19 April 2016

Big Mags Roll Out Big Guns. Again.

Another fusillade, a volley of déjà vus.

imageAnd it’s sort of like being in The Twilight Zone, or if that reference is too antediluvian for you, Groundhog Day, or if that reference is too antediluvian for you, there’s got to be plenty of recent movies and TV shows I’ve never heard of with similar plots or themes.

The grey market
imageOlder consumers will reshape the business landscape
Apr 9th 2016
… The Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister organisation to The Economist, found that only 31% of firms it polled did take into account increased longevity when making plans for sales and marketing … One reason for this tardiness is that young people dominate marketing departments and think that the best place for the old is out of sight and mind.

Sounds familiar.  You can read a piece from 2003…

Advertising to Baby Boomers: Back into the Fold 
image Truth is, you can analyze marketing fodder all day and night, read countless books about marketing to Baby Boomers, attend advertising and marketing conventions around the world, and soak up everything all the experts have to say. Much of what is out there is valuable and useful, some practically required reading, others instructive and illuminating. But if you plan on implementing a creative strategy, and turn it over to a different generation of advertising professionals—you'll forfeit the natural sensibilities required to generate vital campaigns.

CVRCompOr you can read the Intro and 1st Chapter from my book (a free PDF Download):

Advertising to Baby Boomers Download

As Dick Stroud says in a comment:

This article could have been written a decade ago. Very little has changed…

From Forbes:

Image result for ForbesMarketers Throw Out The Baby Boomers With The Bathwater

I began to grab some quotes from the above and compare them to what I’ve written over the last twelve or so years – but the whole article, every piece of information, observation, and advice can be found in my book, blog, articles, interviews, and chapters I’ve penned.  For me, it’s spooky. Like stepping into a decade-old parallel universe.

And Fast Company:

Forget Millennials—Why You Should Hire Someone Over 55

Except for the “forget millennials” part (I’m a fan), dozens of déjà vus:

The Human Resources/Brain Power Posts (2006-2016)

"No, I don't think a 68-year-old copywriter can write with the kids. That he's as creative. That he's as fresh. But he may be a better surgeon. His ad may not be quite as fresh and glowing as the Madison Ave. fraternity would like to see it be, and yet he might write an ad that will produce five times the sales. And that's the name of the game, isn't it?" - Rosser Reeves

My final words on Déjà Vu – from four years ago:

13 September 2012
The Déjà Vu News
Sometimes I think my browser is playing tricks on me.  Twilight Zone tricks.  Or Google is on the fritz, spitting out news stories from the past.  Some recent headlines:

Boomers Are The Most Valuable Generation For Marketers

Baby Boomers Are A Lucrative Marketing Demographic

Retailers Target Grey Spending Power

Baby Boomers Consider Next Housing Move

Boomers Are Not Like Your Grandparents

Baby Boomers Discover Grandparenting

More Boomers Aspire To Careers With Social Purpose

Baby boomers Are Starting Up Businesses

Hindenburg Explodes In Mid-Air

OK, I’m lying about the last one. It’s not a recent headline. But to me it doesn’t seem any older than the others.

30 March 2016

Convoluted Simplicity & An Age-Friendly Marketing App

Marketing Guru Dick Stroud has some great takes on a video and article – both about tackling simplicity in tech design:

imageTuesday, March 29, 2016
"A lot of our technology is bad at humans" - the older the human the worse it gets
… Much of the video illustrates, unintentionally, why designers get it so wrong. Terms like pretentious, elitist and self-satisfied come to mind…

Why does talking about simplicity need to be so complicated and convoluted?  When I talk about Universal Design, Product Design, Packaging, Web Design and older eyes, ears, hands – my message has always been simple:

imageAn easy-to-grip handle is not dumbing down.  A ‘big picture’ is not dumbing down.  If anything, a big picture has more inherent complexity and meaning than an array of blinking doodads.

23 October 2012
The Future Of Consumer Doodad Technology
I’m stepping outside of my pundit-zone to babble about the future of  consumer doodad technology…


imageDick Stroud and Kim Walker have created a fascinating marketing app:

The Age-Friendly Tool or AF Tool 

It analyzes the often dicey and always delicate relationships between marketing touchpoints and the physiological aspects of aging consumers:

We live in a world designed by younger people, for younger people. That’s not a criticism, it’s a fact. But there are already over 1.5 billion people over 50 years of age and in many developed countries this means around 4 out of every 10 citizens.

A three-minute video about the AF Tool:

And check out the press release for more info and links:

20plus30 Launches Software to Assist Companies and Cities Adapt to Population Ageing

28 March 2016

Advertising In The Aging Society: The Foreword, The Interview

agingPreceding Post:

21 February 2016
Published: Advertising in the Aging Society by Prieler, Kohlbacher

While composing the Afterword for Advertising in the Aging Society, I had most of the chapter drafts and resource materials to work with.

After turning in my 1st Draft, Florian Kohlbacher sent me this:

Btw, Dave is writing the Foreword so good that you’re quoting him…

imageThat would be Dave McCaughan, Marketing Thought Leader and Storyteller based in Hong Kong.  He’d penned an excellent piece in Research World titled Aging Asia, and I’d pulled a few quotes for the Afterword – not knowing he’d written the Foreword.

Now I’ll pull a quote from Dave’s Foreword:

But the frustration remains. Perhaps best summed up by my friend Toru Shibata, ex-president of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Japan, who complains that it is so difficult to talk to his market research suppliers, his advertising agencies, his own marketing departments about targeting 70-year-olds when they are all staffed by people in their 30s and 40s. To those “young” professionals talk of advertising to a 70-year-old seems like talking about their grandmother, or great- grandmother. A beloved relative but a boring and misunderstood target audience.

imageMr. McCoughan recently interviewed Professor Kohlbacher on Zoom, a Video and Web Conferencing Service.  It’s worth a listen:

Will you still need me? Marketing to Seniors: An Interview with Professor Florian Kohlbacher

More about Advertising In The Aging Society by Michael Prieler and Florian Kohlbacher:

On Amazon USA / On Amazon UK

21 February 2016

Published: Advertising in the Aging Society by Prieler, Kohlbacher

In 2007 I was recruited to pen a chapter for The Silver Market Phenomenon Edited By Florian Kohlbacher and Cornelius Herstatt:

04 September 2008
Published: The Silver Market Phenomenon

image28 June 2010
The Silver Market Phenomenon 2010: Update
… The current shift in demographics – aging and shrinking populations – in many countries around the world presents a major challenge to companies and societies alike. One particularly essential implication is the emergence and constant growth of the so-called “graying market” or “silver market”…

Last year I was again honored.  Professor Kohlbacher asked me to fashion an Afterword for his newest co-written tome:

adAgingSocietyAdvertising in the Aging Society
Understanding Representations, Practitioners, and Consumers in Japan
By Michael Prieler and Florian Kohlbacher

Population aging is a powerful megatrend affecting many countries around the world. This demographic shift has vast effects on societies, economies and businesses, and thus also for the advertising industry. Advertising in the Aging Society presents an insight into advertising practitioners and consumers in Japan.

Download The Flyer (PDF) 
I’m serious.  Download it.

The Authors:

imageMichael Prieler is Associate Professor of Communication in the School of Communication at Hallym University, South Korea. Before this, he worked and studied for several years in Japan. His research focuses on media representations of gender, race/ethnicity, and older
people,and has been published in numerous books and international journals.

imageFlorian Kohlbacher is Associate Professor of Marketing and Innovation in the International
Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi'an Jiaotong
- Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, China, and the Founding Director of the XJTLU Research Institute on Ageing and Society (RIAS). He is also an adjunct fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) at Temple University, Japan Campus.

imageAdvertising in the Aging Society presents a refreshing and rare combination of theory-driven, data-rich research complete with clear implications for advertising practice. After analysis of nearly 3,000 television advertisements, 185 advertising practitioners’ survey responses, and 1,834 audience surveys, the authors provide insightful advice regarding the effects, effectiveness, and ethics of portraying silver citizens in advertising.
- Michelle R. Nelson, Associate Professor of Advertising University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

imageFor a limited time, Palgrave Macmillan is offering a sample chapter for download.

A snippet of the Afterword:

… During my international consulting in Europe and elsewhere, I always begin my presentations with a quote from American Political Scientist Seymour Lipset (1922-2006) culled from his book American Exceptionalism: “Those who know only one country, know no country.” Then I say to the participants, “Whatever I tell you today will be specific to the 50+ Market in the United States … Much of what I’ll say will not be relevant to you. What I hope will happen: As you watch and listen, every so often certain concepts, ideas, and practices will ring true – and you’ll know that what I’ve just said is more than likely a universal truth about advertising to this demographic. You will then be able to fashion marketing campaigns with a finely-tuned mix of country-specific and universal values.”

From my experiences hopping from country to country, I was surprised to be learning as much about my country as I was learning about other countries…

Back to The Flyer you should’ve downloaded:



"This is a very exciting book. Japanese advertising practitioners should listen carefully to Prieler and Kohlbacher's messages. They have implications for advertising around the world as population's aging is a global megatrend."
- Setsuo Sakamoto, Executive Producer, Institute of Elder Knowledge and New Adult Culture, HAKUHODO Inc.

Congratulations to Michael Prieler and Florian Kohlbacher.  Advertising in the Aging Society is a major accomplishment.

             On Amazon USA / On Amazon UK

06 January 2016

Brain Games: Hocus-Pocus Hyperbole

Looks like a not-so-bright company hawking a make-me-bright online game is in non-virtual hot water:

Lumosity fined millions for making false claims about brain health benefits
image…The shine has come off Lumosity with an announcement by federal investigators that the makers must pay $2m to settle a charge that it made fraudulent claims and “preyed on consumers’ fears”.

Although lucky for them, a big chunk of the penalty is virtual:

…The company has also been handed a $50m penalty for harming consumers – but the fine is suspended because the company cannot afford to pay it, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)…

[crystal_ball_2.jpg]Nostrachuckus warned of a backlash. Links to three long-ago posts:

02 March 2009
The Brain Games Game

08 December 2009
Your Brain on Games

21 April 2010
Your Brain On Games Redux

Random snippets from the posts above:

…And that’s what bothered me about the marketing – and still does.  Are these new-fangled blinking lights on a screen the best way, the only way to keep your noggin nimble?  This seems to be the claim.  Or are they a new breed in a long line of cognitive games that go back to counting pebbles on a cave floor?

…You certainly get the ‘hard-sell’ impression that if you don’t buy and play these games, eventually your brain will leak out of your nose and ears.  Why not just tell the truth?  These are high-tech, stimulating computer-generated exercises that will help keep your mind sharp - are structured, measurable to some degree (so they’re useful for medical research), and quite entertaining.

…What’s the story with advertising and Brain Games? Because of clumsy tactics, most advertising/marketing/PR is still doing more harm than good.

…Obviously I’m not qualified to comment on whether these digital gizmos revivify your rotting noggin.  However, for years I’ve questioned why the hype was so thick.  Did it have to be?

… My advice has always been to take the high road with the 50+ Market.  They’ve been around long enough to recognize most B.S. – and when they feel they’ve been fooled, say goodbye to them.


FTC: ‘Brain training’ brand Lumosity didn’t have the research to back up its claims (Washington Post)

Lumosity to settle deceptive ‘brain training’ health claims (STAT)