Latest News & Insights from the Boomer Project
Valentine's Day is upon us already. If you're
lucky enough to be in the radio universe of "Build-a-
Bear Workshops," you've been inundated with ads
suggesting your honey would love a custom-made
bear sent via overnight delivery in time for Monday's
I dunno, I'm thinking jewelry might be better.
Three things to share this month:
First, some results from the Boomer Marketing
Report, done with the help of Survey
Sampling International. We'll share some findings
on how Boomers over 50 responded to a mock ad for
a bank. There are lessons to learn which apply to
Second, we have taken a close look at some
research on Boomers and their use of technology.
The Pew Internet & American Life Study
some ammunition for anyone targeting Boomers online.
Finally, an advertiser who seems to be getting it.
MasterCard is running an ad in magazines
targeting older consumers that isn't age-based, but
lifestage based. We give them a "Boomie" this month.
Meanwhile, at Boomer Project headquarters,
finding ourselves busy these days just handling calls
press. Seems interest in what's happening
with Boomers and advertising is growing. Visitors to
our Web site have doubled in recent weeks, also
suggesting that awareness of this topic is
As subscribers, consider yourselves ahead of the
Our goal is this effort has been not to enlighten
marketers to the opportunity, but to help them
determine how to make the most of it. We'll leave it
to others to wax on about the situation. We'll focus
on about the implications for marketers - and help
them develop strategies and tactics to succeed with
Boomers over 50.
Let us know if we can help you.
The Boomer Project
Targeting Boomers Over 50
In the November 2004 wave of the Boomer
Marketing Report, we tested ads for different
financial services products. We wanted to learn if
Boomers would respond more positively to ads that
were lifestage-based instead of age-based.
We also wanted to learn if an ad with more of
an "emotionally-meaningful" message would resonate
stronger than a more factual message.
The ad we constructed to be lifestage based and
more emotionally-meaningful was this ad for a
checking account for customers over 50 (although
we never actually provide the age restriction). Click
on the ad to read it.
We tested it against a more traditional bank ad with
the age restriction in the headline.
Boomers of all ages, both male and female,
responded to the "Amy" ad much better than the
more factual, informational age-based ad. The
age-based ad did appeal to Boomers over 50,
they knew the ad was specifically for them. But
Boomers under 50 hated the age-based ad, knowing
it wasn't speaking to them.
Seven out of ten Boomers graded the "Amy" ad either
an "A" or a "B" on "Appealing" and "Ability to Get Your
Attention." Importantly, across all measures, more
than six out of 10 graded the ad an "A" or a "B."
And we know they responded to the story nature of
the copy because we got twice as many comments
on this ad than any other ad tested. Boomers put
themselves in the picture -- those under 50 identified
the man as the girl's father, and those over 50 said
the man was the girl's grandfather. The copy is
actually unclear -- intentionally -- on the relationship
between the two.
The lessons, though, are clear. To attract more
Boomers, focus on lifestage not age. Use
emotionally-meaningful concepts, pictures and
communicate your facts wrapped in a story.
Boomers and the Internet
It's been a little over 10 years since Netscape was
first made available for download. And using the
Internet has never been the same.
Internet and American Life Project has been
tracking usage of the Internet since the beginning.
Their site is a treasure trove of information about
how we use the Web and the Internet.
For those of us interested in reaching Boomers
online, there's information that should
to keep at it. For example, now over 60% of all
Boomers are regular users of the Internet. Not as
high a percentage as younger adults and teens, but
still a growing majority.
Importantly, a key segment of Internet users, some
20% according to Pew, are what they call "Older
Wired Boomers." Pew's description:
Older Wired Baby Boomers: This group is 6%
population, is mostly male,
and has an average age of 52 years. These people
spend the most money per month
of any group (an average of $175), 100% have
Internet access, and most (82%) have
cell phones. They are very active information
gatherers online, especially when it
comes to news and work-related research, and they
rate high when it comes to online
Two particularly interesting and relevant reports from
Pew can be found here and here.
You want to do an ad targeting Boomers over 50 but
you don't want to use age in your headline. And
you're worried about showing your target in an ad
because they see themselves much, much younger
than they actually are, making casting impossible.
What can you do?
If you're MasterCard, you use your brain.
You target a lifestage of Boomers over
50, "grandparent," and you don't show the target
audience, but the grandkid.
Click to read the ad.
So this month's "Boomie" goes to MasterCard.