As the Oldies format sails into the sunset, and a month doesn't go by without someone asking what on earth will Classic Rock stations do in five years when their listeners start moving 55+. You have to wonder about who is making decisions in the ad world.
That's why I was heartened by a recent Advertising Age article, sent to me by Classic Rock programmer Dan Kelley. It's about Unilever's "Boomer Project." Unilever's the company that owns and manages brands like Wish Bone, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Ponds, Slim-Fast, and Vaseline. As you might expect, they know a little something about consumers, and target marketing.
While radio broadcasters are running away from aging Baby Boomers, Unilever has discovered the obvious opportunity - even though only 45% of households fall into this category, they account for 60% of package goods spending. And due to the fact they are retiring later and have more spendable income than any earlier generation of retirees, their value to marketers is crystal clear.
This is why campaigns like Dove's Pro-Age hits the nail on the head. While everyone else is chasing 18-49s, Unilever has discovered that Boomers are a great untapped area of opportunity.
And as Eileen Kozin, director of Unilever's consumer futures notes that even when it comes to technology, "Younger people may be more excited and write about it, but boomers have the money to spend on it."
We saw this in spades in our Tech Poll 3. When you consider that one-third own iPods (or other personal mp3 players) and participate in social networking sites, it makes you wonder why more companies aren't chasing these mature dollars.
In a recent project we conducted for Arbitron, we conducted a series of 1-on-1 interviews among Boomers right here in the Motor City. The results were consistently spectacular. These graying consumers are jazzed about technology, and they know their way around. Many play video games, and they are able to explain the intricacies and the applications of tech they use. They are optimistic about the future, and can't wait for cool new toys and gadgets to come to market.
Radio reaches these people - perhaps better and more efficiently than any other medium. That is, if we don't abandon their formats in our get-ratings-quick efforts to score now, and worry about the future well after it's too late.
P.S. Ron Wood turns 60 tomorrow.