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  • About Brent Green
    This blog is about Baby Boomers and our impact on business, society, and culture, today and in the future. Here I explore many themes relevant to those of us on a thoughtful journey to reinvent the future of aging. I am a consultant and author of six books, including "Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers: Perceptions, Principles, Practices, Predictions." I present workshops and give keynote speeches about the intersection of the Boomer generation, business, aging, and societal transformations. My company, Brent Green & Associates, Inc., is an internationally award-winning firm specializing in building brands and forming successful commercial relationships with Boomers through the unique power of generational marketing. Marketing to Boomers I welcome your comments and questions here. This blog is a continuing conversation that began in June 2005, and I'll appreciate hearing from you.

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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.).

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    « Boomers and the Future of Hospice | Main | The LOHAS Forum and the Future of Conscience Consumerism »

    June 03, 2009

    Comments

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    Carolyn Barbre

    Doing some fact checking on Bacardi for my novel set in the '60s and came upon your site. The hero has just returned from Bermuda where he was writing a story about the Bacardi rum business for an upscale men's magazine where he writes a regular column. Bacardi thanks him by sending back a case of rum which he is sharing with his friends in Greenwich Village. In walks this beautiful leggy photographer(Nikon camera around neck)with flowing brunette hair. Their eyes meet for the first time. He offers her a ?

    Should it be a mojito? I don't recall mojitos in the '60s. Cuba Libres, yes. Are there marketing possibilities here? Would you like to read the book?

    Brent Green

    Andie,

    One of my fundamental points is that advertising both reflects and shapes our cultural narratives. If it had not been for over-representation of minorities in advertising targeting a Caucasian-dominated majority, ads today might not be as racially inclusive as they are. The Bacardi ad in question, with its obvious racial inclusiveness, is the byproduct of decades of advertising that became more racially inclusive following the sixties. What you might consider as "normal" was revolutionary when I was your age. My call is for age inclusiveness, as well, not just in the name of social justice, but also reflecting the pragmatic facts that one in three American adults will be over age 50 next year and that 50+ consumers control 70% of the nation's wealth. Would you have been any less enthusiastic about the Bacardi ad if the club crowds included, say, a dozen actors over age 50? I doubt you would have even noticed. But failure to include older adults in a setting full of hundreds of consumers is obvious, especially to those of us over 50. Age segregation is so 20th century, which was the last century in which the young outnumbered the old in developed countries. One day you'll be over 50, and when that time comes, I doubt that you'll appreciate being marginalized from mainstream consumer marketing as if at age 50 you just became irrelevant.

    Andie

    I think you have a thoughtful analysis of the commercial, which I truly enjoyed (being under 30 and all). However, advertising is now about representing reality, it's about getting people to buy the product. What this ad does more effectively than others I've seen is that it evokes a latent idealism in 20 year old consumers. Until recently, the idealism that members of my generation had lay dormant, awaiting release. With the recent inauguration of Obama and a resurgence in new wave counter culture, this ad pulls at my heart strings and invites me in. It makes me believe that a world without racism exists and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside watch the images coupled with the nostalgic music of my childhood. The fact that it's for rum is irrelevant. All that it needed to do was invite me to watch the ad and it did its job. Kudos to the creative people who put it together!

    Richard Adler

    Kaiser's "Thrive" campaign is a shining example of positive messages that are "selling" health promotion. The campaign has been creative and upbeat, with a consistent use of humor in almost all of the messages (other ads in the series do include younger people).

    Interestingly, the campaign is not directly promoting Kaiser, but rather has focused on encouraging people -- non-members as well as members -- to do the everyday things they need to do to stay fit & healthy. "Old Woman" is the first ad in the series I have seen or heard that explicitly focuses on "age" - but it makes perfect sense in the broader context of Kaiser's ongoing Thrive campaign.

    I am not aware of any studies that attempt to measure the impact of the campaign in changing health-related behaviors. I'd be interested to find out if Kaiser has done any assessments.

    Brent Green

    Patrick,

    Thank you for sharing the Kaiser ad as a good counterpoint to the Bacardi ad. It's interesting that both ads rely on contemporary music and emerging folk-rock artists to convey deeper brand messages.

    Someone could criticize the Kaiser ad for not depicting young adults, other than in a photo held by one woman showing her former self. Of course this ad specifically targets older women with a specific service, while the Barcardi ad portrays a product that all age groups can -- and do -- enjoy.

    When does an advertiser have an obligation to be inclusive? When is an ad so finely targeted to a specific group that only a small demographic segment will even care who is in the ad?

    Patrick Roden

    Brent, Have you seen the recent ad from Kaiser Permanente: Do you want to be an old woman? This campaign is bold and brilliant in that it flies in the face of conventional wisdom in several important ways:
    1) Marketers will tell you to shy away from using terms like “old” or “aging” when selling to boomers and beyond.
    2) The traditional medical model has emphasized “sick-care” not “health-care.”

    This ad turns conventional wisdom on its head and has the audacity of hope (thanks Mr. President) to ask the question straight out: Do you want to be an old woman? It’s NOT about anti-aging—in fact it’s just the opposite. Emphasizing prevention (get a mammogram) so you can live long enough to BECOME AN OLD WOMAN and experience all the unknown experiences (territories) awaiting you.

    This is about “compressing morbidity” and extending health—not just extending life. And the message is delivered with the soulful sound-track of Michelle Shocked – When I Grow Up. This ad demonstrates a deeper understanding of human behavior and respects the maturing psyches of women who are living fully within their age.
    See video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVR3EiwSgwI

    anon

    I'm not sure every advertisement needs to portray every age demographic equally. Also, including more older people would undermine the veracity of the nigh club scene, as most dance clubs are primarily populated by people under 40. On a more fundamental level, our culture has idealized youth for longer than the Baby Boomers have even been alive, so we shouldn't be surprised when our advertising does the same.

    Brent Green

    I'm sorry this ad might drive you to drink, Carol, but please be discrete about it: Bacardi would not want an imbibing, party-crashing Boomer woman to skew its core consumer demos older. ;-}

    Carol Orsborn

    Hi Brent,
    Great blog. It's enough to make this Boomer woman want to take a drink.

    Carol

    Mike Garland

    Brent,

    Just found your blog. Social justice will soon become a big deal as more missteps create a backlash against Bacardi and others.

    Nice website. I agree on the recommendation to read "The Number". It should be required reading for anyone over 40.

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