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About Brent Green

  • About Brent Green
    This blog is about Baby Boomer consumers and how to sell to them through marketing and advertising. I am a marketing consultant and author of two business books: "Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers: Perceptions, Principles, Practices, Predictions" and "Generation Reinvention: How Boomers Today Are Changing Business, Marketing, Aging and the Future." I also present workshops and give speeches about the Boomer generation and business strategies. My company, Brent Green & Associates, Inc., is an internationally award-winning firm specializing in direct response marketing for health & fitness and Boomer-focused companies. Marketing to Boomers I welcome your comments and questions here. Please enjoy my blog commentary, which usually slides precariously on thin ice.

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    Lee Eisenberg is the author of "The Number," a title metaphorically representing the amount of resources people will need to enjoy the active life they desire, especially post-career. Backed by visionary advice from the former Editor-in-Chief of "Esquire Magazine," Eisenberg urges people to assume control and responsibility for their standard of living. This is an important resource for companies and advisors helping Boomers prepare for their post-career lives.
  • Kim Walker
    Kim Walker is a respected veteran of the communications industry in Asia Pacific, with 30 years of business and marketing leadership experience in Australia, Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York. His newest venture is SILVER, the only marketing and business consultancy focused on the 50+ market in Asia Pacific. He has been a business trends and market identifier who had launched three pioneer-status businesses to exploit opportunities unveiled by his observations.
  • Hiroyuki Murata
    Hiroyuki Murata (Hiro) is a well-known expert on the 50+ market and an opinion leader on aging issues in Japan and internationally. Among his noteworthy accomplishments, Murata introduced Curves, the world’s largest fitness chain for women, to Japan and helped make it a successful business. He is also responsible for bringing the first college-linked retirement community to Japan, which opened in Kobe in August 2008. Hiro is the author of several books, including "The Business of Aging: 10 Successful Strategies for a Diverse Market" and "Seven Paradigm Shifts in Thinking about the Business of Aging." They have been described as “must read books” by more than 30 leading publications including Nikkei, Nikkei Business, Yomiuri, and Japan Industry News. His most recent book, "Retirement Moratorium: What Will the Not-Retired Boomers Change?" was published in August 2007 by Nikkei Publishing. Hiro serves as President of The Social Development Research Center, Tokyo, a think-tank overseen by METI (Ministry of Economy, Technology, and Industry) as well as Board members and Advisors to various Japanese private companies. He also serves as a Visiting Professor of Kansai University and as a member of Advisory Boards of The World Demographic Association (Switzerland) and ThirdAge, Inc. (U.S.).
  • Generation Jones
    Jonathan Pontell is the founder and ardent advocate for Generation Jones, the "lost" generation between Baby Boomers and Generation X. Although this group has traditionally been lumped with Boomers, Pontell makes a powerful case to redefine this cohort as distinct from the Baby Boomer Generation.

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    April 22, 2013


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    Todd Harff - Creating Results

    Brent, once again I enjoyed your post. The three avenues you outlined, Ageless, Lifestage and Generational, are all potentially useful and dangerous. The challenge is to know which approach best matches the essence of the brand and will be most motivating to the target audience. I particularly agree that the most effective marketing is exclusionary, even Ageless Marketing which excludes based on values versus age. In order to be compelling to a specific target audience, you can’t appeal to everyone. You need to have the confidence that you know your target market and are using the right approach.

    As an early GenX almost trailing Boomer, I think that Generational marketing is most effective with Leading Age Boomers and agree with Chuck’s comments about the importance of avoiding the shallow stereotypes when attempting to strike an emotional response from a cohort.

    Brent Green

    Our colleague Joe Pine, who wrote the business bestseller, "Authenticity," might answer your question this way. Fake becomes faux when we instill something once thought of as non-genuine with new meaning. While Eddie was literally a con-kid, he can be remembered now as representative of a generation's "Leave It to Beaver" era. The visceral qualities of his character matter less now that he's become just another metaphor for the halcyon 1950s and the homogenized, mass-market appeal of TV programming of that time. When I saw this ad, I didn't connect so much with Eddie, the fake persona, as I did with the TV series and all the characters, evoking distinct memories of my youth and watching this weekly sit-com. I also thought of St. Joseph brand in a new, refreshed way.

    I still believe that advertising critics rarely know the results of these branding campaigns. As David Ogilvy famously concluded, "It's not creative if it doesn't sell." We usually only address the aesthetics, which I embrace when we see ads that are blatantly ageist or totally derogatory of our generation.

    What if this campaign has significantly moved the needle in terms of brand preference, sales and top-of-mind recognition? Most critiques then become irrelevant – just a matter of opinion: I like it, you don't.

    Some pundits criticized the Ameriprise Financial campaign of several years ago that evoked Boomer youth and rebellious times -- you know the vignette TV spot that included a cover of Steve Winwood's "Gimme Some Lovin’." They also featured the late Dennis Hopper (evoking memories of the movie "Easy Rider") in another couple of spots. I have always maintained that this Boomer nostalgia campaign established a national brand from scratch, thanks also to significant advertising reach and frequency, and during the year of its debut, stock prices for Ameriprise soared.

    Matt Thornhill

    On the use of Eddie Haskell, here's another perspective.

    Why would a genuine and authentic brand use a character famous for being superficial and fake?

    Just a thought.

    Brent Green

    The St. Joseph twist that takes this spot away from the typical celebrity pitch involves connecting its aspirin brand with Eddie Haskell, not Ken Osmond (a name few would remember). Eddie is a character connected to our most impish days of youth -- the kind of kid we might have hung around with to the chagrin of our parents. And you are correct, Mr. Nyren, I did advise in "Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers" to consider nostalgic connections with the more halcyon days of the late-fifties to mid-sixties before “the revolution” began in earnest. To me it still comes down to the integrity of the ad concept and execution, marketing technique notwithstanding. We rarely learn how well any ad has performed by hard measures, so it's always a bit speculative to either condemn or applaud an ad on creative resonance alone. I always want to know the numbers, but they're hard to capture; for competitive reasons, companies don't like to share big wins or losses.

    Gill Walker, CEO Evergreen Advertising, Australia

    Brent. You hit the nail on the head. With over 10 years experience of advertising to boomers and seniors, you're right harnessing 'collective life stage events' are incrediably powerful catalysts to reach the heart and minds of boomers. It's interesting as we see the boomers look at retirement village options they are more interested to look at retirement living where they have friends with common interests for that life stage, (such as the arts, sexualaity, past careers, alumuni) rather than distance to family.

    Chuck Nyren

    When I talk about not using nostalgia - it started with the spate of campaigns invoking the late sixties political and social upheavals with music and images - somehow relating it all to financial planning, adult diapers, etc. Pretty stupid and insulting.

    I believe it was someone named Brent Green who opined (paraphrasing): If you want to reach baby boomers with nostalgic music, use the music from the late 1950s, early 1960s. That's when we were young children, early teens. It was innocent times and the music was cheerful and happy and brings back good memories - not political, conflicting ones.

    Leave It To Beaver reflects that earlier time period. The St. Joseph's spot is fine with me. My mixed feelings about it have to do with most Boomers not really trusting actors and celebrities as spokespeople (there is research on this somewhere on my blog).

    However, pushing low-dose aspirin is practically a public service announcement. Ken Osmond isn't selling real estate in Florida or some miracle anti-aging cure.

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