We can critically analyze many ramifications of “advertising to Baby Boomers” by surveying the fields of consumer psychology, generational sociology, cultural anthropology, and age demographics.
We can seek informed authorities on psychosocial development, cohort effects, life-stage interventions, brain changes due to aging, and emotional processing. We can do all this just to warm up.
We can also flip off all the left-brain analysis for a moment and just take a look at some ads that have powerful branding energy. So I’ve selected two ads for your viewing enjoyment, ads built around a rock ‘n’ roll spirit. Ads successfully reaching through media clutter to make consumers stop and take notice.
Released within weeks of this post, the second ad has also caused me to feel the rush of “my music,” featuring a signature hit rock song from Blue Oyster Cult, “Burnin’ for You.”
If you’re interested in further dissecting how to create effective automotive advertising targeting Boomers, perhaps I should first reiterate why you should think about it. Boomers are responsible for over half of all luxury car sales. According to a recent article in Barron’s magazine:
The median age of all luxury-car buyers is 52, by some estimates, and shoppers 50 or older account for the highest proportion of purchases or leases of luxury-car makers’ most expensive models; they have worked the longest, have accumulated the most assets and have money to spend on themselves.
Here are some thoughts about why Lincoln MKS may be squarely hitting the Boomer branding bulls-eye:
1) Lincoln MKS adds emotional catharsis to the spots by employing hit classic rock music from significant artists, including David Bowie and Blue Oyster Cult. Classic rock music can get our attention.
2) However, the music beds don’t just replay the old music; they update these tunes with performances by cover artists who deliver exciting new interpretations, and therefore bring new life to these old songs.
3) My colleague Chuck Nyren, author of the seminal Advertising to Baby Boomers, has often commented that classic rock music can be a deterrent to effective Boomer advertising since the music potentially pulls the viewer’s mind into a state of nostalgic rumination, causing the receiver to completely ignore the ad’s sponsor or purpose. (Great tune... but I’m now thinking about 1969 and a former girlfriend who symbolizes that song in my life.) This can be true, and Chuck has made a very astute observation, so…
4) Lincoln successfully integrates enormously powerful visual imaging with flawless editing to render the songs organic to the overall message gestalt. These ads create a state of suspense for viewers, making us want to keep watching. The television spots drive viewers forward with the speed they can expect from a Lincoln MKS.
5) The second ad featuring the Blue Oyster Cult tune centers its appeal on a mysterious new technology called “EcoBoost.” Although in 30 seconds we don’t know what this means, for those of us who are trying to incorporate “conscience consumerism” into our lives (and Boomers over-represent this burgeoning LOHAS market segment) probably the mere suggestion of new ecological advantages to be found in a Lincoln MKS 2010 is enough to inspire wanna-be Tesla owners (who can’t afford the hip car) to jump online for more details.
Lincoln MKS has, in my opinion, aptly demonstrated how to create a branding overlay that’s nuanced to attract Boomers but certainly can be seen as appealing to others who didn’t grow up with David Bowie and Blue Oyster Cult. We see great visual effects integrated with damn good rock music, leaving viewers with the simple impression that these cars are hot to trot.
I hope you enjoyed the Lincoln MKS ads as much as I do. If you did or did not, please let me know what you think.
For those of you who have become accustomed during the last year to reading blog articles here that are more like longer essays, I decided this time to give both of us a break. But if you’re interested in reading more, take a look at my newest article on Huffington Post about how age discrimination in the workplace can and shall be overcome (we hope).