The creativity paradox
Each year at this time Mad Men eyes turn to Cannes, France, where ad agencies vie for the coveted Lion awards for creativity. Checking ADWEEK’s list of likely winners there are some pretty awesome contenders.
We especially like the smart car entry, The Dancing Traffic Light from BBDO Berlin. Full disclosure: B+CG team members have done work for the smart brand. In fact, we’d say the Boeblingen HQ cafeteria puts on one of the better spreads in client world. Who doesn’t love currywurst?
Creative as the work product is this year – and it is very creative – we couldn’t help noticing a familiar lack of creativity in strategic thinking.
Like much of today’s mainstream brand advertising, ADWEEK’s front-runners are not overtly inclusive of the people who buy – sorry, it’s irresistible – the lion’s share of America’s goods and services. Namely, consumers in the 50+ space; you know, I am Boomer, hear me roar.
Let’s be clear: we’re not dissing the creative teams. They do a fine job of executing the old guard brief that buyers outside the 18-49 / 25-54 demographics [a] have fixed loyalties and no longer switch, [b] are easy to reach without trying and [c] plant the geezer kiss of death on brand image.
It’s not just the kiss of death for the brand that keeps young creatives in line; there’s career death to worry about too. Re-read Wanted: Millennial Wunderkinder For Boomer Advertising Campaigns: Orphans Preferred and you’ll see why.
What we have here is a paradox: inside-the-box creativity is rewarded but outside-the-box creativity is discouraged.
Out-of-the-box reality check: Americans aged 50-plus control 80% of the nation’s personal net worth and are hugely important – even dominant – in most mass market categories. However, Nielsen reports they are only accorded 5% of the national advertising effort.
It’s time to redirect Millennial creativity to the 50-plus market
Is it really possible that competing brand strategists pat one another on the back for consigning half of America’s consumers to an uncontested neutral territory?
And can we assume the stockholders approved the lost profit that results from failing to grab some other brand’s share while they’re napping?
However, to the brand disruptives – yes, we know you’re out there – we say it’s okay to be be selfish and increase sales among the 100+ million consumers in America’s 50+ space.
Just leave your Care Bears at the door, unleash all that Millennial creativity and go disrupt, you rascals!
A new creative brief: Job One is engage the Boomer-Plus consumer
Profiting in the 50+ space requires new ways of thinking; most importantly, dumping the un-adaptability myth. After a lifetime spent evolving in step with societal change and technological progress, the Boomer-Plus Generation™, born 1940-1965, is actually America’s most adaptable.
In 2015 there are 93 million of us, with four million more arriving from Gen X every year as they transition out of the 18-49 demographic and into Madison Avenue’s Twilight Zone. If we were a country, it would be the 15th most populous on Earth – the 15th Nation, a larger and more affluent market than any in Europe.
But navigating the unknown territory of American Boomer-world is not as easy as it seems, and Boomer-speak is a unique and highly nuanced language, full of subtleties, context and idiom.
Fortunately, BCG interpreters and expert guides are on call 24/7 to help Millennials put their creativity to work, prosper and maybe even bag a Cannes Lion next year.