17 April 2015

Barbara Strauch: 1951-2015

Barbara Strauch, 63, Science and Health Editor at The Times and Author, Dies
… In 2010, Ms. Strauch published “The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind,” which concluded that certain cognitive functions peak fairly late, when people are in their 60s.

Sad news. I was thoroughly impressed with The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain and blogged it a bunch of times. Follow the links below for more info – along with an NPR interview with Ms. Strauch:

03 January 2010
2010: The Year of The Baby Boomer Brain
Not that the last few years haven’t had plenty of neurons bouncing about and flashing all sorts of surprising info about middle-aged noggins…

16 April 2010
The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain
… Ms. Strauch talks about “creating a disorienting dilemma” and “shaking up the cognitive egg” to get our attention – not something usually done when advertising to Baby Boomers. Most ads pander and lull us to sleep.

07 May 2010
Memo to H.R: Older Brains = Smarter Brains
… A new book makes the case that our brains can age as well as a vintage French burgundy; many of our most important cognitive functions actually improve with age …

09 April 2015

Chasing the grey yen

The Economist has a good piece about marketing to the 50+:

imageChasing the grey yen
Japanese firms have wisdom to hand down about selling to the elderly
Apr 11th 2015 | TOKYO
… Some companies, such as Wacoal, have created separate brands and marketing campaigns for their new products designed for older consumers, so as to avoid damaging the “young” image of their main brand. However, Florian Kohlbacher, co-editor of “The Silver Market Phenomenon”, a marketing handbook, argues that it is often better, instead of creating separate products just for the old, to design ones that bridge the generations.

The Silver Market Phenomenon.  I know that book.  In fact, I wrote a chapter in it:

The Silver Market Phenomenon 2nd Edition Released
… I contributed, updating the 2nd Edition with lots of new material – as have the other contributors (along with nine  new chapters/contributors).

Dick Stroud also produced an excellent chapter.

More from The Economist:

… In the end, says Mr Kohlbacher, all managers will have to find ways to market to the old without either offending them or putting off younger consumers. They might start by actually talking to the elderly, who have more experience of shopping, after all, than anyone else.

Just for fun:

huffington_post_logo1I Have The Wrong Wrinkles
by Chuck Nyren
… There they were. One way over on the side, another under my chin, another near my left ear. Wrinkles that weren't mine.

19 March 2015

Folks Catching Up

It’s not a race.  If it is, I’ve been slogging around the track for 12 years.  Slogging and blogging. I didn’t think it would take this long for folks to catch up:

Marketing to Millennials and Baby Boomers
by Mark Thomas, Michigan State University Extension
Michigan State University Extension educators and the MSU Product Center assist aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to develop targeted and focused business marketing plans.

CVRCompHmm. Teaching advertising to baby boomers in colleges and universities…

01 July 2005
Book News: Advertising to Baby Boomers selected by AEF
The Advertising Educational Foundation has selected Advertising to Baby Boomers as a Classroom Resource.

Baby Boomers Are Now Twice as Likely to Start a Company as Millennials

Baby Boomers Flock to Entrepreneurship
Even though they're nearing retirement age, a large number of baby boomers are looking for an "encore" career as entrepreneurs.

From the Introduction for Advertising to Baby Boomers © 2005/2007:

Advertising to Baby Boomers is for anybody with a marketing or product idea, yet to be realized or about to come to market. Venture capitalists take heed: the largest demographic of entrepreneurs are over forty, the largest consumer demographic the same. Baby Boomers will soon be marketing to themselves again, after a hiatus of twenty-odd years.

And here:

Entrepreneurs & Baby Boomers
… I’ve found that there are two mistakes made by almost every entrepreneur targeting this unwieldy, diverse market.

Why baby boomers are poised to revive the economy
image… As people are living longer and in better health, they’re working longer, too. And opportunities for the 55 and up group are going way beyond the stereotypical part-time gig at the local supermarket, he says.

Sounds familiar…

31 May 2009
Boomers key to economic recovery
… What do you buy? Almost everything.  Clothes, appliances, computers, toothpaste.  The list is endless.  Regular, ol’ stuff.  Stuff almost exclusively marketed to twentysomethings with ad campaigns that don’t resonate with middle-aged consumers.

Older Really Can Mean Wiser
By Benedict Carey March 16, 2015
image… People who are middle-aged and older tend to know more than young adults, by virtue of having been around longer, and score higher on vocabulary tests, crossword puzzles and other measures of so-called crystallized intelligence.

At my age the memory fails, but I think I’ve heard this before…

Human Resources/Brain Power Posts

If it’s not a race, why do I keep looking over my shoulder?  I hope they catch up soon.  My neck is getting sore.

23 February 2015

Boomers & Millennials & Everyone Else & Advertising

Jim Gilmartin, a gentleman I’ve been reading with pleasure for years, has a new piece on MediaPost:

Want To Connect With Baby Boomers? Be Authentic
Jim Gilmartin Speaker Photo…It’s widely known in marketing circles that most people over 50 think marketers misrepresent them in ads. Yet, few marketers seem influenced by this or know what to do about it. However, the remedy is simple: Be authentic in representing aging…

Excellent advice. I might tweak it just a tad. From my book Advertising to Baby Boomers © 2005/2007:

CVRComp… If using models for Baby Boomers in ads, it might be a good idea to shave off a few years. Nobody needs to see all their imperfections, or well-earned crow’s feet, shouting at them from a page of a magazine or embedded in a television screen.

... It’s basic human nature to think of yourself as a bit younger than you are. This is because we have no “forward” age perspective to draw on, only “backward” age perspective. As I write this, I’m fifty-six. But I really don’t know what being fifty-six is. I do know what being in my middle forties was. I remember being in my middle forties. I have age perspective on both sides, so I can isolate that age. At the time I didn’t know what being in my middle forties was, how it felt, what it meant. I can’t really get my mind around being fifty-six because I don’t have a dual perspective. When I’m sixty, I’ll know what being “fifty-six” is.

But above all, be authentic when advertising to Baby Boomers.

… Oh, and now I read that you should likewise be authentic when advertising to Millennials:

Authenticity: The key to successfully reaching millenial customers

Hmm.  Now I’m wondering, “What generation doesn’t want authenticity?  Is there a generation that prefers disingenuous ads?”

Dick Stroud tossed up an interesting post on his blog:

Millennials look for experiences over possessions
I had to laugh when Marketing magazine had a headline "Millennials look for experiences over possessions." I thought that I had read something like that before and then remembered a blog posting back in 2008 that said something very similar only this time it was about Boomers…

The Takeaway: Boomers and Millennials love authenticity and experiences.  How this data will help you advertise your product or service, I don’t know. 

Maybe just make sure that your advertising is an authentic experience.  Or something like that. 

Not about advertising:

huffington_post_logo1Have You Ever Fainted? All about mine.
That's a lie. I don't remember anything about it. I fainted. Before and after the faint, I remember.

06 February 2015

Ameriprise Demolishes Picket Fence

I’ve been following Ameriprise’s stumbling and pandering advertising for over nine years:

Invoking "The Sixties" (2005)
Ameriprise's campaign slinks around and takes the low road — invoking 'The Sixties' for no reason other than to unctuously 'brand' their service.

Ameriprise vs. Fidelity Financial Redux  (2006)
The 1960s were about cultural change and political activism. But in Ameriprise's new commercials, the era's touchstones are evoked in the name of money, money, money.

Dennis Hopper for Ameriprise  (2007)

Advertising Has Removed Music's Soul (2009)

Ameriprise: Psychedelic Peace Signs Now White Picket Fences  (2011)
… Now it seems Aunt Polly made Tom whitewash that fence.  No more peace signs or psychedelic graffiti…

Ameriprise seems to still be interested in Baby Boomers:

Ameriprise Study: First Wave of Baby Boomers Say Health and Emotional Preparation are Keys to a Successful Start to Retirement  (2015)

But someone must've knocked down that whitewashed fence:

Ameriprise Splits with R/GA, Searches for a New Lead Shop
Signals a shift from Tommy Lee Jones campaign
By Andrew McMains

I wonder what’s next. Old hippies painting psychedelic dollar signs on a picket fence? Aunt Polly as the new spokesperson? One of those snazzy computerized commercials where they futz with old footage, maybe Tommy Lee Jones as Tom Sawyer and Dennis Hopper as Huckleberry Finn jawing about financial planning?

Oh, to be a gadfly on the wall during that creative review…