08 March 2011

They watch your shows anyway.

imageNot too long ago I pitched a television series.  Hadn’t done that since 1974.

I put together a proposal, emailed it, and ended up chatting on the phone with the program director for a major cable network.

The show (obviously) targets Baby Boomers.  It’s about universal design, aging in place – and not aging in place.  Sort of a cross between House Hunters and all those home renovation shows. 

imageI didn’t get too far.  Almost immediately, the gentleman said, “There is no way I could sell this to an advertising agency.  They’re all twentysomethings – and have already told me, ‘Why target people over fifty?  They watch your shows anyway.’”

I was taken aback, but not surprised.  It amused me to hear someone practically quote from my 2005 book:


Since the chat, there have been news stories every which way that pretty much describe the series I pitched:

imageAttractive products for aging boomers
Universal design turns toward high design (Chicago Tribune)

GE's Marc Hottenroth Is Building a Home Made for Baby Boomers (Fast Company)

Remodeling Now to Avoid Accessibility Problems Later (New York Times)

Cities introducing age-friendly innovations (AARP Global Network)

Add to the above this brand-new (but nothing new) article in The Wall Street Journal – and you have the Introduction and 1st Chapter of my book:

advbbcoverIntroduction: The Geritol Syndrome (PDF)

Chapter One: Why Companies and Ad Agencies Need Baby Boomers (PDF)

07 March 2011

How do we get them there?

Just a friendly reminder:

imageIn-Banner Video Sees Slip in View-to-Completion Rates
Among fully viewed ads, completion rates were down 9.5 percentage points, or 19.9% lower than 2008–2009. This data includes various ad formats, such as expandable and floating units.

… As video becomes a more common element of the online experience, viewers are likely becoming more desensitized to the presence of video ads.

Pair this with a piece from January:

imageReport: Facebook Ad Performance Is Abysmal
-Mike Shields
Average click-through rate was 0.051 percent in 2010 … The worst performing ad category on Facebook, per Webtrends, was healthcare, which generated 0.011 percent click-through rates and an average cost-per-click of $1.27.

I’m supposed to talk to an agency soon.  It’ll be about a financial services web site. I’ll probably say, “OK, we can talk about content all you want.  But the real question is this: How do we get them there? You can produce the greatest web site in the ethereal universe – but if no one comes …”

For the umpteenth time:

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.

The Most Effective Marketing/Advertising Model For Reaching Baby Boomers: What is now called (silly retronym ahead) traditional advertising pushing you to an age-friendly, informative product/services web site.

28 February 2011

If you want to be confused, surf the web.

Sometimes I yearn for the olden days, when life was simple.  A morning newspaper, an evening newspaper.  Some radio stations.  A handful of news magazines.  Three TV networks – and if you wanted to watch the evening news you could only watch one because they were all on at the same time. 

Nowadays anybody can write, edit, and publish news.  You can consume as much as you want whenever you want.  However, this can get confusing.  I’ve decided that the easiest way to process all the noise is to believe it all.

imageIf I can hear it.  Apparently, I hear lots of it:

Say what?
Overall, the baby boomers had 31% less hearing loss than their parents.

I knew Mom & Dad weren’t playing those Benny Goodman records loud enough.

And not much of it:

Rock music takes toll on boomer hearing
Richard Salvi, director of the University at Buffalo Center for Hearing and Deafness, says many baby boomers have already lost much of their hearing and developed tinnitus -- ringing in the ear -- due to many years of listening to loud rock music.  

As far as life in general, it’s going to be horrible:

Uh-oh. We’re in trouble…
imageYou haven’t experienced cognitive dissonance until you receive a brochure encouraging you to spend thousands of dollars a year for long-term care insurance as you prepare to “defy” old age.

It Gets Worse
By Ted C. Fishman
Jacoby sees a new ageism that doesn’t just stigmatize old people for their years, but blames them for physical ills that no lifestyle adjustments or medicine can yet forestall.

And wonderful:

Boomers should avoid ageism in themselves
imageDr. Robert S. Stall, a University at Buffalo clinical assistant professor in medicine and a specialist in geriatrics, says baby boomers should avoid self-prejudice … Aging boomers have a lot to expect in terms of health and well-being, Stall says.

I’ll leave you with some other studies that will confuse you even more – or not, if you believe everything as I do:

We’re all miserably happy, or …

Update 3/3/11: Interview with Susan Jacoby in AARP Bulletin

23 February 2011

The New Business of Old Age

The NYT New Old Age blog has been around for awhile.  A few weeks ago there was this:

imageThe New Business of Old Age
Devices for I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up catastrophes, they say, represent the old business of old age. The new business of old age involves technologies and services that promote wellness, mobility, autonomy and social connectivity.

‘I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up’ scenarios are something I’ve been screaming about for years.  From my book (2005):

And a post from last year:

Boomer helps older adults bridge technology gap

Great to see Dr. Joseph Coughlin and MIT AgeLab get lots of press.  I’ve blogged them many times.  A few:

imageNew Campaigns

Two Experts, One Superb Article, One Superb Presentation

Tech & Baby Boomers: Universal Design vs. Universally Dull

Back to the NYT blog:

And if such innovations prove to promote health and independence, delaying entry into long-term care, the potential savings to the health care system could be even greater.

That’s all fine and dandy, but there are pitfalls when advertising these products – and they involve all advertisers and marketers for all products and services:

imageThe Backlash: If 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.

17 February 2011

Green Boomers Redux

A few posts ago:

GrandBoomers in Toyland
A few of these Green toy companies might get the smarts – and market their products directly to Baby Boomer grandparents.

Or will they get the smarts?

Now take a look at a piece highlighting Green-leaning generational trends:

We Are All Green Consumers
Jacquelyn A. Ottman
imageToday, the National Marketing Institute says that 83% of consumers representing four generations — Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen Ys and Gen Zs – are some shade of green …

imageNow the heads of millions of U.S. households, the Baby Boomers have been influencing society since the 1960s when they planted the seeds of the modern day green movement when as idealistic youths, gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day, in 1970, followed by the first Solar Day in 1971. Their peaceful demonstrations of concern gave rise to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the founding of the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, the Clean Air and the Clean Water Acts that same year, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

It really won’t be too big a job convincing most Baby Boomers to think green – or at the very least consider green/greener products. And I’ll admit that my cupboard isn’t as green as it might be. 

We need to nudge, and be nudged.