27 June 2008

U.S. Bank's Retirement Planning Center

A snippet from a short piece on The Finance and Commerce site:

U.S. Bank aims to take apprehension out of retirement planning
fnc “There is a level of discomfort out in the marketplace,” said Dan McCormack, senior vice president for U.S. Bank Investments, which manages the centers. “Our vision for the Retirement Planning Center is to provide a relaxed, interactive experience where clients can … feel comfortable.”
Comfort starts with a coffee bar at the entry to the center where visitors can begin to review U.S. Bank’s retirement products on their own via laptops and online presentations. They can take their next step at the bar, too, visiting with the center’s concierge, who will listen and suggest some next conversations – at a time that the customer chooses. 

Two reasons I'm blogging this:

  1. Yesterday I was interviewed by U.S. News & World Report about this subject.  (If I get ink, I'll blog it.  Maybe even if I don't get ink, I'll blog it.)

  2. In the 2007 Edition of my book I tackled financial planning ad campaigns.  As an exercise I came up with an idea for a campaign. This 'pretend' campaign would work perfectly for U.S. Bank's Retirement Planning Center.  Summing up the exercise, an excerpt:

advbbpfrt I would want Baby Boomers watching the spots to simply say to themselves, “That’s what I need to do. And it doesn’t look frightening. Or difficult. Or mind-numbing.”

No high-concept branding silliness. No empty, aspirational gobbledygook. No scare tactics. Your financial advisor is not a loveable rock star, the Pillsbury Doughboy, or the harbinger of homelessness.

I'm not thrilled that U.S. Bank uses the word 'retirement' - but other than that they have an intriguing marketing/business model.

24 June 2008

Nuts for Boomers

tog For a moment I thought I'd spoken too soon by already announcing the winner of The Most Inane Campaign/Commercial Of The Year Award (Category: Targeting Baby Boomers). After all, we have six months to go.

But, no. The winner is still securely crowned. Although Frito-Lay's goofy TrueNorth bags o' nuts briefly rattled my confidence:

BWNuts for Boomers
By Todd Wasserman

The snack food category is known for being several things, but inspirational? Frito-Lay thinks it can be and is positioning its new nut-based, Boomer-targeted snack line, True North as "a truly inspired natural nut snack."

Clusters... (One that) provides more protein and thus fewer empty calories than carbohydrate-laden items like potato chips, fits in with Frito-Lay's health and wellness platform as well.

I guess healthy isn't good enough branding anymore. You need transcendental positioning. It has to be healthy and walk on water.

"We're defining it as a purpose in life or a calling," she said of the brand's name. "Our calling was to bring inspiration to the nut category."

What's driving me nutty is that she didn't call me for some inspiration. I meditated on it and within minutes had a bunch of positioning epiphanies. Pick your favorite slogan cum mantra (or make up your own):

Nirvana never tasted so good!

He eats them. Do you?

A Meaning of Life in every bag! Pistachios, Almonds, Clusters, Crunches, or Crisps! Collect all five! Trade with your friends!

Across the pond, Dick Stroud bemoans his lack of purpose in life because he can't partake of the passion and do extraordinary things.

Nuts To You: A Haiku

23 June 2008

Ergonomic Design: Booming Business

Here's a good piece in The Las Vegas Review Journal:

lvrjErgonomic Design: Booming Business
To help homeowners remain in their homes as they age and their mobility becomes more limited, manufacturers such as JACLO offer conveniences such as decorative grab bars.

I talked about this, had a slightly different take on it, in 2006 at the NAHB Building for Boomers 50+ Housing Symposium - and wrote an article about it around the same time:

Selling Universal Design to Baby Boomers
thematuremarkett ERGONOMICS. That’s not such a negative word to Baby Boomers. We’ve been the fodder for the ergonomic revolution. We almost feel as if we invented it. The concept resonates.

But an ‘ergonomically designed home’ sounds rather cheesy. Using the word sparingly (but using it) in any marketing/advertising collateral is a good idea.

20 June 2008

Ronni Bennett to Wall Street Journal

rbWell, she's not really going there -  but will be penning a semi-regular column from her cozy condo in Maine.

Ronni created the #1 blog for people over fifty: Time Goes By.

Last year she interviewed me.

Here's Ronni's first piece for The Wall Street Journal:

Put It in Writing
WSJBlogging often is seen as a young person's game. But I think it's a near-perfect pastime for me and others who have retired or are approaching retirement -- and our numbers in the blogosphere are growing daily.

It's all part of a major section of the WSJ: Encore.  Other writers include Kelly Greene.

Keep Ronni's contributions on your radar.