TV networks could care less about a baby boomer audience

Some days, we’re in a fighting mood here at BoomerCafé and today’s one of those days, which is why we’re treating you to certified life coach and marketer David Kanegis’s take on TV. From Fort Lee, New Jersey, Dave gives us an important warning: Don’t Get Caught Watching The Blacklist!

Baby Boomers, as I write this, NBC’s The Blacklist starring James Spader is the top rated network television drama. Don’t destroy it by letting any entity, human or digital, know that you are viewing this highly acclaimed program.

blacklist_logoSo boomers, beware: only watch The Blacklist on a TV, computer, or mobile device owned and registered to someone 18-49 years of age.



But don’t take my word for it. Examine NBC’s history.

A couple of years back, NBC cancelled its highest rated dramatic program Harry’s Law.

In your Boomer naiveté you might wonder why a network would cancel a show that received the highest viewership of its entire line-up. I did at the time. As an Empowerment Life Coach, always seeking knowledge and insight, I researched and found the answer. Permit me to be blunt.


David Kanegis

David Kanegis

Harry’s Law was axed because there were too many ancient souls like you and me enjoying it. Advertisers don’t like us. We’re over 50. Their hearts only go pitter-patter when 18-49-year-olds watch shows they sponsor.

So please, take your tired old body with its creaky bones and visit your children or grandchildren and watch The Blacklist on their device (as long as they are over 18). If nothing else, it might be the only opportunity for face rather than text time with your loved ones. 🙂

Don’t be responsible for the cancellation of The Blacklist.

Perhaps now is the time to be stoic, build that raft, launch it in the ocean and drift off into the sunset.

But wait, here’s an alternative thought. Take Action!

Join the BBTVAC* (Baby Boomers TV Action Coalition).  Watch as many reality TV shows as you can stomach! Give them the high viewership that will guarantee they’ll be on the chopping block.


James Spader, actor and baby boomer.

James Spader, actor and baby boomer.

Jimmy, you are one of my favorite actors, so I beseech you not to watchyour show. You are too old. You’ll contribute to the cancellation of TheBlacklist, and be out of work. Don’t engage in self-destructive behavior.

Boomers, I thank you, and NBC and its parent company General Electric thank you on behalf of the stockholders.* (*Disclosure. This blogger does not currently hold a position in G.E.)

So here’s the lesson we can all take from this: give no one an excuse to slander us any more. Give back to society. Quietly walk off into the sunset. Ignore The Blacklist, thereby helping it run for enough seasons to go into syndication. Join together and use our might to ensure the continued production of quality TV programming for 18-49 year olds. They are the future!

On the other hand, we are about 76 million strong. We have power! We can use our numbers to create positive change, keep the economy chugging, and help those in need. Let’s harness our combined muscle to question, probe, innovate, and contribute to America’s continuing evolution as the world leader in democracy, freedom, and humanity.

We are Boomers — Hear us Roar!

[* BBTVAC apparently has no website]

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  1. Good Heavens, what’s happening? TV cancellation, NYT cancellation of their boomer blog too? But what IS going on? The statistics are clear-cut and a film like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a huge success – to the point that they are now filming a follow-up.

    I find all this very weird. Could it be because TV marketing is in the hands of men and women in their insecure 40s? A matter of generational envy?

  2. Dear Claude,

    What’s happening? A majority of programmers and marketing people have found – whether wittingly or not – that baby boomers are generally independent-minded. By and large, we don’t fall so easily for the trite and often meaningless rhetoric and clichés that marketers dish out.

    Commercial TV has become predictable and pedestrian. There is little that’s clever. Any programs of substance are often American style copies of British TV hits.

    PBS delivers the only solid and original programming today, in my opinion. But even they have little clue how to connect with baby boomers.

    Boomers are not generally people of a “herd mentality.” We are distinguished as people who think for ourselves, and we can spot “B*S” a mile away. So marketers follow an easier path of simply reaching more impressionable younger audiences. (i.e. have you seen the T-Mobile ads?)


  3. Thanks Rick. You certainly are not. The published excerpt here on (BoomerCafe ) from your book totally captivated me. I highly recommend it to all who enjoy recollections of youth, written in an easy and comfortable style.

  4. Excellent article and unfortunately too true. If I watch a show, it seems I seal its doom. My lady and I were among those who loved “Harry’s Law” and also watch “The Blacklist.”

    We find the same mindset in the travel industry. Boomers and Seniors are the ones spending the most money on leisure and travel – we have the statistics. Yet many times we are ignored by the marketers. I believe a lot of these folks are in the younger demographic of 19 – 49 and clueless of the customers that they are losing with their approach.

    In the travel area that is what we are addressing in the Boomer Travel Patrol with our theme “Travel Views from the fun side of 50.”

    I agree with Eric – I also am not going quietly into the night!


  5. Hi Ria,

    I can try to answer you from two perspectives because I’m both a Baby Boomer as well as a marketing consultant/copywriter:) Although, I most enjoy the Life Coaching it only makes up about 60% of what I do.

    As we are now in a digital age there is so much information about people available to marketers it boggles the mind.

    Years ago direct marketers (I was one of them) would target people through the mail. I’m not referring to tree wasting, pieces that were blindly sent with no idea of whether the recipient had any interest at all.

    Quite the contrary, it was a somewhat arduous, but well thought out approach of buying lists of people with a well proven affinity for what you were marketing. So, for example, If a company wanted to sell very high end gold equipment, they would use a direct marketing consultant (like me) to work with them and define the demographics and psychographics of their ideal customer. Once that had been determined, we would look at the thousands of lists available for rental

    There were, and still are lists like these. It was a very sophisticated process if you knew what you were doing. Many marketers didn’t. In the golfing example we would rule out compiled lists. Those were lists compiled from public data.

    We would only use lists of buyers of the same type or similar sporting equipment. We might then rule out those that hadn’t purchase through the mail. Remember when any product you bought came with a Warranty Card. It asked you all these personal questions. Believe it or not, a great many people filled them in.

    However, if the source of the list was from Warranty Cards we would rule it out. That’s because years ago it was more likely they had purchased their product in a brick and mortar establishment… no in a virtual on-line one. So there was no history of how they shopped.

    We would go to rented lists of direct mail purchasers or people with a proven record of interest in golf.. But it didn’t stop there. For example, we might set up a criteria that stated, we will mail to people that have subscribed to at leasgt 4 of 6 publications that matched our target demographic/psychographic. What in those days was a sophisticated process:) called a mail merge was done. We paid a List Broker a fee for doing the technical end and only providing us with those names that met our criteria.

    Sophisticated marketers would have to pay more for the names than if they just purchased them directly from a list. However, now if we were selling some specialized golf product at a certain price point, we knew that we were at the very least mailing to someone who was interested in golf. (There was a lot more to this, but I am probably boring you already:)

    Many people might back in the day have called this unsolicited mail “junk mail.” However, it would rarely be someone who was truly a qualified prospect for the product. And of course everything was tracked, and percentage of response as well which creative package (we would test many… the one that worked best was called the control) was providing the most response.

    In any event, Ria, my point is that sophisticated direct marketer used the tools that were available in the 1980’s and used a sharpshooter as opposed to a buckshot approach to reaching a target market. It was and still is a legitimate form of marketing.

    By the way (for the record) I consulted but did very little of that kind of mail. 95% of my mail pieces (the one’s I wrote the copy for and physically produced, using freelance designers, mailhouses, etc.) went out to existing customers of a company or a bank and attempted to interest them in other products.

    As contraindicated as it may seem for a Life and Corporate coach, most of my client’s were casinos. And with only one exception every piece of mail was going to existing customers. My specialty is building loyalty. Now, I’ll be writing a piece about that some time because I struggle all the time to help clients understand you don’t build loyalty just by giving away freebies. At a casino, or an airlines, or a car rental, or a restaurant etc., it’s all about the total entertainment or transaction experience.

    So for example, if an individual visits a casino (perhaps because they are using a 2 for 1 buffet they were offered as a result of their previous visit) what most marketers don’t understand, nor do the operations people… every interaction the customer has is important. Was the valet unfriendly? Were the restrooms dirty? If they played slots, did it take 1/2 hour before a server came and offered them a beverage?

    With an Amazon… who really gets it right (except when the horrifying way they treat warehouse workers was revealed a few years ago) transactions usually go very smoothly and when they don’t the situation is always rectified in a prompt and courteous manner.

    I have digressed:))

    Today, because of tracking and cookies and a total invasion of privacy, most people’s on-line browsing and purchasing activity is readily available.

    There is a phenomenon known as contextual advertising. Say I visit a resort site, an ad for another competitors resort or related product or service will pop up. I find it very disconcerting. Even with Amazon. For a month after I make a purchase, when I sign in to Yahoo mail, there are ads for items I’ve purchased. They are making no bones about it. they know me and are targeting me.

    In the the good old days, we never said, Dear Mr. Johnson, we know you like golf, we know you subscribe to Golf Digest, etc. and that’s why we are mailing you . It was far more subtle.

    Today it’s insidious and far worse. For example Google (although not allegedly reading your e-mails) will run a program for key words to help them target ads to you when you sign on.

    What’s worse most publications won’t even let you register on-line (so you can comment) unless you do so through Facebook or some other social media. At which point you are giving them license to access your account, your contacts, etc. This is OK in my opinion, but only if they also give you the option to register simply using your own private e-mail. allows you to do this. They are one of the good guys.

    Basically Ria, if you want to avail yourself of all the wealth the Internet offers, you must give up a great deal of privacy. It’s why I don’t visit some sites that have great articles and information.

    Unless there is legislation to deal with this, I believe it will spiral out of control. Scarier to me is that young people today are so free giving their personal information out and exposing their personal lives so freely on the Internet. It’s already come back and bit some in the butt when job hunting. In fact most recruiters will tell you they look at applicants social network accounts.

    To me this is not progress. Just because we have the capability to do something doesn’t mean we should.

    As regards marketers view of “older” individuals. There are some who recognize the value of Boomers. I once received a comment on an article from a Boomer Grandfather. He basically said, (paraphrase) ” My Daughter and Granddaughter live with me. Where to these advertiser think they get the money to spend?”

    I think there are very big societal issues that need to be addressed about the 76+ million Baby Boomers and our role in society. Marketing is just one small facet of it. To me it’s all about mindset, people’s financial concerns and so much more.

    Baby Boomers have lived for at least a half century. Some of us must possess useful information that can help the generations that follow. That’s logical isn’t it?

    I’ll end by saying that even though Boomer’s are a diverse group… just as the AARP has become so strong and influential, we need to address real social issues, and unite and exert our combined strength.

    Sorry for the incredibly long response… but as you hit a couple of areas I both work in and feel passionate about, I couldn’t help myself. I felt compelled to answer:))

    I will tell you that aside from my receiving such personal satisfaction from helping people I coach, the new wave of marketing techniques (of which I am quite aware) offend me and I don’t want to participate. Consequently, I pretty much only engage in the specialty of loyalty building which crosses both marketing and coaching!

    Thanks so much for reading my article, commenting and then reading this long response.

    Take care. Dave

  6. Hi Don,

    Thanks for your comment and I will make a point to review your travel observations. They sound very interesting.

    Try writing a screenplay with a sophisticated message that may take a few minutes to develop the backstory and plot. How old do you think the first readers at production houses are? What if your concept is totally incomprehensible to them based upon lack of life experience?

    In the TV industry they say if you are over 30 don’t even bother to try and right for television.

    And as far as building loyalty… which I addressed in my other response to Ria, most young people believe it’s all about the data. It dictates exactly how they communicate with customers. They don’t realize that leveraging the tried and true with the new usually nets a more satisfying result.

    I’m glad I don’t travel that much… I’m afraid if I was ignored I’d end up engaging in so much political activism I wouldn’t have time to earn a living:)

    Thank you for complementing my article and for your comments. Dave

  7. Hi Ria,

    I agree with most everything you wrote. I particularly dislike those ads, where you’ve been nice enough to click on them, but when you try to move away they make it very difficult.

    Also, I am curious (though I guess we will never know) why when on the Internet the ads you are receiving are not targeted.

    The only point upon which I have a different opinion regards large companies. While most huge company’s don’t have good customer service as you say… I believe it is from a lack of will or desire. Amazon is huge and has phenomenal customer service.

    So I believe that these large company’s really don’t care because often they feel they have no real competition. Look at Verizon. The individuals with whom I speak are very nice. Their corporate policies like “Optimization of Grandfathered Clients” is about as anti-loyalty building as one can be. However, I use Verizon because they offer the best coverage in my area.

    If anyone else offered equal coverage… I’d change carriers in a second.

    Thanks again for your comments Ria.

    Take care.


  8. Dave:

    Thanks for your comments on my advertising concerns. Re: the poorly targeted ads, somewhere, sometime, I must have gone to a strange website by accident or something and that data seems fixed in my “profile.”

    I totally agree with you regarding Amazon. They are a good example of a super large company that provides good customer service. I can say that from experience. My interactions with Amazon, and there have been many, over the years have been exemplar.

    Building loyalty, yeah, that’s the key. Good point.

    Keep writing, Ria

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