That Car Ad

I have said for a long time that advertisers miss the mark by ignoring people who are over 50. Research says we have more money than everybody else and we're not afraid to spend it.

Some details: There are 78 million American baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964 (current ages 48 to 66). A Business 2 Community article says boomers control more than 50% of discretionary spending and buy 40% of all technology products in America. Over 90% of them/us use online search engines and email and 70% buy online.

If adult diapers and assisted living facilities are on the boomer spending product list, they are likely for our parents, not for us.

Fifty-plus car buyers spent $87 billion in 2010 versus $70 billion by those under fifty.

So how do we react to commercials clearly aimed at boomers?

Here is the one that led me to write this post:

Toyota is clearly targeting 50+ buyers. I have to admit the Venza appeals to me. It looks good, it has some of the benefits of an SUV as well as those of a car. It is slightly less rugged than a Highlander SUV (currently my most likely next ride); basically this would be a Camry wagon if such a vehicle existed. I like vehicles that can haul stuff and the twelve vehicles I’ve owned included three wagons, a van and an SUV. Venza was designed and is built in the US and although it was not specifically designed for 50-plusers, their marketing clearly points that way.

Most ads targeted to the 50+ crowd seem designed by twenty-somethings and play to stereotypes. According to the guy who runs the Boomer Project "Most marketing that targets Boomers presumes there's something wrong with them that needs fixing," such as age spots, wrinkles or erectile dysfunction. "It's malady-based. For the most part, it's not accurate."

Truth is most of us are time-challenged, dealing with aging parents and paying for college for our children. We are also somewhat influenced by the ‘flower power’ era which means ethics are a priority. So time-saving, convenience and truth-in-advertising are important to us; so is quality.

Back to my question: how do we react to ads targeted to us? The best ones appeal to our reality: we are not afraid to spend money if we have it, we’re active and healthy, we feel young and want to stick with that feeling. Show us how we see ourselves and maybe we’ll notice the ads. Don’t make assumptions; watch us, talk with us, pay attention. We’re still running the world (more or less) and are not ready to give that up yet.