May 16, 2011

Someone's Been Reading This Blog

On August 1, 2007 The Ad Contrarian published its very first post. It was a momentous day in the great history of digital whining.

The post was called Aiming Low. It was about the massive stupidity of marketers who feel compelled to target young people because everyone around them is doing likewise. Since then I have whined and bellyached about this subject frequently.

Last week, The New York Times ran a piece called, In Shift, Ads Try to Entice Over-55 Set. The story is about the dimwits in the marketing industry who are finally starting to wake up after all these years. As I read the piece, I got the strange feeling I had read it all before. Or even worse, written it all before.

So I went back to some pieces I'd written called Culture LagThe Amazing Blindness of Marketers, and Beating Their Heads Against The Wall. I compared them to the ideas expressed in the NY Times piece. Here's what I found:

Ad Contrarian:
"In 1964, the first of these Baby Boomers turned 18. These people provided marketers with an astounding and unprecedented marketing opportunity... Forty years later, this is now an old way of thinking."
New York Times:
"After 40 years of catering to younger consumers, advertisers and media executives are coming to a different realization..."
Ad Contrarian:
"The social phenomenon called the Baby Boom required a new way of thinking."
 New York Times:
"This amounts to a reversal in thinking that took hold during the 1960s, when advertisers first started aiming for baby boomers..."
Ad Contrarian:
"Economics and demographics tell us that young people are no longer a terribly attractive target for most marketers."
 New York Times:
"...the reasons for the shift are not just demographic, they are economic." 
Ad Contrarian:
"For several years now, we at Ad Contrarian Global Headquarters have been ranting about the astonishing stupidity of marketers for relentlessly chasing young people and ignoring people over 50"
New York Times:
"For decades, television has been the most determined proselytizer on behalf of the premium value of reaching consumers aged 18 to 49..."
Ad Contrarian:
  • Baby boomers dominate 94% of all consumer packaged goods categories.
  • They purchase almost 40% of consumer packaged goods
  • They account for 1/3 of all TV viewers, online users, social media users and Twitter users.
  • Even in technology categories, where marketers assume young people dominate, baby boomers  "are purchasing at rates just as high as other segments, and because they are often buying for their kids, many are double-dipping." 
New York Times:
"Mature consumers also seem to be spending on categories not traditionally associated with older people... they spent more than the average consumer on categories like home improvement, large appliances, casual dining and cosmetics"

They have also become heavy spenders on electronics and digital devices. The study also showed that members of the 55-to-64 age group were just as likely as those ages 18 to 34 to have high-definition televisions, digital video recorders and broadband service.
Now the Times may be brilliant when they see things as I do. But if they believe for a second that because a few marketers have crawled out from their caves and seen the light of day there's going to be a mass realization in group-think-land that they've been wrong all these years, forget about it.

I'll stick with something I wrote six months ago:
"The marketing industry is locked into a way-out-of-date time warp in which young people are the holy grail...If anything, it's getting worse."

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