13 June 2010

So what’s a Baby Boomer? Redux

I first blogged about this in 2006 (the embedded links have vanished):

So What's A Baby Boomer?
The "baby boom" actually began in 1943 when birth rates began to rise, dipping slightly in 1944 and 1945. I like to include people born a few years before that when I talk about Baby Boomers.

Obviously, I’m not anal about it.  But because marketing research is such a huge industry and detailed studies cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars, I wonder why so many people involved in slicing and dicing demos are so often confused:

Alpha Daughters Help Unravel the Complexity of the Ageing Baby Boomer Market
Over 12% of the US population are aged 65 or over and in the EU and US combined there are over 100 million people in this rapidly growing demographic group. Many of these consumers are the greying baby boomers …

Not yet.  Technically there aren’t any Baby Boomers over sixty-five.  The oldest ones are turning sixty-four this year – and that’s just the oldest ones born in 1946.  It’ll take another nineteen years for all Boomers to be over sixty-five.

Whatever ‘alpha daughters’ are, most are Baby Boomers.  They’re actually alpha-grandparents/daughters – meaning, they are caretaking their parents who are in their late seventies, eighties, and beyond – along with being grandparents – and (obviously) parents of adults.  A good book about it:

image The Daughter Trap
Researcher Kennedy conducted 60 minute depth phone interviews across the U.S. with a nationally-representative sample of 216 working women born between 1946-1964, who reported having primary caregiving responsibility for one or more aging parents or in-laws.

Baby Boomers who will need caregiving won’t need it for another fifteen to thirty years.

Female baby boomers get online, not in line, for beauty
In the Mintel “Beauty Retailing” study, 1-in-10 of the 1,020 female respondents—all ages 18 years or older—reported using some type of online retailer to purchase cosmetics and skin care aids, and as the female population ages, the female boomer population is expected to increase by 30.9% from 2005 to 2015.

image The female boomer population is expected to increase by 30.9% …

That would be quite a magic trick.  I don’t think Professor Dumbledore could even do it.

09 June 2010

Cleaning Out Those Dusty Ethereal Drawers

It’s amazing what you find when you’re on a cleaning binge. 
I’ve moved. Not this blog, my business site:
Bunches of pages were virtually shredded, the (very simple) design tweaked, and now I have a new home. Not much different than my old one. I like it.
Should I have left this on the landing page?
Tossed. It’s vapid and annoying.  But not long or pointless.
There’s an in the news section.  I stumbled down memory lane.  As you might expect, there were some laughs, some gasps, some queasiness, some shocks, some I-told-you-so’s.  A few nooks were empty. I guess news sites likewise do spring cleaning.
I’d been interviewed bunches of times about Baby Boomers, but this was the first news story about advertising and Boomers:
Don't call them old (2003)
By Jean Starr "Not wanting to get/be/look older isn't anything new. However, baby boomers will do it a bit differently," he said. "Looking and being healthy will be more important than toupees and botox. While botox and the like are getting a lot of press, I'm guessing only a small percentage of people are using stuff like that. Being able to ride a bike, play tennis and garden will be more important than looking good and feeling (bad)."
My local newspaper ‘covered’ me:
Ads today often skip over baby boomers
By Julie Muhlstein (2005)
image Chuck Nyren is feeling abandoned. It's not about friends or loved ones. He thinks he's being ignored by advertising.
c_nyren "What's happening now, advertising agencies are pretty much run by kids in their 20s and early 30s," said Nyren, an ad industry consultant who lives in Snohomish.
So much has changed since then.  Like, my hairline.
Ads target empty nests, full wallets (2005)
by Bob Moos image "Yes, I have my favorite toothpaste. But other than that, I'm wide open for suggestions," said Chuck Nyren, 55, the author of Advertising to Baby Boomers. "Why do ad execs believe boomers don't switch brands?"
Mr. Nyren said advertising agencies often ignore or misread boomers' preferences because most of their creative people are too young to understand that generation. "The agencies better hire more boomers if they want to reach them," he said.
So much has changed since then.  But not my toothpaste.
imageActive lives defy aging (2006)
By Bill Glauber image
"There will have to be a revolution in the advertising world," says Chuck Nyren, author of Advertising to Baby Boomers. "Baby boomers do not want to be twenty again, or thirty again," Nyren writes. "They want to feel as good as they possibly can for imagethe ages they are. They do not want to be marketed and advertised to as if they were young adults or thirty-somethings."
Don’t tell these people.

A Booming Opportunity (2006)
image By Renee M. Covino
"In England, they've done a lot of studies about 'wrap rage,' and it goes much deeper than not being able to open a bottle of medicine, for instance. It's anything, any consumer goods packaging that people have trouble opening, and as Baby Boomers are starting to age, they are very sensitive to this," says Chuck Nyren, who just happens to be another Baby Boomer and also creative strategist and consultant, as well as author of "Advertising to Baby Boomers." According to him, "bad packaging can make Baby Boomers feel incompetent; as marketers, you don't want to remind this group of people that they don't have the physical skills they had when they were younger."
Of course, the above has nothing to do with me. I can rip open any dumb, stupid candy wrapper with my bare hands .... as long as one of my bare hands is holding a pair of pliers.
Boomers: A Web-Marketing Bonanza (2006)
imageBy Olga Kharif
But many sites are still struggling with their identities and have not yet hit their stride, says boomer advertising consultant Chuck Nyron, author of Advertising for Baby Boomers  (Paramount Market Publishing, 2005) "Every site has happy, smiling faces of baby boomers and says: 'We want to inspire you'," he explains.
My name is misspelled.
imageTrying to catch the wave (2006)
By Bill King
image He’s proud that an industry once monopolized by white males opened itself to women and other races and ethnicities under the watch of the boomers. But there was one way in which his generation of marketers threw up a wall.

“Our blind spot was age,” Nyren said. “We were the ones who started only marketing to ourselves. We created the demo. We taught people how to market to it. And now, we’re paying the price, because the agencies have all been brainwashed into thinking that to be worth anything [to marketers], you have to be young.”
Don’t trust anyone over thirty. Unless they’re over fifty.
'Elderbloggers' Shy Away From Money Talk (2008)
By Candice Novak
image "Most older people hit that Google button, and in some ways it confuses them more than it enlightens them," Seattle marketing expert and blogger Chuck Nyren, 57, says, "because there's so much crap you have to wade through to get something that is truthful or helpful."
I was talking more about this – not Google Search.
Baby boomers become the forgotten consumer (2008)
image By Jennifer Mann, McClatchy Newspapers
Nyren said he often hears from marketers that advertising isn't effective on those 50-plus consumers, that it's a waste of time and money.
No, he said, they're just not doing it correctly.
"Speaking to the 50-plus, it has to be different in terms of writing and graphics and presentation," Nyren said. "A 20-something is an easier sell - you have to work harder, work smarter to get that 50-plus customer, but the return on investment, if you do it right, can be tremendous."
So do it right.
Adult underwear no longer being given the silent treatment
By Bob Moos (2009)
image Chuck Nyren, a Seattle advertising consultant and author of Advertising to Baby Boomers, says the TV spots are carefully crafted to appeal to boomers who, if they don't use Depends themselves, may be caregivers for parents who do.

"Morris got the right people and took the right approach," he said. "Now, if only other advertisers would hire boomers to pitch refrigerators, soap and other products."
No kidding.
Businesses Fighting For Baby Boomer Dollars (2009)
By Mary Motzko image Aside from age issues, Nyren added that there are many different personality types included in the baby boomer generation, from former hippies to conservatives. "Evoking the '60s, it's not the smartest thing to do."
No kidding.
image Others have vanished into the unity, take advantage of my linguistic illiteracy, are hidden behind virtual curtains.
But you can still hear me being drowned out by Led Zeppelin.

07 June 2010

The world might become a better place.

I bookmarked this piece a few weeks ago. It keeps pulling at me. While there’s not much new, it has that ‘sums up everything’ quality:

As longevity grows, the world might become a better place
The Washington Post
By Fred Pearce
image The longevity revolution affects every country, every community and almost every household. It promises to restructure the economy, reshape the family, redefine politics and even rearrange the geopolitical order over the coming century.

I try to stay on topic with this blog.  So I’ll simply say: The international advertising industry had better pay attention to this article.

Posts/links from the past:

image We have seen the future, and it is old and cool and wise.

People generally get better.

Old Masters and Young Geniuses

What Kind of Genius Are You?

Baby boomers are smarter than you think

Fred Pearce also talks about the origins of retirement:

The idea of a retirement age was invented by Otto von Bismarck in the 1880s, when as chancellor of Germany he needed a starting age for paying war pensions. He chose the age of 65 because that was typically when ex-soldiers died … In the future, people will probably be expected to stay in the formal economy longer.

Some worry that an older workforce will be less innovative and adaptable, but there is evidence that companies with a decent proportion of older workers are more productive than those addicted to youth.

More posts and links:

Call for ban on use of the word 'retirement'

Diversity = Productivity

Trust Your Gut

Calcified Advertising Agencies

Rance Crain Makes Perfect Sense Yet Again

image Why We Need Aging Workers

Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains

A quote from my book (2005, 2007):

NyrenPB Contrary to popular myth, Baby Boomers do not believe that they are still teenagers or young adults. (Some probably do, but they need therapy.) Boomers are slyly redefining what it means to be the ages they are. Included in this new definition are some youthful attitudes - but the real change is that instead of winding down, many are winding up. We're not 'looking forward to retirement,' we're looking forward to new lives, new challenges. Only a small percentage will opt for pure retirement. (I predict that in twenty years the word 'retirement' will still be in dictionaries, but followed by the modifier archaic.)

04 June 2010

More No News News

But it’s nice to see people blogging about it:

Baby Boomers: Consumers Ready To Buy
image A look at the American advertising landscape shows that Boomers are virtually ignored. A review of numerous commercials finds that, excluding financial firms and pharmaceuticals/OTC products, most companies are doing little in the way of courting Boomers. Older faces are virtually non-existent in commercials and on websites for products and services used by Boomers …

Gee, that’s my book, my blog, my articles, my speaking/consulting since 2003 – in a nutshell. 

I’d link to every blog post about it all – but that would be every blog post. So, just one (although the links to the commercials are gone):

Boomer Backlash II
imageIf every time someone over fifty sees a commercial targeting them and it’s always for an age-related product or service, pretty soon their eyes will glaze over, they’ll get itchy and grumpy.

 The Real Issue: Marketing and advertising folks grasping the fact that Boomers will be buying billions (trillions?) of dollars worth of non-age related products for the next twenty-odd years. If you target this group for toothpaste, computers, clothes, food, nail polish, sporting equipment, toenail clippers - anything at all (almost), and you do it with respect and finesse, they will appreciate and consider your product.   

A quote from my book (1st Edition published in 2005):

advbbcover It’s going to be up to companies to be proactive when dealing with advertising agencies. Quality control of your product doesn’t stop at the entrances of Madison Avenue’s finest, or at the doors of small local or regional advertising agencies. If companies put pressure on agencies, and demand 45-plus creatives for products aimed at the 45-plus market, then they will find out that Baby Boomers are still “the single most vibrant and exciting consumer group in the world.”

02 June 2010

Baby Boomers as iPhone window … I mean, screen dressing.

A couple of friends in the 50-Plus marketing biz have been talking about an iPhone spot and its age-neutral emphasis.  I’m not sure I see what they see:

I saw this ad a few months ago, liked it, but said to myself, “Did they ever miss the mark. It should have been done from the grandmother’s point of view.”

The spot is part of a major campaign. All the principals are twenty-somethings. In this version it’s a young mother. Baby Boomers and older are simply window … I mean, screen dressing. Marginalized, as usual – especially when it’s a tech-driven product or service.  Remember this commercial from 2005?

I admired the iPhone spot for all the obvious reasons – well done, simple, focuses on the product capabilities – and because I see this scenario played out first-hand. Of course, I’m on the other end looking over shoulders - it's the new grandmother receiving videos of her very young grandchildren. Words can’t describe …

imageYou could categorize this spot as age neutral - but as I’ve said, I wondered why they didn't reverse the scenario - a Baby Boomer grandmother receiving the video and forwarding it every which way (including to her mother). That's what really happens. Of course, a young mom will get excited when her baby starts walking, but it’s the grandmother who goes crazy and sends the video to everybody on her contacts list

This would also reinforce the fact that she can do it - which would be the point if you're trying to reach an older demo with primary or secondary age-neutral targeting. 

I guess wrinkly fingers holding this new, shiny gizmo might upset iPhone’s intended target market: twenty and thirty-somethings. 

Here's a spot I love, it’s packed with the emotional wallop I’m talking about, and they do it with humor. From New Zealand: