Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another Reason to "Got Milk?"

Grocery giant Kroger announced a new cholesterol-cutting milk, part of their Active Lifestyle brand.

It joins a Minute Maid cholesterol-cutting orange juice.

The trend for food fortified with health benefits beyond simple nutrition, called "phood," or pharmacuetically-enhanced food, or "nuetracueticals" -- is going to be huge with older Boomers.

Boomers recall how Wonder Bread "builds strong bodies 12 ways," and they are now at an age where they'll be looking for products that can help them maintain their vitality.

Given that the fortified milk costs the same as regular milk, tastes the same and delivers this health benefit, who wouldn't buy it?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Who is Getting Suckered -- Them or Us?

Social networking site,, launched last summer with some fanfare. Designed as the site for "lovin' life on the flip side of 50," the site initially wouldn't even let you become a member unless you were older than 50.

Apparently you get free admission if you are 45-year-old Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, since eons today announced that he has a "profile" on their site (we're pretty sure Obama himself didn't spend the hours obviously required to create the content for his profile, but we're not 100% positive).

Hey, we're not political, but we do recall Obama writing in his book, The Audacity of Hope, that he is ready to capitalize on Baby Boomer fatigue:

"The politics of today suffers from a case of arrested development," Obama writes. "In the back-and-forth between [President Bill] Clinton and [former House Speaker Newt] Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation–a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago–played out on the national stage. The victories that the Sixties generation brought about–the admission of minorities and women into full citizenship, the strengthening of individual liberties, and the healthy willingness to question authority–have made America a far better place for all its citizens. But what has been lost in the process, and has yet to be replaced, are those shared assumptions–that quality of trust and fellow feeling–that bring us together as Americans."

That quote got some bashing in the blogs and mainstream media because Senator Obama is himself technically a Boomer (born in 1961).

As it relates to eons, he doesn't sound like someone all about "lovin' life on the flip side of 50." He sounds like a presidential candidate.

On the one hand, Jeff Taylor, eons founder, must be delighted. Obama's online presence will help build awareness and traffic (and yes, Barack's already on Facebook and MySpace). But we wonder if he's letting his politics show too much. We couldn't find profiles for any other candidates from either party no matter their age.

Wonder how his other members will react to it?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Costs of Caregiving

AARP released a new analysis of various caregiving studies in recent years in an attempt to quantify the economic "value" of caregivers for older adults.

They conclude that the 30 to 38 million Americans providing care are contributing the equivalent of $350 billion a year to the economy. That's Wal-Mart's annual sales.

In their news release about their report, they say:

For those with the most intense level of caregiving responsibility, 92% report major changes in their working patterns; 83% arrive late, leave early or take time off during the day; 41% report taking a leave of absence; and 37% report going from full-time to part-time to adjust for their care giving responsibilities. Additionally, the caregiver's own health is often at risk. They are more likely to have chronic health conditions and medical debt than non-caregivers.

Of course, the "typical" caregiver is a 46-year-old woman who works outside the home.

This "lifestage" for Boomers is one that comes without instructions, is very intense, lasts years in many cases, and ultimately has an end date.

We write in the book that it is one lifestage that is almost impossible to leverage in marketing. Other than for products or services that make the caregiving lifestage more manageable.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Now Hear This

Last week we wrote in our paid newsletter about Swiss company Phonak's new "personal communications assistant" (fancy talk for hearing aid) brand "Audeo."

Already the product is generating quite a stir in marketing world -- there's nary a mention of hearing loss in the marketing materials.

Check out some of the comments from the blogosphere here.

This is a great example of smart marketing of a healthcare device for today's Boomers (even if the people featured at the Web site look more Gen X than Boomers).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Boomers and Retirement

In the past two weeks there have been countless articles about Boomers not retiring.

Here are just two examples, here and here.

We don't know about you, but how is this "news?" The median age of a Boomer today is 51. We don't know many 51-year-olds who are retiring anytime soon. The fact that they aren't retiring doesn't seem like news to us.

Yes, the oldest Boomers will begin to start turning age 62 next year. And yes, Boomers are pretty sure they are going to live longer lives than previous generations did. Knowing that, why would they want to retire now, when they have lots of living yet to do -- and need the money to do it?

We think the story isn't about Boomers not retiring. It's about the huge impact Boomers staying in the workforce will have on the U.S. economy.

The closest we've seen on that front is this story in the Arizona Republic.

How about more stories like that?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bad Research or Bad Press?

The PR giant Weber Shandwick released findings from their latest research among 500 Baby Boomers that reports that Boomers like to talk to each other about products and services.

Stop the presses!

Oh, wait, isn't this what some might call "word-of-mouth?"

We call it bad research. Or bad PR.

Here's why. The research is seemingly only among Boomers, so the key finding that 89% of them are likely to tell their friends about products or services isn't particularly illuminating. Is that more than other generations communicate, or less?

They don't know. But we do.

Actually, it's the same. At least that's what the SIMM9 Study of simultaneous media consumption conducted among 15,000 Americans in January 2007 by BIGresearch says.

The point is that you need to be careful getting too excited about research findings appearing about Boomers unless you have a broader perspective. We talk about this in Chapter 14 in the book.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for more bad examples.


Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.