25 September 2013

You have read this on the web, so believe it.

crystal ballFamed Soothsayer and advertising gadfly NostraChuckus has been startling the world for years with his mundane prognostications.

You have read this on the web, so believe it.

Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You
By David Streitfeld
September 22, 2013

… New York regulators will announce on Monday the most comprehensive crackdown to date on deceptive reviews on the Internet. Agreements have been reached with 19 companies to cease their misleading practices and pay a total of $350,000 in penalties.

The yearlong investigation encompassed companies that create fake reviews as well as the clients that buy them.

Sounds familiar:

15 December 2006
The Brouhaha Over WOMM
Pretty soon, consumers won't believe anybody - even their best friends. They'll realize that they receive the most honest and straightforward information about a product or service from a TV commercial, print ad, or product web site. At least we don't lie about who we are and why we're saying what we're saying.

25 January 2009
Internet Hero of the Week
An uproar hit the Web over the weekend when it was discovered an employee at consumer electronics company Belkin had offered to pay people to write positive reviews for his company's products, even if they hadn't tried them … "Write as if you own the product and are using it," Bayard suggested. "Thank the website for making you such a great deal. Mark any other negative reviews as 'not helpful' once you post yours."

21 July 2010
http://scoilsanphroinsias.scoilnet.ie/blog/files/2012/02/animated_computer_student_3.gifManipulation of the Crowd
… This article does not mention paid shills who do the reviews. As a freelance writer, this is one of the more common things that I am paid to do.

27 August 2012
The Best Reviews Money Can Buy
… Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth.

22 August 2011
5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5

wrongLots more:

The Social Media - WOMM - Web Advertising Posts

Listen to NPR

Of course, NostraChuckus will predict anything you want – for a price. Rates for prognostications are on a sliding scale based on your gullibility. 

15 September 2013

Boomer Gnashing Teeth

An email, slightly expurgated:

Subject: Boomer Gnashing Teeth

Hi Mr. Nyren,
I just read some quotes of yours and became aware of your focus on baby boomers and “trends”.

Perhaps you can use my observations about one particular product. Toothpaste!

I am a 53 year old Canadian. I am a ship’s captain and feel pretty comfortable with a lot of technologies since the marine industry has always been a forerunner of new equipment.

Img Source http://throwyourselflikeseed.blogspot.com/

Lately, however, whenever I go to a supermarket or pharmacy to buy toothpaste, I end up standing in front of a massive display of toothpaste for what seems like hours trying to determine which style/brand I want to purchase. Quite often I just walk away in disgust. I have no problems making decisions quickly in other aspects of my life! What the hell’s with all the packaging and options? I just want a simple, effective toothpaste like there used to be in the (19)60’s. I don’t want flash marketing. I don’t care if it’s “Complete” or “With Scope” or “Whitening” or “Cinnamon” I just want a god damn mint toothpaste with a simple screw cap.

Why do the manufacturers think a tube that stands on it’s end is such a necessity? Those huge plastic caps waste resources, don’t generally get recycled, waste toothpaste and are just a huge pain in the ass.

imageAlas, I’m not the only consumer who is clearly frustrated with Crest, Colgate and the others. Why don’t these companies ask consumers what they want? Aaargh!

If you have any influence whatsoever with Procter and Gamble and can bring back a simple toothpaste, I would personally nominate you for a Nobel prize or Pulitzer or Emmy or whatever is given to social researchers.
Thank you,
***** *******
Halifax, Nova Scotia

He must’ve run across this syndicated piece from The Canadian Press:

imageBoomers tough marketing target
September 8, 2013
By Romina Maurino
… To boomer Chuck Nyren, who has spent years working in advertising and has written a book about selling to his demographic, one of the keys to drawing in the 50-plus crowd is to stop treating them like they're old.

The problem with ad campaigns for products targeted at boomers, he says, is advertising firms don't know how to treat that group.

"If they do it at all, it's only for products that are medical, maybe vacations," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Snohomish, Wash., near Seattle.

"If you're over 50 and you watch television, it just keeps reinforcing the fact that you're sick. That automatically kind of turns you off to everything. They think of baby boomers as either old, smiling vapid people on a beach, or as old hippies."

… And to Nyren, 62, in-store marketing isn't doing much better.

"If you walk into a mall, it just gets annoying because there's so much noise that is directed toward younger people, even for products that are for older people, and it doesn't really grab you anymore," he said.

The toothpaste conundrum…

From a review of my book Advertising to Baby Boomers ©2005:

Nyren humorously considers the Boomer making a consumer decision:

So what toothpaste should I buy? Anybody have any ideas? I have a trillion dollars in the bank, and 300 billion to spend as I please. And I’m sauntering around the dental care aisle, hands in my pockets, jingling a few million in loose change, looking up and down, side to side, and I’m not sure what I’m going to buy (p. 54).

The full review from The Journal of Consumer Marketing.

And more from the book:

CVRComp… In chapter eleven I tossed together a tongue-in-cheek scenario of me strolling up and down a toothpaste aisle and not knowing what to buy because I had no idea what product would be best for someone my age. I also mentioned that one way of “cutting through the clutter” would be to come up with a plainer package, or at least one that
didn’t look like a space-age Christmas tree ornament…

It’s always fun to get sparkling, insightful emails from folks – and to wallow in my fifteen minutes of fame in Canada.

06 September 2013

Microsoft/Nokia Smartphones

In Nokia, Microsoft Bets on Apple-Like Revival
New York Times
By Nick Wingfield
Nick Wingfield… Apple and Google have won the hearts and minds of developers, who design the apps that lure consumers to their devices, while Samsung is the dominant maker of mobile phones, most of which run Google’s Android operating system. Even though Microsoft’s and Nokia’s products have won praise for their quality, they have arrived late.

Allow me to claw my way onto the podium and holler about this from an advertising perspective:

imageWhile it seems as if the business model (owning both software and hardware) will be aping Apple, the competition won’t be iPhone, but Android. Microsoft will never lure Apple enthusiasts.

To Microsoft’s advantage, the branding and positioning of Android is muddier. Few consumers are ‘in love’ with their Androids the way Apple folk are in love with their iPhones. Add the new Moto X to the mix and things get even muddier. Consumers will have to pay headache-inducing close attention to what each phone/operating system is so they’ll know what they’re buying. It gets confusing: Samsung, Motorola, Google, Chrome OS, Android, Moto – and all the differences, combinations, configurations. Then factor in all the Phone Carriers and their quirks.

With iPhone and Windows Phone you pretty much know what you’re getting.

Two posts from earlier this year:

01 January 2013
Windows 8
… Microsoft would be wise to fashion some advertising  for Boomers and older (and that tiny niche market known as the business industry).  Less flash, more substance.

20 June 2013
Windows 8 Redux
Win 8 phones, tablets, and desktops are potent technologies for Baby Boomers…

Disclosure: I own a Nokia Lumia.
No other mundane disclaimers to report.

imageAnd it’s a good phone, easy to use and easy on the eyes. Top notch camera and video capabilities.  In a pinch when a laptop or PC isn’t available, the phone flawlessly runs Microsoft Office stuff (no surprise).

It wouldn’t be an ad campaign straight up (too hokey), but Windows Phone is the perfect blend for work and play, personal and business.  That would be subtext.  Of course, there’s much more I’d toss into the creative brew.

So we’ll wait to see what Microsoft does with Windows Phone advertising.  It’s all about simplicity, focus, productivity.  And fun.

28 August 2013

Tablets & The Magic of Muggles

prophetWhenever immersed in fantasy-drenched fiction you sustain the illusion that there are no illusions.  Everything is real.

But sometimes things presented as magical really aren’t:

Daily Prophet

I remember watching this and saying to myself, “Is this supposed to be magic?  We Muggles already have this. What’s the big deal?” I was thinking computers, laptops.

Soon we will have it:

07 January 2013
Moses and the pharmaceutical industry once had exclusive dibs on this word.  Nowadays, tablet commonly refers to a specific type of computer doodad technology.

14 January 2013
Tablets Redux
… Researchers have developed a revolutionary tablet screen as thin as a sheet of paper that can be twisted and dropped without damage - and it could replace your laptop within five years.


An ultra-lightweight design for imperceptible plastic electronics


Combine all this with 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.

And one from a year ago:

The Future Of Consumer Doodad Technology
You should stop thinking about the next big thingamabob and whose will be best.  In five or ten years there will be all sorts of thingamabobs for just about everything. You’ll have two or three or ten thingamabobs.  Tablets/Smartphones will be big, small, thin, simple, complex, active, passive, out the door in your purse or pocket, lost in your couch cushions.

The web is dead for advertising/banner ads:

17 July 2012
Banner Ads = Happy Meal Toys…???
… A tiny fraction of people ever click on an ad. In fact, 99% of stable cookies examined never click on an ad … optimization of campaigns to achieve higher CTR may in fact be reducing brand ROI.

29 April 2013
My post this week was written by The Ad Contrarian.

Stir in this nuts ‘n bolts news:

imageTablets to outship desktops this year, notebooks next year

imageShipments of Tablet PCs Expected to More Than Double
Shipments of tablet PCs are expected to reach nearly 364 million worldwide in 2014…The tablet PC market is also quickly evolving, offering more choices to a growing audience of potential buyers. Consumers can expect to see greater choice in screen sizes, as brands look to differentiate their products and exploit new market opportunities.

Oh, yeah. I said that already.

Microsoft is jumping on this, soon offering users the option of a more magazine-like experience:

Windows 8.1 Tip: Better Reading with Internet Explorer 11
Paul Thurrott
Paul Thurott…A new Reading View feature, available via a button in the right side of the address bar, can remove the clutter and present just the article in a pleasant, horizontal layout…

What all this means for advertisers:

Banner ads have been a washout, social media marketing is a cesspool, advertising on smartphones is not only teensy-weensy but competes with activity (talking/texting, apps, simple search).

Tablets could become a major vehicle for advertising.  They’ll get bigger, lighter, much thinner, flexible or semi-flexible if that’s what you’d prefer, easy to handle while sitting, lying down. Finger scrolls won’t be much different than turning pages…

And those virtual pages will have beautiful, striking, intelligent print-influenced advertising and short-form video on demand.

Larger and more crystalline than this:


People will power up desktops/laptops for work and interactive pursuits, then grab their tablets for passive pleasure.

PCs, Laptops, Smartphones: Active experiences where advertising is an annoyance.

Magazines, Newspapers, Radio, TV, Outdoor, Tablets: Passive experiences where advertising is accepted and often welcomed.

13 August 2013

Week Old No News News

I didn’t get around to blogging about some no news news when it wasn’t news a week or so ago.  Now is as late a time as any:

Top retail products being sold to Baby Boomers
http://www.retail-digital.com/whitedm/mt-static/addons/Commercial.pack/themes/professional-black/retaildigital_logo.pngBaby boomers are responsible for nearly half of all consumer-packaged goods (CPGs) purchases, according to Nielsen’s August 2012 findings. CPGs include products ranging from foods and drinks, to health and beauty products, to household and pet products.

So along with the obvious stuff, Boomers purchase just about everything else.  Sounds familiar:

14 December 2008
Baby Boomers: A Force to Reckon With
adweek Households with baby boomer members -- born between 1946 and 1964 -- account for nearly $230 billion in sales of consumer packaged-goods (CPG) products and represent 55 percent of total CPG sales…

16 September 2009
Boomer Backlash II
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.   


Boomers Replace Their Children as No. 1 Market for Autos
The 55-to-64-year-old age group, the oldest of the boomers, has become the cohort most likely to buy a new car…

Sounds familiar:

12 March 2009
Who’s gonna buy this car?
In 2005 on The Advertising Show yours truly had a spirited discussion with hosts Brad Forsythe and Ray Schilens.  A chunky segment was about marketing autos to Boomers.

03 May 2012
67% Of All Sales…
I haven’t invoked NostraChuckus in awhile.  He’s that Great Seer of The Obvious and The Mundane

More no news news:

image'Selfish' Baby Boomers Give Way More to Charity Than Gen X or Gen Y
… Baby boomers account for 43% of all charitable giving in the U.S., far and away the largest amount given by the four demographic measured in the study.

Sounds familiar:

Me vs. We  11 February 2008

Me vs. We Redux  26 June 2009

Me vs. We Redux Redux 22 October 2009

Or …

Consider this post prophetic, for there will be much more of the same no news news in the future.

»»» Update 15 August 2013
Looks like The Wall Street Journal has finally caught up to what I’ve been saying since 2005:

Who's Buying 'Youth' Cars? Seniors
Boomers Are Prime Buyers for Small Vehicles That Auto Makers Target at Hipsters