22 March 2009

The Ad Contrarian

Thanks to Christopher Simpson’s outrageous Ad Nauseam blog, I took a long peek at a PDF that had me laughing and nodding:

acThe Ad Contrarian (book)
by Bob Hoffman
…. Today’s marketers seem obsessed with the irrelevant. They have convinced themselves that the Internet is a strategy; that pathetic, desperate stunts are a shortcut to brand building; that advertising is a dying practice …

A few quotes from Bob’s book and my book (so you know why I like his so much)

Bob’s book:

bh … I read an article by the creative director of a large international ad agency. He said his advertising is not intended to sell products. The objective is to “build brands.”

There was something alarming about this statement, but I’d heard it expressed so many times before that I’d begun to take it for granted that I was crazy and everybody else was right …

Chuck’s book:

I’ll be branded as a whistle-blower, a troublemaker, but all branding is today is advertising. It’s the new word for advertising, and not a very good one. Due to fractured, varied target markets, and the scores of new ways to reach consumers, branding has become the easiest way of dealing with all the variables. It’s a dumbed-down version of advertising. You could call it instant advertising—something that has no lasting value to the consumer, or to the advertiser. It’s a quick fix. In show biz parlance, the hydra-headed branding monster has no legs …

I’m guessing that the branding circus is about over. It will return, for advertising techniques are as cyclical as most everything in life seems to be. Print copywriting was once King, the radio commercial was once King, the television commercial was once King. Now, the brightly colored, crackles-and-explodes-in-your-mouth, rather tasteless and nutritiously deficient branding message is King.

But not for much longer.

Bob’s book:

… We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them
to love our brand by convincing them to try our product.

Chuck’s book (more prophetic than Chuck knew at the time):


Bob’s book:

Of all the dumb things that advertisers do, perhaps dumbest of all is aiming their message
too young.

advbbpfrt Chuck’s book:

…. That is my book.

Mr. Hoffman also has an outrageous blog – with some great quotes if you scroll a bit and bear right:

The Ad Contrarian (blog)
"Brand studies last for months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally have less impact on business than cleaning the drapes."

20 March 2009

International Online Seminar Coming Soon

Henry Stewart Talks is about to release this online seminar:

HSTLatest Thinking in Marketing to the Older Consumer
For all those wishing to gain an understanding of the 50-plus market and to engage with this large and diverse group as consumers, including brand owners, marketers and brand managers, media planners and buyers, advertising agencies, media companies and academics and students of marketing.

A screen grab:


More when it’s released.

18 March 2009


If you’re here you’d better pay attention to what’s happening over there:

InTwoFocus is Europe's first Web video marketing agency specialising in the 50-plus market 
dickDick Stroud, the 50-plus marketing expert and Gerald geraldWortman, the acclaimed photographer and video producer, have  come together to form InTwoFocus - a Web video agency that creates video content that transforms the way its clients communicate with older consumers.

aef While I didn’t predict that they’d be such a phenomenon on the web, in the original edition of my book I penned a chapter about long-form commercials (or documercials) as the perfect vehicle for reaching Baby Boomers.

I also interviewed Dick and fashioned our chat into another chapter.  Both chapters are available on The Advertising Educational Foundation web site

Download the PDF.

itfDoes anybody here smell a business opportunity? 

Probably not. Most advertising agencies on this side of the pond have stuffed-up noses.

12 March 2009

Who’s gonna buy this car?

davidfoot David Foot of Boom, Bust & Echo fame has a piece in Canada’s Globe & Mail:

Who's gonna buy this car?
If we rescue the auto industry, it must
be able to build vehicles for an aging population
globeandmail … Boomers will need different vehicles. Many already have difficulty getting into low-slung cars, and they increasingly need bigger dashboard dials. The Japanese companies have a head start in understanding these trends. It will be necessary for North American auto companies to get up to speed rapidly if they are to compete effectively. And quality will be important. Younger buyers are more willing to trade quality for a better price. This trade-off is proving increasingly difficult when customers are older.

adshow I’ve blabbered about this for years.  In 2005 on The Advertising Show yours truly had a spirited discussion with hosts Brad Forsythe and Ray Schilens.  A chunky segment was about marketing autos to Boomers.  The complete show is here:

Author/Copywriter Champions Advertising to Baby Boomers

Click here.  It should start playing.

And I’ve tossed up a bunch of posts over the years on this subject:

Element Coming Boom in Boomer-Friendly Transport
My point three years ago was that Baby Boomers were buying up those mid-priced boxy cars (even though they were being marketed to college kids and twenty-somethings) because they were easy to get in and out of, easy to see out of, and some had large dashboards that were easy to read. So why not build cars with these and more features for older drivers?

Along with ‘green’ – the auto industry had better retool with an eye on the 50+ market. 

Maybe both eyes.

11 March 2009

Another déjà vu …

Aside from the obvious reasons (anybody wanna buy a CDO?), it’s been a strange year so far. 

For me, the strangest episodes are happening while reading news articles about Baby Boomers and realizing that I’ve read versions of them all before – in my book and blog. 

sooth And they’ve given me excuses to have tongue-in-cheek fun with my alter-ego NostraChuckus.  But recently it’s been spooky.  I’m starting to believe my own goofy hype – hype I made up myself.  (Or maybe I’m still having tongue-in-cheek fun ...)

Another déjà vu:

ct This is not your father's old folks home
Boomers' active lifestyles redefining 55-plus housing
By John Handley
… "Over-55" housing has changed. Choices have expanded. Starting in the 1960s, the traditional model was the large, age-restricted Sun Belt communities. Now Sun City-style developments are being built in the Snow Belt.

From my book:

Give Boomers Room for Choices
Aging in Place 
I’ve heard this term defined a few ways. The simplest definition: people staying put in their condos or houses for the rest of their lives. Others refer to “aging in place” as remodeling current residences with Universal Design as the blueprint. Still others use the term to describe Baby Boomers moving into condos or active adult communities not far from where they are now—so they can still be near work, family, and friends.

… As Baby Boomers retire, they will put their special stamp on retirement … maybe with large multi-generational communities. 

ATBBpaper There’s more, but I’m too lazy to cherry-pick. Here’s the chapter (PDF):

Chapter 4:
Give Boomers Room for Choices

Small World: I referenced a 2004 Chicago Tribune article by John Handley in my book.