If you’ve been paying attention at all, you’ve noticed that too many advertisers still labor under the impression that it’s a waste of their time to try for baby boomers’ business. They think we’re too old, too set in our ways. Oh how wrong they’ve been! Now, it looks like some are getting the message, as two writers explain for BoomerCafé. First, Kate Forgach points out how plenty of Super Bowl commercials this year will target US.
My father created the first “mute” button back in the 1960s by rewiring our television. Woe unto the child in our home who didn’t cut the sound during commercials. Dad might have made an exception, however, for Super Bowl ads. That’s the one show each year where marketing agencies really push the creative edge and, lately, seem to be targeting the desirable Baby Boomer demographic. Us!
It’s a wise move, considering that we control 75 percent ($7 trillion) of the total American households’ net worth. Even during the recession, we have accounted for a dramatic 40 percent of total consumer demand. Take that, 18-to-35-year-old demographic!
Enough advertisers have leaked commercials ahead of time that it’s easy to see how they’re targeting us without losing younger audiences. Perhaps the biggest trend I’ve spotted is a harkening back to Baby Boomer touchstones.
- Both Volkswagen and Lipton are using “Star Wars” themes.
- Kia’s “Drive the Dream” ad prominently features the Motely Crüe hair band.
- Honda is promoting its CR-V model using a cross-generational reference to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” in an ad starring Matthew Broderick.
- Hyundai also goes for cross-pollination in its “All For One” ad featuring a wise Boomer trying to inspire a youthful “can’t do” co-worker with the “Rocky” theme.
Another trend is to more prominently feature high-profile Boomers who actually look their age, while still being pretty danged hot.
- Grey-haired and gorgeous John Slattery is pushing Lincoln’s new hybrid car.
- Diane Keaton is hawking L’Oreal skin care with the phrase, “We’re still worth it.”
- Hunkalicious George Clooney is featured in a French ad for a coffee-maker, proving this trend is international.
The trick is to strike the right note. Boomers don’t want to be stereotyped or condescended to, according to Brent Green, Baby Boomer expert and author of Generation Reinvention.
“They want validity,” Green says. “Few are frivolous or impulsive in their buying choices; rather, they are deliberate with a seasoned sense of themselves. They’re set to shatter traditional assumptions about the sixth and seventh decades of life.”
An article in The Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business nails down how we like to be approached. Positive angles include talking about the good life, self-expression, individualism, everyday low prices, and environmentally intelligent lifestyles. Words to avoid include “aging,” “establishment,” “mature,” or anything related to seniors.
Kate Forgach is Content Editor for FreeShipping.org. A middle-of-the-pack Baby Boomer, she wrote for USA Today, the Detroit News and the New Orleans Times-Picayune before turning to online journalism.