22 June 2011

Ford Motor Company: Sounds Familiar, Again & Again


Famed Soothsayer and Advertising Gadfly NostraChuckus has been startling the world for years with his mundane prognostications

Six years ago, in his book and as a guest on a radio show, he looked into his Crystal Ball Of Common Sense and divined the future.  He did it again in 2008:

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? And market them as such?

Now Ford is catching on:

Ford Is Improving Tech, Boosting Safety, And...Bolding Fonts?
image… The automaker is adding weight to the text found throughout its interiors, in the hope that drivers will find it easier to read. On average, the company says that fonts on the center stack in new vehicles will be about 40% heavier than they are today…

For the first time ever, the number of Americans age 65 and older is now larger than the number of children five and under. In marketing terms: the Baby Boomers are still booming, and Ford wants to make them feel comfortable behind the wheel.

Not that NostraChuckus believes he’s in the same league as …

The problem with being ahead of your time is that by the time everyone catches up with you, you’re bored.”
- Fran Lebowitz

But we do hope boredom doesn’t set in. When no one listens, NostraChuckus has been known to roll his eyes and bang his turban against the wall…

19 June 2011

Penney's shopping experience could be transformed. Sounds familiar…

From AP Retail Writer Anne D’Innocenzio:

imageImagine the possibilities of J.C. Penney in the future: An iPad enables one shopper to mix and match shirts and slacks without having to undress. A teen sends a mobile photo of a skirt to her father, who pays for it without leaving home by using his smartphone.

Those possibilities have been imagined before…

04 October 2010
imageThis weekend while at Costco, I caught a grandmother (she shall remain anonymous) sending pictures of dresses to her granddaughter so the child could pick the one she wanted.  Instant virtual shopping. 

This scenario is played out thousands of times every day around the world - and would make a smart theme for an advertising campaign.

13 June 2011

The Slippery Finger Dance

Over a year ago NostraChuckus divined it:

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. 

Google, of course, is on top of it.  I was goofing around with my blogspot settings, and found one giving you the option of reformatting your  blog for smartphones, making it simple to read (although I’d rather have darker fonts for older eyes).  It looks something like this:


Advertisers with unwieldy consumer-oriented websites (and 99% of websites are unwieldy on a smartphone) had better jump all over this.  Smartphone and Tablet users don’t like having to do the slippery sloppy finger dance when all they want is information.

More from that May 2010 post:

With the exception of the workplace, smartphones (along with iPads and Kindles or something like them) might just make desktops and laptops and the web as we know it obsolete.  If ‘being connected’ mostly means communicating with friends, doing simple search, reading the news - then all that’s really needed is a smartphone. 

And the more people use smartphones, the less they’ll tolerate silly graphical doodads mucking up their small  screens.

imageAnd this from Fast Company:

…The proportion of people who access the internet only through mobile devices will grow from 14 million in 2010 to 788 million by 2015. Meanwhile, the number of smart phones will rise from about 500 million today to 2.5 billion.

Now I’m off to see how this post looks on a smartphone.

06 June 2011

Still Consuming

That’s no big surprise if you’ve been reading my blog for the last six years. 

The big news this week is AARP’s big new B2B campaign targeting advertisers, ad agencies, and media planners. From The New York Times:

Aging, Yes, but Still Consuming
image… AARP’s new marketing effort will promote the baby boom generation, as it ages, as a viable consumer target for advertisers. The campaign, which includes print and digital ads, will run in trade publications like Advertising Age starting Monday.

In my book ©2005 I questioned their B2B campaign way back when:

NostraChuckus Predicts The Future of AARP
image… The advertising campaign has one ad with ashen-faced Baby Boomers in body bags ("These days, doctors don't pronounce you dead. Marketers do."). Another shows Baby Boomers acting like testosteroned teenagers ("Outta the way, punks: older racers are the hot-rod kings!").Yet another has one of a middle-aged lady dead in a powder room (probably from overdoing it on the dance floor) with police chalk outlining her body. I don't know what the copy is because I haven't seen it. It's probably something like, "Give me wrinkle cream, or give me death!"
© 2005 by Chuck Nyren and Paramount Market Publishing

imageThis one is better, although the execution is a tad bland. And I wonder why a profile or link to a recent AARP/Ad Age white paper is nowhere to be found:

50 and Up: What's Next?
imageThe generation that defined youth marketing for Madison Avenue is readying for retirement. Here’s what they’re thinking, where they're spending their money and what marketers should know in order to reach them. Data from AARP's Baby Boomers Envision Retirement Survey, GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer and Ad Age's MarketFinder.

Perhaps because the ad agency had nothing to do with it.  Or an oversight in AARP’s marketing department.  Download the AARP/Ad Age White Paper.

I wish AARP luck with their campaign.  Convincing twentysomething ad agency folk to target anybody but themselves ain’t a cakewalk.

image» Update 8 June 2011: Dick Stroud’s take on the campaign.

02 June 2011

This ‘n that, here ‘n there.

Snatches of miscellanea:

imageRetailers Prepare for Aging Baby Boomers
CVS stores offer magnifiers for customers who might have trouble reading the small print on labels.

Or you could simply bump up the typeface on CPGs.  Magnifiers look like a big hassle to me.

Can Turkey Unify the Arabs?
imageEven amid the din of the upheaval in the Arab world, that new sense of belonging represents a more pacific and perhaps more powerful undertow pulling in directions that call into question more parochial notions.

I said something like that not too long ago, sort of:

Turkey: Tiptoeing Across The Bosphorus
While not perfect, while there are political and cultural divisions in Turkey that mirror our own and other countries – the Turkish economic/political model is a valid one for Middle Eastern countries to consider. 

Matt Thornhill has a new Jumpin’ Jack Flash to groove out to.

imageBrent Green interviews Growing Bolder’s Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer on his radio show Generation Reinvention.  Fun.  Even inspirational for an old fuddy-duddy like me.

Almost 60% of Baby Boomers Plan to Buy New Home When They Retire
imageBut downsizing doesn’t have to mean moving to a continuing-care retirement community that includes several decades’ levels of care, from independent living and skilled nursing to Alzheimer’s assistance.

Not that mainstream media and advertisers care:

They watch your shows anyway.
imageAlmost 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.’”

Two troublemaking pieces I wish I’d written (but I’m too much of a wussy):

imageHating Boomers: America’s Last Acceptable Prejudice
By Leonard Steinhorn

imageHow the 1960s cured America
By Charles Kaiser

And finally, this was no surprise since I’m an expert on the subject:

image@ChuckNyren: Womens Sex Toys (@womens_sextoys) is now following you on Twitter!