Wednesday, July 11, 2007

That's Not Funny. Seriously, it Isn't. Or Is It?

Researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that older consumers don't do such a good job of processing jokes, as reported here.

We talk in our book about how older consumers have a difficult time processing negative images and concepts -- literally ignoring them. It seems this study finds similar evidence that older consumers aren't processing humor and jokes in the same way younger adults do.

We've also said that marketers have to be careful about using humor when targeting older Boomer consumers. They still like a good laugh, but prefer humor that is more self-deprecating and gentle, versus humor that relies on belittling someone or something, or is in your face.

But this study suggests it is time to get serious if you want older consumers to understand your message. No wonder we never quite got the humor in MTV's Punk'd. Having admitted that, we should also tell you that we are excited about ABC's new summer show called "Just for Laughs" which is a modern day version of Candid Camera.

Now, that's going to be funny.


Kay's Pic's said...

I'm 57 and consider myself, my colleagues and friends to value humer in most situations - I don't think it's a matter of processing, I think we've developed a more selective sense of humor!

Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm a 56 year old guy who returned to stand up comedy as a hobby after a 14 year absence and I think some of the problems facing Boomers when watching today's crop of comedians are related to generational norms. I find nothing subtle about their humor. Most of it is graphic descriptions of sex and heavy doses of profanity. Also, today's twenty-somethings are so jacked up on Red Bull, Starbucks they have more problems hanging in for anything over a few words in length. This is the Ritalin generation after all. I love when I see Boomers in the audience because I use material that one has to have read a newspaper to understand.

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.