30 July 2007

John Migliaccio to MetLife Mature Market Institute

Co-author of 77 Truths About Marketing to the 50+ Consumer, and my good friend and co-presenter at NAHB 2006 and in New York last March and playmate on The History Channel Dr. John Migliaccio has been named Director of Research for MetLife’s Mature Market Institute.

He’s important now, and may or may not take my calls. Here's his brand-new office phone. I’ll give him a test call in a few days to see if he picks up.

Congrats, John!

27 July 2007

Radio has new interest in music boomers like

I read a version of this article a few weeks ago on The Washington Post site – but this one’s better:

Radio has new interest in music boomers like
When it comes to television advertisers, you are a non-person at 50. Radio gives you until 55. But the times they may be a-changing. In the youth obsessed advertising world, the sought-after magic demographic for TV is 18-49. When it comes to radio, 25-54 is the mantra. Since radio programmers try to deliver what advertisers want, that means formats aimed at baby boomers and seniors fell by the wayside.
As usual, nothing much new in the article. It’s my book, my blog, my consulting, my speaking for the last three or four years.

Two years ago a top Public Relations professional contacted me about radio, Baby Boomers, and a great idea. We tried to get something going - but he and his partner were ahead of their time. Now, it’s a hot topic.

Related: Here's Yours Truly and AARP’s Chief Brand Officer mixing it up a bit on an NPR program. I blogged about it afterwards.

23 July 2007

50+ International Gathering Week

People, organizations, and event planners are always emailing me to promote their this or that. I usually decline unless I know something about it - or I'm involved somehow.

This one came from Portugal, and looks interesting:

From 5 to 7 of October, a combination of leisure and scientific activities will involve:

* Cultural events and travel experiences, from 5 to 7 October
* Interactive Meeting and Conference, 8 and 9 of October
* First International Canvas Art Contest, Winner announcement: 9 of October

These will be an exchange-orientated event. Participants (either professionals and people over 50 years) will have the opportunity to explore new networking possibilities and share innovative ideas that can made the difference to a succeeded ageing. Simultaneously we are promoting the First International Canvas Art Contest, to reward the artistic potential of people 50 plus.

Language interpreted: Portuguese and English. French and German Translation still under negotiation.
I have nothing to do with it - so no implied endorsement.

However, I will be in Europe in September - and speaking (privately or publicly, I'm not sure which) at this event:

Click the "heir" link for a video

More about it later.

21 July 2007

What's Plaguing Viral Marketing

I hope most of you can get to this Ad Age article by Matthew Creamer before it disappears into the subscription black hole:
What's Plaguing Viral Marketing
Since the term "viral marketing" snuck into vogue in the mid-1990s, the ad business has been sold on sickness as the way to describe how information, ideas and influence spread through populations of consumers. Once a sideshow to traditional marketing, it has developed its own canon of research and books … But now a long-taken-for-granted central principle of viral marketing - that large-scale changes in behavior can begin like disease epidemics, with just a few highly connected people - is facing its toughest challenge yet. At the center of a growing fray is an unlikely figure: an Australian-born sociology professor at Columbia University named Duncan Watts, who comes armed with mathematical models that, he believes, unsettle much of what you think you know about viral marketing.
Also watch the video. It's a good one. About two-thirds of the way through, Mr. Creamer sounds a lot like Jack Trout:
"... In prior days, we used to try and find the "early adapters" for a product. We figured they had big mouths and loved to tell their friends and neighbors about their new widget ... This all brings me to my word-of-mouth on word-of-mouth marketing. It's not the next big thing. It's just another tool in your arsenal ..."
The article confirms much of what I've been saying over the last few years:

The Brouhaha Over WOMM

The Brouhaha Over WOMM Returns

And a comment left about the article sums it up for me:
"Thank you, Dr. Watts, for debunking the too-often-quoted-without-thinking trendy marketing theory espoused by Gladwell and Keller that it takes 500 blabbermouths to build and sustain a business."

18 July 2007

An Award Winner

I received an email from Martijn de Haas of Active
in The Netherlands:
… I thought you might be interested in a Dutch 2005 example of how they tried selling broadband to 50+ consumers. The theme is: "it's hard to keep up with technology”:

They even won the Dutch advertising prize for it. Although I think it’s funny I seriously doubt they got many of the target group to buy it.

You can look at it in 2 ways:

- the target group laughed because they didn't identify but got the message that was told at the end

- the target group was insulted and laughed it off

I think the latter but would love to hear your opinion …
I agree with Martijn. I’ve written about these types of campaigns in my book and blogged about them a number of times. Here’s just one:

Passat's Midlife Crisis

The spot from the Netherlands is kind of cute, very well produced, acted, directed. Not particularly original. The first scenario is a direct lift from the 1st edition cover of my book (I’m sure it wasn’t intentional) - a clever tongue-in-cheek visual metaphor birthed by Anne Kilgore – graphic artist/book designer extraordinaire. Click here to take a look at it.

The driving into the bushes gag is old (at least since the invention of car navigation systems – so five or six years old). I’ve seen it before. The gag about the mouse held up to the monitor is even older (a variation is a piece of blank paper pressed against a monitor so it will ‘print’).

And, of course, it’s always older people who are the foils for these tepid attempts at humor.

Why would you want to viciously ridicule your target market? They might laugh – but will they buy your product? I think not.

On NPR recently there was a report about students who were given laptops instead of textbooks. While these kids certainly knew how to download music, hang out at Facebook, and play video games – they had real problems opening up and using a word processing program. Many had no idea how to save a document. And when they did save it, they couldn’t find it again to open and work on it – or figure out how to print it.

As an exercise, let’s pretend that a company wants to sell computers to teenagers. I come up with a brilliantly funny spot. It’s full of the greatest of gags. In fact, they’re hysterical. For example - a drooling, pimply-faced, frenzied kid is working on a homework assignment - and is trying to type with a joystick! What a moron! Ha-ha! In another scenario, a kid is unscrewing and taking apart a computer to look inside it – trying to find the document he saved! Ha-ha-ha!!!

I tell ya, everybody'll be falling out of their chairs watching this one. It’ll get lots of advertising awards, too.

And most teenagers will probably laugh – but you won’t see them rushing to buy these computers. They have been made fools of.

And they know it.
"I no longer enter my agency's layouts in the contests ... for fear that one of them might be disgraced by an award." - David Ogilvy