 million Americans will shape the future.
Of the half dozen or so reviews I’ve read – well, they’re weird. They review Baby Boomers, not the show. Actually, that’s par for the course. The same thing happened with Lenny Steinhorn’s book. A strange phenomenon – reviewing the subject and only making passing references to the book.

Here’s an actual review of the program by Brian Lowry in Variety. I culled a quote that’s perfect for this blog (and, I wish, had been around earlier so I could've included it in my book):
On the down side, scant time is devoted to the manner in which the boomers are discounted and dismissed by Madison Avenue, which has too slowly come to recognize that boomers approach aging differently than any generation preceding them. Given how rarely this disconnect is vented publicly, it seems like a missed opportunity in the near-ad-free environs of PBS.
So enjoy the show. Or hate it. Or use it as a night light. I guess we’ll all find out which it’ll be if we tune in – because it's certainly difficult to tell beforehand by reading most of the reviews.

The Netherland's PLUS Magazine

Back from The Big Apple for a private consulting/speaking assignment. Bayard Presse and Roularta Media flew in 40+ advertisers of their 40+ magazine PLUS - a major player in The Netherlands.

Of course, I was a bit concerned that I'd have to tone down my presentation, speak slowly, that any humor might not translate. Was I ever wrong. These wonderful folk followed me from start to finish - laughing, leaning in, asking questions. In The Netherlands English is not a tossed-off second language, but a requirement in schools.

And the Dutch are friendly, involved, jovial, and (no surprise) keenly intelligent.

I presented first - and for the next few days had lots of rousing huddles and chats with almost all the organizers and attendees.

Actually, I was one of the unofficial organizers, recommending three of the seven speakers: Laurel Kennedy of Age Lessons, John McMenniman (former Nestle/Disney exec and former president of The Advertising Hall of Fame), and John Migliaccio. And I had a few special friends of mine drop by for lunches, dinners, and meetings: Susan Silver, Mary Duffy, and Peter Himler. Peter had some other meetings that came up unexpectedly, so he wasn't around for too long - but Susan and Mary spent lots of time floating around and were appreciated by all.

I also popped in to say hello to Marcia Soling of The Advertising Educational Foundation and hand her a copy of the updated edition of my book.

A very special treat for me: I finally met Dick Stroud - and as a bonus, his beautiful wife Stella. Too bad she's not on this huge billboard in Times Square. She should be.