16 November 2007
Being the magnanimous fellow he is, in my mailbox the other day I found a small package from him. He'd tossed the takes of Yours Truly onto a CD.
Yesterday I cobbled together a video using Microsoft Movie Maker - so don't expect too much. It's simply a promotional tool for speaking gigs - to complement this. I purposely made it teasing - not giving much away:
15 November 2007
So goes Boom! - a book about his experiences in (more or less) the 1960s. Mr. Brokaw was around a lot of influential folk from all over the cultural and political map. Most of it is insider stuff and fun to read. Early in his career he covered what is arguably the most important movement of the decade - Civil Rights - and his points of view and personal profiles of the individuals he knew were for me the most interesting and vital chapters.
Brokaw comes pretty close to defining the 'generation' (or at least the era that he's covering) the same way I do. As I state in the intro to this blog - it's a diverse, unwieldy group. After reading Boom! you'll consider that an understatement.
Boom! has been criticized for leaning too much on the remembrances and evaluations of famous and influential people - but those were the people Mr. Brokaw knew. It's what I expected. After all, the subtitle is Personal Reflections on The Sixties and Today. Perhaps the problem is that Boom! is being perceived and/or touted as the book about the 1960s. Of course it's not. It's one of many, with many more to come.
The more you know about your target market, the better. So I'll recommend Boom! to anybody interested in advertising and marketing to Baby Boomers - along with Len Steinhorn's The Greater Generation: In Defense of The Baby Boom Legacy. (And there are dozens of others.)
Janet Maslin's Review of Boom! in The New York Times.
10 November 2007
ENCORE LEADERSHIP INTERVIEW: David Galenson on Old Masters and Young GeniusesI blogged about this book over a year ago. It parallels much of what I say in my not-so-brief A Brief History of Advertising Creatives section I usually include in my presentations. Most people are shocked when I explain to them (with loads of examples) that many, many of the great creatives did their best work later in life.
It turns out the baby boomers who wanted to change the world in the '60s may not be the same ones who will change the world in their 60s. It is the persistent experimenters who are coming to the fore in the second half of their lives, and are emerging from the shadow of the fiery radicals and bold activists who defined the baby boomers four decades ago. Same generation, but different kinds of people.
Will the advertising industry change their ways in order to reach Baby Boomers more effectively? Who knows. If they don't, it'll be the clients who will suffer.
Again, I'll leave you with a quote from Rosser Reeves:
"No, I don't think a 68-year-old copywriter can write with the kids. That he's as creative. That he's as fresh. But he may be a better surgeon. His ad may not be quite as fresh and glowing as the Madison Ave. fraternity would like to see it be, and yet he might write an ad that will produce five times the sales. And that's the name of the game, isn't it?"
05 November 2007
An In-Depth Interview With Jann WennerThe above reflects a lot of what I've been saying about magazines for Baby Boomers - along with how to position them on the racks and on the web.
BW: Do you worry about the future of magazines as a medium?
JW: No. I don't.
BW: At all.
JW: No. Reading is not going away. There are things that magazines do better than other mediums and you just have to do that and do it better than ever. There are so many media choices out there now in the world-Internet, other magazines, blah blah blah blah--that if you don't do a really, really good job, if you're just half-assed, why bother? The audience is just gonna wander away. If you do it really well, you hold onto the audience and you build real value. It has to be meaningful. It can't be casual [expletive]. It has to be meaningful, in some way, in peoples' lives and do things that magazines do really well, [like] photography and editing. I've seen so many magazines trying to imitate Web sites in their redesigns, of doing all these little bits and pieces, and it's like, if you do it correctly, and you can broaden the depth of the experience. That’s what you can bring to peoples’ lives, beyond what’s on the printed page--if you do it correctly ...
Every week someone emails me about magazines:
"Is there a magazine for Baby Boomers?"
"I want to start a magazine for Boomers."
"I have a product and want to advertise in a magazine for Baby Boomers."
"I'm a writer in my 50s (or 60s) and I want to write for a magazine that targets Baby Boomers. Are there any?"
Yeah. In Europe.
And if Mr. Wenner is correct, we probably won't be seeing anything like the emergence of a Rolling Stone - meaning, a grass-roots magazine - ever:
JW: It is very, very tough. Tougher than ever. If you were to start a new [successful] magazine today, you'd have to have the backing of major publishing company. Have there been any? Other than little tiny things?
02 November 2007
Boomers Logging On
I guess they’re playing catch-up.
Two TV spots getting a lot of press:
Dylan’s Cad commercial is, as you might guess, an oddball one. I don’t mind it because it’s not pandering or nostalgic. It’s Ol’ Bob today – embedded with new(er) music. Sure, the spot harkens back to one of his great pieces (directed by D.A. Pennebaker) – but it’s not junky like this. And he’s promoting his radio show. Smart guy.
People are arguing about whether Mr. Dylan has ‘sold out’. In fact, for the last forty-odd years any time he’s done anything that’s always been the main question. It’s a major, major concern among many. However, being in advertising, I often worry about the products. Did Fender (electric) Guitars sell out by letting Bob play one?
And Geico’s Chatty Cathy is just funny, clever - not nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.