Nothing makes a Boomer feel more discouraged than being forgotten. And yet, as Boomers age out of the key 18- to 49-year-old market, advertisers are leaving their most valuable market segment behind. Boomers account for 50% of consumer spending and are the top consumer demographic. This is a huge opportunity left on the table.
What's more disheartening is when brands do target Boomers, they completely miss the mark. As Peter Hubbell, CEO of the BoomAgers ad agency and author of The Old Rush: Marketing for Gold in the Age of Aging explained, "Everybody thinks aging people are trying to feel younger, but they're simply trying to stay current."
When marketers get it right, it makes all the difference.
Toyota's 2011 Venza"Keep on Rolling" commercial turns a classic stereotype on its head. It features a Boomer couple out on a mountain biking trip while their adult child worries about their lack of friends on Facebook. The connotation of "keeping on rolling" through a new stage of life paired with the active lifestyle depicted in the commercial matches well with Boomer's perspective that their age enables a more rich and full life. The commercial also lightly pokes fun at the Millennial generation's more technology-enabled relationships by highlighting the liveliness of in-person relationships compared to their kid's alone time in front of her laptop.
Using the example of police officer turned voiceover artist, Prudential's more recent "Chapter Two" commercial describes retirement as the opportunity to pursue a whole new chapter. Positioned as a exciting opportunity, retirement is not the end of period of life but rather than the beginning of a new one. For a brand that sells product to reduce risk, positioning themselves as aligned with exciting new stages of life is a smart contrast.
J.L. Powell, a men's clothing brand cited as a favorite of Hubbell's, is a surprise winner for the male Boomer demographic. Without explicitly saying that Boomer men are their target demographic, J.L. Powell's website features well aged, good-looking men described as "adventurous spirits." And, with rugged and stylish-but-timeless attire, their clothes would make any Boomer feel more alive.
And of course, another brand that speaks to Boomers best is AARP. Rather than pigeonhole them as aging and inactive folks, AARP recognizes and celebrates the active lives and ever-changing needs of Boomers. AARP’s multiplatform content on work, relationships, travel and more speaks to an audience that is recareering, revitalizing, and retiring (for lack of a better term) the stereotype of stagnant Boomers.
All of these brands build upon Boomer's notions that retirement is time for them to explore and build new roads in life. Advertisers looking to stay on top of trends and to grow revenues would be wise to focus more on the Boomer demographic.
Shelagh Daly Miller
VP, Group Publisher, AARP Media Advertising Network