10 November 2010

Future Family: Life In the Digital Age

Interesting show coming up on The Discovery Channel:

imageFuture Family: Life In the Digital Age This … program explores how baby boomers – the 78 million Americans born in the wake of World War II are embracing technology to better manage increased work and home responsibilities.

Sounds suspiciously like my book ©2005/2007.  Excerpts:

advbbcover… 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.)

… It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.

… The computer/internet ethos for most Baby Boomers is that they pick and choose what technology they want to use, buy, or install. Some are all over Skype, video and music uploading and downloading, research, education, travel planning, shopping—while eschewing blogging, communities, and web page design. Or it’s the other way around. Or variations thereof. When it comes to new technology, most Baby Boomers learn only about what interests them, what they believe will be useful. They don’t feel the need to know everything there is to know about technology, computers, and the web.

NostraChuckus strikes again.

08 November 2010

Goodbye, Fancy-Schmancy Web Sites

A colleague tipped me off to this piece:

imageThe Undesigned Web
by Dylan Tweney
… It's that separability of design and text that has led to the third wave of the web, in which readers (or what some would call end-users) are in control of how the content they are reading looks. And, as it turns out, many of those readers like their designs to be as minimal as possible.

I’ve been talking about flash-addled web sites for years, and recently in my Nissan Leaf posts

And six months ago:

    My advertising/marketing predictions and not-technical-because-I’m-not-a-tech-guy recommendations:

    1. The visual power of the web will fade as more people use handheld devices.  Goodbye, fancy-schmancy web sites. People will get bored sifting through it all when they can find what they need with their smartphones.
    2. image How this will play out, I don’t know – but the ‘web’ needs to be rethought.  Accessing a page on a desktop or laptop is not the same as accessing it on a smartphone.  There will have to be two separate ‘webs’ for large screens, small screens. People will get very tired very fast clumsily negotiating bulky pages on handheld devices. Usability cannot be ignored.  Laptops and Desktops will only be utilized for deep research or visual treats.

Not everybody agrees, sort of.  Actually, it looks like they do agree, sort of:

Is "Undesigned" the Next Great Web Trend? Fat Chance
imageOnline, content is a tool. We use it. It's not passive and neither are we. And if its design hinders that use, we get irritable. That's why good Web design often has more in common with the invisible soft-science of industrial design than the in-your-face, "art directed" aestheticism that many of us associate it with.

kissing_e01I remember when hyperlinks and animated GIFs were eye-popping, cutting-edge marvels.  Before long video, music, and games were everywhere. That ended up as lots of fun.

But technological marvels come and go.  Human nature persists. The importance of being connected, communicating, and seeking out information has been around since the beginning of civilization. 

How will this shake out with advertising and marketing?  My take:

imageThat silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities.  Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.

03 November 2010

The Newest No News News

I’m one of the few bloggers to take pride in bringing you no news news.  I’ve been offering my readers no news news for years.

The Newest No News News:

NBC Universal says older consumers are a big deal 
By Jon Lafayette 11/2/2010
imageLike most other television networks, NBC Universal aims for younger viewers because advertisers and media buyers pay for viewers in the 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 demographic group. But Alan Wurtzel, president of NBCU Research, says marketers and buyers may be laboring under misconceptions about older consumers.

Sounds vaguely familiar.  A post from 2005:

Where's the TV for us?
imageBrad Adgate of Horizon Media and Alan Wurtzel, president of research for NBC Universal, do a good job exposing the silliness of television advertisers (and advertising agencies) targeting only the 19-49 demographic …

That was five years ago.  Now they talk about alpha-boomers or leading-edge boomers:

That group of 55 to 64 year olds are the fastest growing segment of the population and are quickly aging out of the tradition 25-54 demo, making them invisible to ad buyers. Wurtzel says these days, Alpha Boomers are very active consumers who have a lot of buying power, respond to advertising, are tech savvy as younger consumers.

Hmmm. Tech savvy.  That sounds vaguely familiar.  From a post in 2005:

My Favorite Cyber-Myth
How I snicker and roll my eyes whenever I read about Baby Boomers fumbling around on computers, scratching their heads, totally flummoxed. Sure, there is a percentage of any age group that's technologically challenged - but Boomers as a whole have embraced the internet and aren't afraid to plunge into the ether brain first.

Pull quote on the cover of Advertising to Baby Boomers ©2005:

coveradvbb“It will be the Baby Boomers who will be the first to pick and choose, to ignore or be seduced by leading-edge technology marketing. There’s a simple reason for this. We have the money to buy this stuff. Experts say we’ll continue to have the money for at least the next twenty years. Write us off at your own peril.

Culled from Advertising to Baby Boomers (Page 161):


I can’t list all the posts (you don’t want me to, trust me) that talk about tech-savvy Baby Boomers.  Just one more:

Snake Oil In Cyberspace
A recent report from Forrester Research indicates that while it might be tempting to categorize all aging Americans as techno-dinosaurs and Luddites …

Back to the B&C piece & Baby Boomers & Television:

These Alpha Boomers are "an important media and marketing target we can't afford to ignore," Wurtzel said …

Sounds Vaguely Familiar Redux:

Boomers: The Overlooked Media Sweet Spot

Forgotten Consumers

Study: TV's youth obsession backfiring

The steady glow of the Boom tube

Television programmers take note of the Silver Tsunami

Calcified Advertising Agencies

The Media & Baby Boomers: Joined At The Hip

Bookmark my blog for the latest No News News.

01 November 2010

2010 Election Eve: PunditWire.com

I’m sick of the political ads this year, disgusted with the individuals, organizations, and agencies that produced them.  Good riddance.

I voted (by mail), and hope that there will be a big turnout – but if 2012 vomits up anything like what we’ve been doused with this year, maybe some secret organization should fund a national ‘stay home and don’t vote’ campaign.  If nobody voted because the ad campaigns were pathetic and offensive– that might be a good thing.  (Yes, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek … maybe.)

I’m told that government loves to waste money.  You could make a case in some instances.  However, I don’t have to be told that business hates to waste money (unless they can write it off). Imagine if there were no ROI for political spots. Goodbye, mindless and negative ads. 

imageThe history of political campaign advertising isn’t a pretty one – but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.  Everybody seems to ‘want change’ – so let’s change. One way might be to hire more professional speechwriters, and less low-level copywriters.  Some speechwriters are smarmy – but as a rule speechwriters know how to sculpt messages that truly reflect the policies and beliefs of candidates, can clearly explain the intent of  ballot propositions/initiatives. 

There will always be attack ads, but let them be on the fringes (and by fringe groups). 

imageThere’s a new website populated by speechwriters: PunditWire.com.  The contributors are all over the place politically – but not ethically.  A civilized center keeps bombast and negativity in check.

However … don’t think these folks simply play patty-cakes.  Spirited discussions ricochet every which way on every page.  You won’t be bored – or outraged.

Political advertising could learn some lessons from Pundit Wire

27 October 2010

Nissan Leaf & Baby Boomers (Part II)

The first post about the Nissan Leaf discussed the web site.  I neglected to mention the miniscule, mealy fonts and poor choices for color palette and contrasts. Read this.

Here’s a nifty computer fly-though I think is on the Leaf site (although please don’t ask me to find it again – instead, I’ll just toss it up from YouTube):


What I like: The dashboard appears to be large and readable. 

Some past posts about marketing/advertising automobiles to Boomers:

Car Spots Driving in the Wrong Direction (2006)

Coming Boom in Boomer-Friendly Transport (2008)
imageMy 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? And market them as such?

Who’s gonna buy this car? (2009)

What Next From The Crystal Ball of Common Sense? (2009)

If you’re offering a car to the 50+ demo, physical comfort and ease of use had better be front and center in all marketing material. 

Somewhere tucked away in the Leaf web site (don’t make me look for it – that’ll take hours):

  • 6-way manual adjustable driver’s seat
  • 4-way manual adjustable front-passenger’s seat

Great. But let’s see it somewhere where we can see it. 

And how about a video showing how easy it is getting in and out of the car, the large windshield, big mirrors, etc.

This worries me – from a piece on the Forbes website:

… The much-desired feeling of automotive superiority will have to come from the zero-emission badge, not a horsepower rating or superior creature comforts.

Not surprisingly, an independent source has made the best video about the Nissan Leaf:

A review by CNet’s Brian Cooley

This one’s just as good:

Brian Cooley & Nissan Leaf

My point: A couple of video reviews and a trip to Wikipedia offer more information and ‘reason why’ then the Nissan Leaf’s flashy, convoluted official web site.

Not good.