Generational News & Views Newsletter 3.31.09


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This is the March 2009 edition of the Luckie-produced Generational News & Views newsletter. It takes a quick topical look into the lives of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Y.

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Generational News & Views Newsletter 3.31.09

  1. 1. BOOMERS: 45 to 63 years old POPULATION: 78 million GENERATIONAL INSIGHT: The oldest Boomers (63) • 54% own a 401K • 49% have a traditional pension plan • 18% concerned about affording health care • 28% concerned with staying useful and productive in retirement Source: Metlife Boomer Bookends Study 2
  2. 2. The Rolling Stones aren’t washed up. Neither are Joan, Norm and Jon. The trio of New York Boomer characters ―joust with the 21st century‖ in 50 to Death, an online series told in five-minute webisodes. Season Two kicked off right after Super Bowl 2009 with ―Twisted,‖ guest-starring Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French. The running gag? Fanboy Jon doesn't believe the middle-aged guy in the business suit is really the wigged-out Jay Jay of yore. To expand the show’s appeal beyond its Big Apple milieu, director Jason Sokoloff and his cast are soliciting storylines from Boomer blogs like Time Goes By. Sure, Boomers are self-absorbed, but that doesn’t mean they can’t poke fun at themselves. Sending up their own solipsism is a big part of Joan, Norm and Jon’s appeal. Boomers aren’t about to be left behind in the techno revolution. Using the Web as the medium of their message shows they're down with all those twentysomething coders. Flogging the show in the blogosphere proves Boomers are also hip to the power of viral marketing. Source: Iconoculture and 50 to Death (picture) 3
  3. 3. Targeting Boomer men? Ditch the young male models. That’s what apparel company Haggar did in 2006, when it launched a new ad campaign that showed middle-aged guys the way they see themselves: ―dependable, capable, curious and family-oriented.‖ Before Haggar made its bold move, 55% of Boomer men claimed they never saw men’s clothing ads, despite the vast amount of money companies spend on them. Why? Ads featuring younger guys don't break through the clutter. By positioning clothes as a tool to signal competence, Haggar reversed a 10-year sales decline in 2.5 years, amping brand recognition from 39% in 2006 to 59% in 2008. Boomer men want to stay youthful-looking as much as their female counterparts. But that doesn’t mean they relate to male models half their age. Ads that speak their language are more likely to score. The way to a Boomer man’s heart is through his toolbox. Men buy clothing built to last for comfort and durability, which makes brands like Haggar more recession-resistant than haute couture labels. Source: Iconoculture and Haggar (picture) 4
  4. 4. In our work studying today’s Boomers we’ve come to accept one fact of aging: Cognition patterns become more right- brain oriented. The right brain, which processes memories and emotions, also works in sensory images, not words. If you want to communicate to the over-40 crowd, you need to do so emotionally and you need to do it with photos and images. We’re delighted to see this verified by some new work by Creating Results, of Woodbridge, Va. The strategic marketing firm recently published a study, ―Photo Finish,‖ to gauge how Americans 40 years and over respond to different types of images. Some of the key findings: • Single-image ad designs beat those featuring a collage style by a nearly two-to-one margin • Vibrant pictures with brighter colors and more expressive models beat those with subdued palettes and contemplative models • Lifestyle images are preferred to product shots • Candid photos edge out posed photos Source: 5
  5. 5. Marketing effectively to Baby Boomers now requires understanding how distinct segments have been affected by the drop in retirement fund and housing values and other economic fallout, as well as what messages resonate with each. Boomers fall into three basic attitudinal camps, according to Focalyst, a Millward Brown specialty division. Yesterday: One-quarter fall into the ―yesterday‖ attitudinal bucket, summed up by the statement: ―Life was better in the ’50s.‖ These individuals have been most affected by the economic downturn, and are concerned about an uncertain future. They tend to long for a simpler life, feel that they have not accomplished much, and remain relatively detached and ―disconnected from the grid.‖ Few express aspirational goals. Many (about 40%) report a decline in health. Messages that reassure these individuals that they are not alone, that many others are also struggling to make ends meet, and acknowledge and validate their long years of hard work may resonate with this group. Today: About 30% of Boomers are categorized as having a ―today‖ outlook, represented by the statement: ―We live in exciting times.‖ These individuals are confident, healthy, and satisfied with their lives and accomplishments. They have higher income levels, have planned well, and feel they have earned the right to an indulgent retirement. Messages for this group should appeal to their sense of success and a degree of vanity. Resonating themes include living the good life, embracing the moment, celebration of self and deserved indulgence. Tomorrow: The ―tomorrow‖ segment (45%) lives by the philosophy ―tomorrow will be better than today.‖ These individuals are ―spirited and spiritual,‖ and remain extremely optimistic despite recent financial or health setbacks. (About one in three has experienced a decline in health, but is ―managing through it proactively.‖) They have strong values and are highly connected to the community and to information. They feel young for their age, and eight in 10 are pursuing a life of challenge, novelty and change. Messages that resonate emphasize hopefulness/optimism, the promise of tomorrow, connection, giving back, religious themes/tie-ins, buying locally, and generally aspiring to a stable future, as opposed to ―retiring rich.‖ Source: 6
  6. 6. GEN X: 32 to 44 years old POPULATION: 53 million GENERATIONAL INSIGHT: ―Extremely‖ or ―very‖ concerned about: • 61% paying for unexpected, major expenses • 60% managing day-to-day expenses • 57% having too much debt • 52% paying off credit card balances • 52% having no/reduced income due to job loss Source: 2009 American Retirement Study by Scottrade 7
  7. 7. Foodies want nothing more than to cultivate sophisticated, healthy eaters. Now they have a social network to share tips, tricks and philosophies. Future Foodies of America was founded by Hsiao-Ching Chou, former food editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who has a 2-year-old daughter. The manifesto: ―Parents who believe in the imperative of teaching their children to have a holistic relationship with food that is as much about pleasure as it is about healthfulness and nutrition.‖ Its wildly popular Family Dining Series, co-created with online parent guide Red Tricycle, designates family-friendly nights at upscale Seattle restaurants like Tilth and Crémant. Laying the groundwork for a lifetime of good eats is serious business to modern parents. Being able to vent with and learn from each other is key to navigating the complex course. Restaurant lovers won’t let kids-in-tow stop them from dining out, but they always appreciate businesses that make them feel extra welcome. Source: Iconoculture and Future Foodies of America (picture) 8
  8. 8. For many families struggling with today’s economy, college tuition simply breaks the bank. Upromise, the largest private source of college funding contributions in America, is offering a creative opportunity for future, current and even recent graduates to win $10,000 toward a higher education. As part of its mission to help make a college education more attainable, Upromise recently launched its Tuition Tales video contest. ―Higher education is critical for building a better life and competing in a global economy, especially in challenging economic times,‖ said David Rochon, president of Upromise. ―Tuition Tales is another important way Upromise is helping Americans achieve their dream of a college education.‖ The video contest, which runs through May 3, encourages people to submit a 30-second video entry. The videos will be judged on quality, fit to theme and creativity. One contestant in each of three categories (Saving for College, In College Now and Paying it Back) will win $10,000 for college education expenses. Source: 9
  9. 9. According to the Marketing to Moms Coalition, mothers are responsible for 85% of all household spending because they influence purchasing for their work, themselves and all of their immediate and often extended family members. Yet, according to a survey of 1,000 moms nationwide, many don’t think marketers are doing a stellar job of connecting with them and many feel downright ignored. More than half of American moms don’t think ads are effective in connecting with them (54%), and less than one in five think ads are regularly targeting them (18%). Even more so among working moms, who make up the majority of moms in this country. Breaking it down further into segments, single moms (making up more than one in three American households) don’t think advertisers are trying to reach them, nor do the highest spending, wealthiest and most educated moms. So what do women want? Make them laugh and show them having fun with their family. Here are the top ad attributes cited in the survey: • Show mom having fun with her kids (87%) • Make me laugh (86%) – well ahead of ―pull at my heart strings‖ (64%) • Acknowledge my multitasking (86%) • Help me be healthier (78%) Source: 10
  10. 10. Here’s a Gen We twist on The New Propriety: Felix Doolittle now offers personalized playdate cards — for kids, not parents. Upon entering a new home for a playdate, wee ones can present their temporary hostess with their name as well as their guardian’s name, phone number and e-mail. They’re also perfect for passing out to new friends at the playground. Whimsical images set playdate cards apart, with graphics like giraffes, centaurs and slingshots. While Gen We may not be concerned with how well they’re outfitted, Millennial and Gen X parents love any chance to shower their little one with personalization and identity. Leaving behind a memorable, keepsake card makes future playdates more likely; including an e-mail address enhances the village experience of parents and guardians. Source: Iconoculture and Felix Doolittle (picture) 11
  11. 11. Toy manufacturer HaPe International has released the world’s first line of 100% bamboo toys. The line of toys, ranging from brightly colored building tiles to kiddie sized castle kits, was developed in partnership with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization. The toys are friendly even to sustainability sticklers because bamboo is a rapidly growing grass with easily renewable harvests. Building blocks have been a staple of childhood play since the Lincoln Log era. By revamping the concept for greener sensibilities, HaPe should capture the attention of both environmentally aware parents with a nostalgic side and their budding kiddie architects. Source: Iconoculture and HaPe International (picture) 12
  12. 12. GEN Y: 11 to 31 years old POPULATION: 84 million GENERATIONAL INSIGHT: The top three hopes/ dreams for the future are (in the following order): 1. Have one marriage partner for life 2. Have good physical health 3. Work in a career I love Source: Cassandra Report study of 14-32 year olds 13
  13. 13. Wanted: 100 ―socially-networked‖ Millennials. Job: Test-drive the 2010 Ford Fiesta and bring your friends along for the ride. Ford’s handing over the keys in exchange for spreading the word via social networking sites. More than 1,500 young hopefuls posted YouTube videos touting their awesomeness. Those chosen to join the Ford Fiesta Movement will get ―secret assignments‖ from Ford Mission Control and document their adventures for six months. The campaign targets consumers born between 1979 and 1995, expected to be the largest cohort of all U.S. drivers by 2010. Building fuel-efficient cars isn’t the only way to reinvent the auto industry. What better way to go viral than putting Millennials behind the wheel? No matter how great the buzz, not many young drivers can spring for a new car, especially in a recession. But branding begins with first impressions, and Fiesta’s off to a good start. Whether they’re amping in-car connectivity or Twittering sales campaigns, automakers who want to survive are reaching out to Millennials. Source: Iconoculture & Ford (picture) 14
  14. 14. More teens play online games than visit social networking sites. Also, the number of teens using e-mail has dropped significantly over the past four years. Those are among several of the more interesting nuggets contained in the latest report issued by The Pew Internet & American Life Project. The new report, Generations Online in 2009, found that despite the commonly held perception that teens live on sites like MySpace and Facebook, 78% of teens 12–17 play online games while just 65% use social networking sites. Pew found that those numbers diverge for the older segments of Gen Y, as just half of adults 18–32 play online games while 67% of them are on social networking sites. In general, teens and Generation Y are more inclined to use the Internet for fun than for utility–which perhaps also explains their diminishing interest in e-mail. ―These younger generations are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to seek entertainment through online videos, online games, and virtual worlds, and they are also more likely to download music to listen to later,‖ said the report. Source: 15
  15. 15. Research from Park Associates found that more than one-fourth of broadband users ages 18–24 are interested in having social media features integrated on their TV. The report, Social Media & User-Generated Content, found that multiplayer gaming, in-program chat and ―most watched‖ lists were among the most desired social extensions sought out by Gen Y respondents. This should come as welcome news to companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon and Netflix, all of whom are actively seeking ways to push the Web (and presumably our social networks) into our living rooms and onto our TV sets. This research also dovetails with other research findings that Gen Y doesn’t watch TV and that when they do they prefer to watch programming or access content on their own terms and time line. Source: 16
  16. 16. We reported on a growing Lent movement last year and it has gotten even bigger in 2009. For some, it’s chocolate. For others, it’s coffee or cigarettes. But as this Easter approaches, some young and devout Christians are anxious to return to what they gave up for Lent: Facebook and MySpace. Many users describe the popular social networking sites as addictive, which is why they say giving up these 21st-century temptations is a sincere sacrifice. ―It’s been hard, especially in the beginning,‖ said Kerry Graham, who says she gave up Facebook for Lent. Her boyfriend challenged her to do so, describing her as a ―Facebook fiend.‖ During the first days of Lent, the 23-year-old graduate student admits she had to stop herself from typing the site’s Web address nearly every time she checked her e-mail. ―Some of my friends think it’s silly, since people usually give up food,‖ said 16-year-old Emily Montgomery, who says she’s given up her access to MySpace. ―I wanted to give up something that’s really hard for me.‖ ―It’s a form of spiritual awareness that allows you to reconnect with God,‖ said Jocelyn Chiu, an Emory University sophomore and active member of her Presbyterian church. ―By giving up something that used up so much of my time, I realized that I had been leaving my spiritual life behind.‖ Source: 17
  17. 17. is a social networking and online recruiting site for college students, recent college grads and first year hires. Users first take a ―self- discovery‖ test that highlights strengths and weaknesses (Zumeo partnered with career consultant Career Key to develop an assessment test to help match a user with the appropriate job). The user then creates a ―Live Resume‖ that can be updated and shared with recruiters, friends or colleagues or even shared with other social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Source: and Zumeo (picture) 18