The disconnects between the advertising industry and radio continue to boggle the mind - and raise questions about the difficulties radio faces for getting back into the game. In this space, we discussed the absurd demise of a radio franchise - the Oldies format - all because it cannot be sold due to aging demographics.
And as time marches on, it could very likely be deja vu all over again with Classic Rock. Not a month goes by where a client or media observer doesn't ask about what types of steps we're going to take in order to keep Classic Rock demos under the age of 55.
Earlier this month, the LA Times featured a story called "A New Age for the Ad Biz." (free subscription required) Among other things, it discussed the Gap's new efforts at appealing to all that spendable income among the aging Boomer set. They have created a new brand, Forth & Towne, which gives these female Boomers a chance to buy jeans and casual clothes without being subjected to 50 Cent blaring throughout the store.
Other agency types are getting the message, too. The article notes that a recent advertiser conference devoted to appealing to Boomers sponsored by J. Walter Thompson drew SRO crowds. "Everybody all of a sudden feels like they need to get a boomer strategy," noted Lori Bitter, a partner at the J. Walter's mature market group. And TV Land's President Larry W. Jones points out the obvious: "More and more marketers are coming around to the fact that this is the biggest generation on Earth. They've got a ton of money and a ton of time. Why don't we target them?"
Paul Jacobs has been saying this for more than five years as he continues to make presentations on behalf of Classic Rock stations to agency types, and even station sales reps who are slow to come around to the obvious demographic trends that indisputably show that aging Boomers are (duh!) becoming the next big population trend.
Yours truly is now residing in that worthless post 25-54 cell, despite four cars in my driveway, two kids about to go to school, and American Express and Visa bills that most definitely illustrate I'm still spending on everything from travel to home improvement to consumer electronics. They know me by name (and credit card number) at our local Apple outlet.
To illustrate this phenomenon, our resident PhotoShop expert, Ralph Cipolla, put together a graphic containing famous fiftysomethings - yes, the people that your advertisers supposedly no longer covet. Check them out, and if you want to play a game, identify them all, and send the list back to me. The first correct blog reader gets a $25 Starbucks card from me, and the names of an impressive group of movers and shakers that Madison Avenue is finally figuring out have value.