Tuesday, April 29, 2008

PLEASE! 6 things to avoid when doing ads for boomers

1. No more peace signals with the two fingers. When was the last time you saw anybody make this gesture, except at a bar signalling for another round.

2. No more visuals of 60s VW buses decorated with daisies. According to adverts today, you'd think that's what everyone drove in the 60s when, actually, they were so rare that when one passed you on the highway, you rolled (!) down the window gave it the peace sign.

3. No more shots of boomers playing golf. Surprise! Not every boomer flush enough to buy your product wants to be out on the green. This also goes for boomers climbing mountains. Why can't art directors think of anything else for us to do?

4. Enough with lines like The Generation That Refuses to Get Old. Aside from those of us spending way too much in cosmetic surgeon's offices trying to fend off Time (which, alas, fools no one as the same youthifying procedures don't exist for hands and legs, those telltale signs of actual age)--we're OK with getting older, which after all is better than the alternative.

5. Why do all models in print ads for boomers seem to be laughing hysterically, when the headlines are all so painfully earnest? Better idea: make the ads funny (we've got a sense of humor, remember); and let the models relax.

6. Speaking of models, when looking for a spokeshead, you can give us someone younger than we are without us thinking "Gee, that person is in his forties, so obviously the target for that product can't be me." As John Barker pointed out recently in a post on this subject in Ad Age, it's best to aim younger, not older with Boomers, just like it's smart to aim older when targeting kids.

And that's my contribution today to the world of advertising.


Alan Wolk said...

Very nice post.

re: Peace Symbol: The Times ran an article about Jon Corzine (current governor of NJ) about how he'd flash the peace sign to colleagues when he worked at Goldman Sachs.

I was physically unable to vote for him as a result.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Ugh. But surely less objectionable than what NY's governor was flashing.

HighJive said...

the advertising industry uses stereotypical imagery to appeal to certain segments?!!! holy shit.

Anonymous said...

THAT is the print version of the hell spot I have a reward out for from Just For Men. If the Sunshine of Your Love cover wasn’t enough, the spot has that guy ending with a soon to be classic line: “Never trust anyone over 90.”

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@highjive-figured you'd be surprised.

@mtlb--LOL. What's next, marathoning centenarians--with really good hair?

Anonymous said...

I'd like every art director who uses a leaping silhouette in ads -- a la Matisse dancing cutout--targeted at celebrating incontinence or brittle bones to be boiled in Geritol. It goes back to the 60s 70s when every woman who was having a period donned her tightest whitest capri pants that week, or was bold enough to go in the swimming pool.

And can we talk about the hair dye that "just targets the gray?" Riggghhht, it doesn't look fake. Just turn on the 6:00 news and see every newscaster over 50 with deep mahogany-colored hair. Anyone seen Gene Shalit lately?