14 September 2009

Boomer Backlash I

Pretty soon (and for reasons I’ve been screaming about for years), advertising and the media will alienate its most vibrant demographic.

image Ronni Bennett runs a blog that often reflects what’s going on in the hearts and minds of many folks over fifty:

Time Goes By
The Media's Take on Elders
imageIn the five years I've been doing this blog, the amount of attention paid to elders from all media has exploded. That's because the baby boomers started turning 60 and our consumer society is ever-ready to exploit a market …

Most of this stuff reads like it has been repurposed from Seventeen or Cosmopolitan magazine. It's all about the pretense of youth, remaining a midlife adult forever, denying age and its differences from earlier years. There is more than a whiff of parental supervision in the attitude of these stories – that the writers know what is best for elders (not that they would go near that word), and how we should live, which is mostly just like 35-year-olds …

One of the many reader comments:

I love being in my late 50's! I'm not crazy about some of the physical stuff, but I'm relishing the enjoyment of being me. I can't imagine trading places with my 25 year old daughter; you couldn't pay me to do that again.

imageIt won’t be long before Boomers wise up, figuring out what they’re supposed to figure out because they’re wiser than they think they are:

Older Brain May Really Be a Wiser Brain

And they’re smarter than you think.

And generally better.

There’s a Part II coming up.  I hope there won’t be a Part III.

Update: Boomer Backlash II

09 September 2009

New frugality is the new normal

If you’re alive you probably know this already:

New Frugality Is the New Normal, By Necessity
image A year after "shop 'til you drop" stopped, the nation fixates on this question: Will consumer spending ever return to pre-recession levels? …


Until the Great Recession, the worst recession since World War II was in 1981-82. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent in December 1982, a month after the recession had ended.

The recovery that followed was powered by baby boomers …

The housing bubble mistakenly led boomers and millions of others to believe their home was their retirement nest egg. If they left their home equity alone during the boom, they've taken a hit the last couple years but are still ahead. But many treated their home like a personal bank and spent the gains by tapping a home equity line of credit.

Some now feel disgusted with the great national buying binge and are reacting against it …

So what should companies and advertising/marketing agencies do?  I wrote about this ten months ago:

Baby Boomers & The Economic Collapse
What do you buy? Almost everything.  Clothes, appliances, computers, toothpaste.  The list is endless.  Regular, ol’ stuff.  Stuff almost exclusively marketed to twentysomethings with ad campaigns that don’t resonate with middle-aged consumers …

So sell them clothes, appliances, computers, toothpaste.  This way you’ll beat the competition.

Just make sure you have the right guts around to trust.


2008: A Review
(20 min)


For a UK perspective, Dick Stroud’s recent presentation (click the graphic):


07 September 2009

WhatsNext.com: You Need More Than A Resume

imageThere have been plenty of posts about Baby Boomers and HR on this blog. The subject gets more press than I can keep up with.

A few hi-profile Boomers are nailing it. Most who are looking for jobs haven’t been so fortunate.  There are reasons.  And those same reasons, along with ignoring their implications, will choke the growth of the economy.

A new website is doing its best to nudge recovery by focusing on pragmatic employment and entrepreneurial issues:

imageThe mission of WhatsNext.com is to provide information, inspiration and resources for men and women who want to change careers, find more fulfilling work or improve their work-life balance. All are welcome, but there will be an emphasis on those who are in mid-career or approaching retirement.

Examiner.com’s Andy Bragg does a good job exploring the development of WhatsNext.com:

What's Next is what was next for publishing executive Jeremy Koch
image It was 2003 and since joining Time Inc. as a newly minted MBA in 1980 Koch had risen through Consumer Marketing for the largest magazine publisher: analyst on Life and Time, Circulation Director of Fortune, Deputy Time Consumer Marketing Director, VP Consumer Marketing and Brand Development of People and finally President of Time Consumer Marketing.

Also with impressive credentials: Mark Gleason and Mark Miller.

So if it’s Labor Day and you’re not celebrating quite like you used to – check out WhatsNext.com.

More from Dick Stroud.

04 September 2009

Savvy sleep that knits the ravelled sleeve of care.

Pat Frank[3] I chatted with freelance writer Patricia Frank awhile back about sleep products and Baby Boomers.  A revamped article for Bed Times Magazine is now in Sleep Savvy Magazine.

image Sleep Savvy, the magazine for sleep products professionals, is distributed eight times a year to more than 24,500 retailers at furniture stores, sleep shops, and department stores across the U.S. and Canada.

Flip through the digital edition:

The article with way too many quotes from yours truly begins on page 36.

Also tucking in the corners:

Dr. Carol Orsborn of Vibrant Nation

mtMatt Thornhill of
The Boomer Project



David Weigelt of Immersion Active


David Baxter of Age Wave

02 September 2009

Don’t blink or you’ll miss them.

image Okay, I admit it.  I watched Mad Men last night.  On On Demand.  A guilty pleasure, although this particular episode was a bit slow and soapy

And like a good Mad Man, I didn’t fast-forward through the commercials.  Two gave me the heebie-jeebies. 

Backstory on the first one: There have been scores of news articles and studies recently about entrepreneurs, small business, and Baby Boomers: 

imageBoomers go venturing
By Hanah Cho
• Over the past decade, Americans between 55- and 64-years-old had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity.

The lowest rate belongs to the 20-34 age group.

• From 1996 to 2007, the 55-64 group averaged an entrepreneurial activity rate roughly one-third larger than their youngest counterparts.

Entrepreneurship: The New Mid-Life Crisis
image So what does this mean for the U.S. economy? Should we expect a decline in productivity if those at the helm of the workforce aren’t as spry as they once were? Not at all, says Dane Stangler, the researcher who put together the study. He says the popular myth of boomers being a burden on the U.S. economy is completely unfounded.

And I’ve been talking about these subjects for years.  Peek at the introduction to my book:

Venture capitalists take heed: the largest demographic of entrepreneurs is over forty, the largest consumer demographic the same.

I’m not sure American Express knows any of this.  Here’s the first spot I saw – and other than a late fortyish Boomer in the beginning and end, small business looks like a young person’s game:

Even a promotional video for their Open Forum site barely gives a nod to Boomers (except for Richard Branson, whose image zips by without comment):

The second spot was for Expedia.com.  I can’t find it on the web.  There were two Baby Boomers in it.  I think.  Like Richard Branson, they flew by so fast it seemed as if Expedia was embarrassed about showing them at all.   

If you have access to On Demand or something like it, and Mad Men is listed, you can probably catch the Expedia.com spot - and the two Baby Boomers sitting at a table.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss them.