30 June 2007

Don't Ignore The Boomer Consumer

Just one of many same old, same olds. In fact, there are so many that I can barely keep track of them. This time it's from Brandchannel:
Don't Ignore The Boomer Consumer
Boomers are reported to spend a staggering US$ 2.3 trillion in annual household expenditures (twice the amount of 18- to 39-year-olds), enjoy the highest incomes of any age group, and were born during a fortunate crack in history to cash in on the real estate and stock booms.
Nothing new here if you've read my book and/or kept up with this blog (along with a few other books and blogs). And did I ever have to dig around my dusty, old ethereal attic just to extract this moldly post about Campus Continuum

28 June 2007

Forth and Towne R.I.P. Redux

Carol Orsborn of FH Boom has a few choice blog posts (actually, fun stories) about her experiences at the now defunct Forth & Towne:
A Tale of Two Townes
Forth and Towne, Gap's high-profile ill-fated effort to start up a retail store dedicated to selling fashion to boomer women, did not pass away because boomer women don't want to be catered to as a special segment of the retail marketplace. There is the persistent rumor afoot that the last thing a women of a certain age wants to be is "ghettoized."
The Rest of the Tale of Two Townes
I was confused. The Forth and Towne concept was that there were different types of women, each with her appropriate area. Each had its own descriptive made-up name, none of with which I identified.
I blogged about Forth & Towne when the stores opened - and again when they closed. The reasons I gave for Forth & Towne's failure were different from Carol's - but I don't think mutually exclusive.

A quote by Bill Bernbach:
"A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it's bad."
So now after reading Carol's posts I've realized that if The Gap's marketing folks had listened to me, the stores would've folded in eighteen days instead of eighteen months.

Update, July 1st - I can't bring myself to write a third post in a row about women's fashions - as if I really know anything about the subject. So here's a link to an excellent piece by Barbara Bradley on Commericalappeal.com: Women of a certain age don't want to look like little girls

25 June 2007

Boomer Films

James Caan, Robert Duvall, and a few others are putting together Boomer Films – ostensibly to produce films for Baby Boomers:
Boomer Films, created by Caan, 66, hopes to break the stranglehold of big-studio blockbusters such as Spiderman and Pirates of the Caribbean. Helped by an older generation of filmmakers, the company wants to produce movies based on powerful stories that are less reliant on explicit sex and violence.
Colleague Dick Stroud isn’t so sure about it. I’m not sure – but it doesn’t sound like the worst of ideas.

Actually, my feeling back in the 1970s was that the “stranglehold of big-studio blockbusters” was alive and well, what with The Poseidon Adventure, The Exorcist, The Towering Inferno, Jaws and the like. The Godfather (I&II) were exceptions to the rule. Most of the fondly remembered films made by folks like Martin Scorcese, Robert Altman, Woody Allen and others weren’t super-duper, rooter-tooter blockbusters. But I do admit – there were more of them then than now. And unless my memory has completely moldered, I vaguely recall loads of "explicit sex and violence" back then - although the stories were, more often than not, complex and powerful.

In the 1st Edition of Advertising to Baby Boomers (also included in the new edition) there is a chapter about bringing back creatives from that era to help fashion television/video web campaigns. You can read it on The Advertising Educational Foundation web site (click the link to download the PDF). Considering the cross-pollination between Film/TV and Advertising, perhaps Mr. Caan’s idea might be a creative shot in the arm for all media industries.

23 June 2007

UD, Aging in Place, and My Dumb Noggin

Wesley Hein at LifeTwo.com has a good piece about universal design and aging in place:
In the post war years, the big market was in small affordable homes that could be bought on a GI bill and were suitable for raising a family. Sixty years later, the children of those GI's are looking ahead a few decades and don't want to be moved into a retirement community.
And he points you to a good piece by June Fletcher of the Wall Street Journal:
Traditionally, the market for these products has been the elderly and handicapped, but builders and manufacturers see a bigger prize: middle-aged homeowners who don't need them yet. The beleaguered housing industry is hoping it can attract these buyers with more stylish, less institutional fare such as "smart" kitchen faucets and dishwashers …
I’ve written a bunch of stuff about UD and Aging in Place:

Baby Boomers and Universal Design

Neighborhood Design, Universal Design

Selling Universal Design to Baby Boomers

Aging in Place (PDF)

And Rolling Rains commented on one of my pieces.

But, like the typical Baby Boomer, I’ll probably wait until I slip in the bathtub and crack my dumb noggin before I get the hint to do some retrofitting.

20 June 2007

Interview with Cathy Hamilton of Boomergirl.com

Colleague Brent Green (Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers) has tossed up a blog post and video interview with Cathy Hamilton, founder of Boomergirl.com.
It's worth a read/watch/listen:

This website is the brainchild of Cathy Hamilton, a long-time journalist in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas. With the support of World Media -- a company that owns the community newspaper, The Lawrence Journal World, as well as other media properties -- Cathy and her team have created an imaginative, warm and welcoming place for middle-aged women worldwide to connect and collaborate.
There were real reasons - and a specific plan - behind the creation of Boomergirl.com. Cathy just didn't say to herself, "Hey! Boomers have lots of money! Let's put up a web site for Baby Boomers! Whoopie!!!"

I blogged about Boomergirl.com back in January. I don't know how many people I've sent there to show them how a site targeting Baby Boomers should be done. There are so many horrible ones - with scores and scores coming down the pike - that it's refreshing to have at least one or two thoughtful, intelligent, fun sites around.