Sunday, August 26, 2007

Marketing to Baby Boomers - Whole Lotta Hype, Indeed.

Just finished reading a piece by Paula Burkes Erickson of The Oklahoman newspaper that was picked up by my local news-astonisher. It's one more in a stream of stories on the subject of marketing to baby boomers, and it compelled me to write something. The boomers - those of us born between 1946, when all the GI's came home from the big war and started making lots of babies, and 1964, when the Beatles showed up here - are certainly a marketer's dream. I'm getting just a little tired of hearing about how marketing geniuses are doing so many creative new things to attract the boomers and their spending power. It's ridiculous. In our fair city, one of the ad agencies touts its considerable research prowess and specialty into the boomer pyschie. Is this anything new? It's not rocket science people; the boomers are the ones with money to spend, so you create advertising that appeals to them.

Now, will hearing that Led Zeppelin song 38 times a day really make you want to test drive a Cadillac? Actually, since they only bought that one song, I got so sick of it that I wanted to kill Robert Plant with my bare hands! In sharp contrast, put Dennis Hopper, the aging counter-culture hipster icon himself, on the beach for Ameriprise Financial, and you've got something. A little more cerebral and way better executed than the Cadillac campaign. It works, because it has a well crafted message. So kudos to the folks at Saatchi & Saatchi who created that campaign for Ameriprise, the newly re-named American Express Financial Advisors unit. I don't care if Ad Age's Bob Garfield thinks Hopper was the wrong choice for spokesperson. I give it a big"thumbs up."

What's really different about the boomers? I think it's that we are the first generation to grow up with television, and to grow up without having to endure lengthy economic hardship. Sure, we had the Cold War, Viet Nam, Watergate, the gas crisis of '74 and several recessions along the way, but we still know how to have fun. And even the boomers who are pushing 60 don't think of themselves as adults. Sure they're battling osteoporosis and E.D., but they are kids at heart. They buy what they want, without remorse. And they have fun, without guilt.

Viva Viagra.

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