29 April 2013

My post this week was written by The Ad Contrarian.

I was just about to put paws to keyboard and expose this exposé:

imageIAB to Rally Industry Against Bogus Publishers and Bots
By Mike Shields
The Interactive Advertising Bureau will take on the evil robots, shysters and shady characters who are stealing millions from advertisers—before the medium's reputation takes any more of a beating…

If you spend enough time in the murky world of ad exchanges, ad tech middlemen and real-time bidding software, you might come away wondering why any major brand even bothers with online advertising.

Not only are banners dull and clickthrough rates low, but all the technology flooding the industry promising perfect targeting perfection can't even deliver real human audiences...

Then I would’ve added it here:

The Social Media - WOMM - Web Advertising Posts 

But the intrepid Ad Contrarian beat me to it:

April 29, 2013
imageOnline Advertisers Getting Hosed
Click-through rates are abysmal. The odds of breaking through on YouTube are in the million-to-one range. Facebook is a big fat turd that seems to have a new ad scheme every week. QR codes are a cruel joke. Content and social media are sounding more like religion, and less like business.

And now we're starting to get a peek at massive advertising frauds being perpetrated on the web.

Oh, well. I guess I’ll do some work or something.

18 April 2013

We’re hot again.

For almost a month I’ve been on a Large Org Rampage, ignoring all late-breaking stories.  My news aggregator is clogged.  It needs a cleansing:

picWe’re hot again, wanted again, as we are every year or so for a brief time until everybody who wants us realizes they have no idea how to get our attention.

Dentists want us.

The Clergy wants us.

Book Publishers want us.

Even Hollywood wants us.

And to no one’s surprise, marketers and advertisers want us.  Recent headlines, with no links because it’s all been said before so why waste your time:

Advertising to the over 40s – the new rules of engagement

New Research Reveals Misconceptions of Baby Boomer Marketing

Marketing to Boomers Crucial to Bottom Line

Baby Boom Your Branding Strategy

Advertisers overlooking cashed-up Boomers

imagePeople are spending — just look at the Boomers

Marketing to Baby Boomers: A [Very] Valuable Demographic

I feel like Rip Van Winkle – except upon awakening nothing has changed – and that’s even more shocking….

One gold nugget from the sift:

Why You Should Remodel to 'Age in Place' Now
Safety and style should go hand in hand when making home modifications
By Louis Tenenbaum
… In my 35 years as a professional home remodeler, I've found that if I get clients to fold the health and safety solutions into the more enjoyable task of remodeling to suit their changing tastes, they are not only more responsive, but they're also excited and enthusiastic.

And thanks to two folks for mentioning me in their posts/articles:

Baby Boomer Bashing: I just don’t get it.
by Erin Read Ruddick

BOOMHER: A is for….
By Nancy Hill

10 April 2013

AARP Is All New Redux: Part IV (Entrepreneurs, VCs & Health Tech)

CVRCompIn 2005 I wrote Advertising to Baby Boomers.  Knowing a big chunk of the readers would be entrepreneurial Boomers and another chunk would be younger entrepreneurs developing and marketing products and services to Boomers, I made sure chunks of the book dealt with their concerns.

A few grabs, the first from the Introduction:


Page 74:



imageMary Furlong has been producing The Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit for a decade. AARP is one of the sponsors. 

Last year the organization plopped headfirst into the Boomers/VC/Start-Up pool. This year’s plunge:

AARP Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch
AARP Health Innovation@50+ LivePitch…is the premier showcase featuring the most exciting start-up companies in the “50 and over” health technology and innovation sector. The pitch event offers the venture capital and angel investor community as well as the media, the opportunity to connect with these outstanding start-ups.

If you don’t know your way around the 50+ Health/Tech industry, check out these thought leaders:

imageAging In Place Technology Watch
Industry Trends, Research & Analysis
Laurie Orlov

Richard Adler
imageIFTF Research Affiliate Richard Adler was born in New York City, raised in Colorado, attended college in New England, taught in the Midwest, and spent most of his working life in Silicon Valley. These many changes of scene have given him a broad perspective on American culture and a strong curiosity about what is coming next.

I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of tech and health tech.  Fabulous stuff is on the way.

But there will be backlash.  A handful of concerns for advertising/public relations:

  • Privacy Issues. Big Data is the buzz phrase of the day.  Corralling every piece of medical information about everybody (including DNA profiles) could be a tough sell.
  • Monitored. Many will balk at every burp being recorded, analyzed, crammed into an electronic spreadsheet and sent through the ether to who knows where. 
  • Wired. It probably won’t be wires stuck into every corporeal crevice, aligning every orifice – but whatever it’ll be will be considered invasive and unnatural by many.
  • imageAnxiety. Wired ‘n Monitored will create a whole new disorder for the mental health industry.  Having a device (probably something like a phone app or Google Glasses) that constantly flashes and beeps your vitals will cause over-the-top anxiety for many.
  • Boredom. That’ll be the antidote for all the anxiety. In 2009 I blogged about monitoring during exercise:
    I wonder if most of the above won’t get tired fast.  How biofeedback-onic do you really want to be while taking a walk in the woods or playing some doubles?    

    And beepers going off to tell you you’re a lazybones?  It sounds like fun once or twice, but pretty soon some sweats or tennis attire will be all you’ll put on.  Being wired like an android and having to perform at specific levels every minute while you’re ‘playing’ could cause a slew of new anxiety afflictions.   

    Of course, there will always be a few obsessive-compulsives.

More info:

Why Innovators Get Better With Age
Less gray hair sharply reduces an organization’s innovation potential, which over the long term can greatly outweigh short-term gains.

The AARP is looking for some good Baby Boomer entrepreneurs to back
By Ki Mae Heussner
Despite Silicon Valley’s preference for young entrepreneurs, the research may not be on their side.

Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers
All of a sudden every other news article about Baby Boomers is focused on business and entrepreneurs.

For reference:

21 March 2013
AARP Is All New Redux:
Part I

AARP is ‘rebranding’ itself for the umpteenth time.

27 March 2013
AARP Is All New Redux:
Part II

AARP will also step up its efforts to help businesses develop “their 50-plus strategy”…

02 April 2013
AARP Is All New Redux:
Part III (The Magazine)

There is a slow overhaul of AARP Magazine going on, no doubt for the better.

02 April 2013

AARP Is All New Redux: Part III (The Magazine)

There is a slow overhaul of AARP Magazine going on, no doubt for the better.

http://www.tech4pub.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/myrna_blyth-e1351086985905-150x150.jpgWhile not privy to the changes, I do know that Myrna Blyth, former editor/publisher of a slew of top-notch magazines (Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle, More, and even more) is now Editorial Director of AARP Media.  AARP can’t do much better than that.

Dustin Hoffman Feb/Mar 2013 CoverI won’t comment on the content of AARP Magazine over the last ten years. I will comment on the advertising.

A post from 2007:

Positioning Magazines for Baby Boomers
There are active and passive parts of our day. Without getting into too much psychobabble, as you get older the passive side needs more nourishment. It’s not really passive. It’s focused absorption. At some point you have to climb out of your frenetic digital nest and concentrate on one thing. It might be reading a book, watching a TV show or movie, listening to music, looking out the window.

Or immersing yourself in a magazine.

This isn’t ‘down time’ (that would be sleeping), but nourishing your psyche by absorbing and not actively being involved in what you’re doing.

From another post:

An attractive magazine arriving in the mail gets your attention.  It hangs out on the table, inviting you to do some easy, restful leafing – at least until recycle day rolls around.

What makes AARP Magazine unattractive: The Ads.  They’re ugly, and the subtext is always “You’re old and sick.”  Who wants to leaf through such icky stuff over and over in every issue? 

While it’s a freebie with your AARP enrollment, and 37 million copies are mailed, something tells me that a very large chunk of people simply toss their copies.  One of the reasons: They don’t want to see the ads.  They don’t want to see only ugly ads about how old or sick they might or might not be – or even worse, might be someday:


I counted one non-age/malady ad in the February/March issue – for Bose audio


16 September 2009
Boomer Backlash II
Why couldn’t it have been a car?  Laundry soap?  Baked Beans? Gender-specific razors? Aluminum foil? Anything but some age-related malady.

Add to all this something everybody knows already:  Readers devour magazines not only for editorial but for advertisements. They look forward to makeup and fashion ads, car ads, home-improvement ads, smartphone/tablet/tech ads.  Did I leave any out? 

For specialty magazines, ads are even more appreciated: Mechanics, DIY items, automobile enhancements, exercise equipment, crafts, cooking, travel.  Did I leave any out?

I have a tough time believing that anybody rifles through AARP Magazine excitedly looking for the latest in hearing aids and stair-lifts.  

Advice for AARP Magazine:

Sure, your media folks have a tough sell. And they know it and do their best:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/07/19/business/ADCO-1/ADCO-1-popup.jpgA new campaign aimed at advertisers themselves features people in their 50s and early 60s, and argues that brands should be focusing on them, not people ages 18 to 34…

Dump the shotgun approach and suck them in. Plan an issue with no age/malady related ads allowed and one-time only rates advertisers can’t refuse. Practically give the ad pages away. 

Lose lots of money with this issue, but fill it up with beautiful, sumptuous, high-quality ads for Cars, Swiffer Dusters, Vacation Packages from whomever, Laundry Soap, Fashion Items (did I read something recently about J. Jill?), Warby Parker, Ikea, Smartphones, Tablets, Apple, Microsoft.  Did I leave any out?

Make it up to the age/malady advertisers by giving them discounts for the following six issues. 

imageOf course, I would leave editorial in the expert hands of Ms. Blyth and others – but might suggest this: For one issue, no articles about being old or sick. 

Put those aspirational TV spots aside for a month and toss up a few about this special issue of AARP Magazine (without really saying what’s so special about it).  Make sure advertisers know that you plan to promote the issue with a national television campaign.

My Bet: AARP Media will attract more major advertisers. 

For reference:

21 March 2013
AARP Is All New Redux: Part I
AARP is ‘rebranding’ itself for the umpteenth time.

27 March 2013
AARP Is All New Redux: Part II
AARP will also step up its efforts to help businesses develop “their 50-plus strategy”…

27 March 2013

AARP Is All New Redux: Part II

Part I for reference:

21 March 2013
AARP Is All New Redux: Part I
AARP is ‘rebranding’ itself for the umpteenth time.

More from Joop Koopman’s report:

AARP will also step up its efforts to help businesses develop “their 50-plus strategy” and create products and marketing campaigns to appeal to boomers—for example, in the highly lucrative travel business, with boomers accounting for 80 percent of high-end travel packages.

Fine and dandy.  For fun, I did two simple travel searches.  One was from Chicago to London with a hotel in the package.  Using the AARP Travel/Leisure site, I ended up on Expedia.com through the AARP overlay that claims discounts.  Itinerary and cost:


I closed it and opened another browser instance, went straight to Expedia.com, and searched the same itinerary (travel dates, airports, hotels):


It would be less expensive to book with Expedia directly.

imageNext, I clicked a super-duper British Excursion package advertised on the AARP Travel site – and set up an itinerary (this time traveling from NYC to London):


However, the price was the same if you bypassed AARP and went straight to the British Airways site. 

To be fair, I’m guessing this super-duper deal is really a BA banner ad on the AARP page – although you could be fooled into thinking you’re getting a special rate from AARP.

There are good articles and travel tips on the AARP Travel Site.  But look around the web. You’ll probably find better deals.

At least for now.  If AARP overhauls its travel biz (that’s what they say they’re doing), perhaps one day it will be advantageous for members.

A few moldy posts:

20 January 2006
Boomers, Vacation, Travel

21 September 2010
Baby Boomers & Travel Companies & Irony