Preface/Intro/Chapter One (PDF) (Email)
"I just started reading your book 'Advertising to Baby Boomers'
yesterday and I think it's fantastic - one of the few written about
this subject that tells it how it is in plain language. It's going to
be obligatory reading for the staff in the agency ..... I'd also like
to quote from your book at a forthcoming conference I'm speaking at in
Sydney Australia next month..."
- Kevin Lavery, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Millennium Direct Marketing Sherpa
Baby boomers make up 25% of the US population, hold 70% of US assets
and spend $2 trillion annually. It's time we discovered opportunities
for infomercials, Internet ads and branding catered to the
young-at-heart. 'Advertising to Baby Boomers' uses straightforward,
jargon-free language to guide advertisers, business owners and agencies
on how to craft campaigns successfully.
The author, Chuck Nyren, a veteran creative strategist, explains how to
approach this important demographic. This second edition update is
divided into three sections. The first part helps us understand
boomers' self-image and desires; the second suggests how to market to
them; and the third offers practical resources. Nyren
employs wit, helpful asides and experts' citations to refute
stereotypes that damage campaigns. He reinstates respect for the
demographic that's often insulted by well-intentioned- but-flawed
advertising. Some of his suggestions include abstaining from poking fun
of boomers' age (i.e., targeting them for cliché products). He also
advises showing facts instead of using elaborate illustrations to
explain why boomers need something.
So, if you want to avoid pigeonholing boomers and confusing or angering
the demographic with your humor, check out this readable 182-page
foundation for reaching them. We promise it will be filled with
- David Cravit, Executive Vice
President of ZoomerMedia and author of The New Old: How the
Boomers Are Changing Everything ... Again I could
give the briefest review I've ever done for any book, appropriately
enough by paraphrasing an iconic advertising slogan of years ago: Just
buy it. Think of it as a personal treat for your brain - something like
a Good Humor ice cream, or a Haagen Daz, or a good long jog if you're
more health conscious...whatever it is that gets your endorphins
singing. I haven't marked up a book so much since cramming the night
before that last big college final exam.
The book is full of "Chuckisms" - i.e. down to earth, witty,
insightful, and self deprecating, but providing fascinating insights
into boomer mentality (he's one himself) and how to successfully
advertise to them. For example, about the constant struggle ads have
about getting the right image of youthfulness and maturity without
going overboard, he observes, "People don't walk around thinking about
how old they are. I don't leave the house being fifty-four. Nor do I
walk about feeling my age...Sometimes I feel eighteen, other times
eighty-six. Rarely do I feel my age, whatever that feels like. I don't
know. I'm not sure I want to feel my age. I like the variety."
That surely resonates with every boomer out there.
He says the book is targeted to businesses looking to get products and
services out to boomers, and maybe to small-medium sized ad agencies.
It's more than that. It's a short, sweet, easy to read business book
for anyone interested in boomer psychology, marketing, and advertising
from any industry. He points out the continued resistance to
considering boomers as a financially attractive market. Some of the
blame he lays squarely at the feet of ad agencies and the "too young to
appreciate the market" 20-30-somethings who are the major crafters of
ad messages. He does spend a lot of time gently and not-so-gently
skewering ad agencies about their lack of attitude, but he's also a
one-man campaign for The Ex-Ad Agency Boomer Creative Full Employment
And this is not from an industry neophyte. He's a multiple
award-winning advertising creative himself and it seems his whole
family was in the advertising field, so it must be partly genetic. Back
in the 20s and 30s, Chuck's grandfather wrote what was then the
equivalent to the "(Fill in the blank) for Dummies" about advertising.
So the guy comes with some credentials. And he's not mean-spirited, so
most of the jibes are well intentioned and meant to instruct, cajole,
motivate, and encourage change.
The first section provides some worthy insights about boomers, how they
perceive themselves, what they want, and how to use this information to
your advantage when advertising pharmaceuticals, housing, food,
wellness, nutrition, ice cream...you name it. The second part
talks directly about how to be successful in advertising to boomers -
or find an agency that can do it well. The book's last section provides
a selective and personal list of recommended resources and final
I found a lot to like in the book. First, it's not a rant, more like a
casual conversation over cocktails and bar munchies. There are lots of
little asides, and the conversational tone is there throughout, albeit
more strongly in the first and third section. Nyren also scatters
tidbits of wisdom from some of advertising's greatest practitioners,
which reflect the legitimacy of what he's saying.
I'm not in the advertising business, but have reviewed and critiqued a
multitude of ads in publications like the "Selling to Seniors," and for
clients. If I were in the ad industry or looking for a good
practitioner, the middle section of the book is where Nyren gives the
most serious and perhaps sage advice to his professional colleagues and
their clients. It's really targeted at advertisers, potential
advertisers, ad agencies, and business owners.
Nyren has used experience, creative thought, and an engaging style to
give everybody food for thought about how to get to all those boomers.
Abbie Hoffman exhorted us in our earlier years on the front cover of
his book to "Steal This Book."
This one's worth the price. Just buy it.
- John Migliaccio, Maturity Mark Services - now Director of Research, MetLife Mature Market Institute The Journal of Consumer Marketing (Excerpts)
"Advertising to Baby Boomers is an easy, informative read that will
resonate well with Boomers and will give non-Boomers some useful
insights when advertising to this important market. As a member of the
generation myself, I now know why so many advertisements leave me cold
(e.g. either I do not understand the humor or I don't care enough to
work at deciphering the advertisement). I thought it was just me, but
after reading Advertising to Baby Boomers, I now put the blame squarely
where it belongs."
"The second section (of the book) addresses the process of finding the
best marketing or advertising agency. It identifies the myths that
traditional ad agencies hold regarding Boomers and advises business
owners who want to sell to this group to walk away from agencies that
think this way."
"The third and last section offers resources, a case study, and final
thoughts. He sharpens some of his earlier points and cautions readers
that some of the recent buzzwords in advertising, such as branding, are
not all that they are cracked up to be." - Dr. Joyce M. Wolburg, Marquette University Review by Brent Green:
Chuck Nyren is the Baby Boom generation's advertising debunker.
His book Advertising to Baby Boomers
exposes the heehawing, habits, and hang-ups that are preventing
companies from making fortunes from this wealthy demographic. Straight
from the fractured keyboard of a third-generation seasoned copywriter
and creative strategist, wise and welcome advice pokes up from every
page, packaged with occasional satire and silliness.
Do you want to have fun reading a business book and still learn what it takes to cash in?
If you're on the agency side, you might sense discomfort dribbling down
your spine as Nyren denudes the biz so clients understand how to win
the perpetual tug-of-war. (If clients prevail, however, they still keep
paying the bills.)
If you're on the client side, stay alert because you'll finally figure
out why your agency irks you when they fail to "get it" - especially
that most deliberate assignment of wooing Boomers as customers. And
while following this yellow-brick road, even the most seasoned,
"been-there, done-it" pros can expect to discover underdeveloped
opportunities for infomercials, internet advertising, and Boomer
fascinating book reveals how to rethink current advertising strategies
to effectively reach the thriving boomer marketplace. Nyren passes on
key information about how the generation responds to advertising,
cleverly pointing out that this group grew up during the
years when advertising really flourished and expanded. So, their level
of advertising sophistication is key to consider when developing
advertising strategies and campaigns. Additionally, a special
section of the book focuses on helping baby boomer entrepreneurs
jump-start their marketing and advertising. - GRAND Magazine Chuck
doesn't think too much of the work of modern day ad agencies when it
comes to creating campaigns to capture Boomers. He breaks down the
process for selecting and managing an ad agency. He also argues that
marketing messages should focus on a product's features and benefits
and not on the age of the intended customer. Boomers are smart enough
imagine how these features are applicable to them without having to
have it spelled out (especially in a negative manner). Boomers are also
impatient enough to be turned off if they feel like they are having
their time wasted with fluff.
Also, even if you are trying to be funny, don't present Boomers or
seniors as "doddering" as you'll push away more than you entertain.
(After reading the book I realized that it was probably a good idea
that LifeTwo rejected the proposed ad copy, "Hey aging Baby Boomers,
write down our URL before you have a senior moment and forget it!" To
be clear, this short sentence violates every single maxim of Chuck's
It seems simple enough, so why aren't ad agencies doing it right? - Wesley Hein, LifeTwo.com It's
amazing to think about the fact that Baby Boomers (me being among them)
make up 25% of the US population, hold 70% of US assets, and
collectively, spend over $2 trillion a year in products and services.
Savvy direct marketers are learning how to more effectively communicate
with this large group of consumers so they can cash in with them -- and
get some of that $2 trillion applied to their bottom line.
In fact, a new book has been released to help direct marketers and advertisers do just that. Advertising to Baby Boomers
by Chuck Nyren, a veteran creative strategist, explains how to approach
this important demographic. This second edition update is divided into
three sections. The first part helps us understand Boomers' self-image
and desires; the second suggests marketing strategies; and the third
offers a listing of some practical resources. This book is a great
resource for all of us in understanding the uniqueness of this large
group of potential and/or current customers.
In case you aren't aware, there are an unprecedented five generations
alive today that we must take into consideration as we plan direct
marketing and advertising efforts. And, as you can imagine, each
generation has very different needs and desires in terms of how they
want to be communicated with, marketed to, etc. The Baby Boomers
represent the largest generation alive today and (as Nyren points out)
it is imperative to effectively communicate with them, while not
alienating them in the process. - Nancy Arter, RRW Consulting The Baby Boomer Generation Site Chuck Nyren
is a funny writer. Well, he's a serious writer who's funny. Since
everyone is trying to figure out how to market to Baby Boomers, his
book will probably be the best guide yet. - Jan Reisen Excerpts from GenerationTarget.com :
Advertising to Baby Boomers unlocks the minds and hearts of the large
and affluent generation that challenged and reconfigured society's
rules at each stage of life ....
Nyren is serious about his precepts, but easy to read and humorous in his writing style ...
Companies who want to reach a baby boomer market should look carefully
at their current ad strategy, Nyren suggests. He debunks some of the
advertising industry's most common misconceptions about baby boomers,
showing how agencies often espouse unfounded notions about baby boomer
consumers in an effort to conceal their ignorance ... These aren't the
same old leftovers: even the most experienced professionals are likely
to hit upon new ideas for increasing their products' appeal among
boomer market consumers. I liked the way you seem, between the lines, to be giving us boomers our dignity back. - Julie Muhlstein, The Everett Herald From Marketing Magazine in Canada:
Worth Reading by Rebecca Harris
If your ads targeting baby boomers feature "houses burning, burglars
ransacking or people tipping over from heart attacks or hay fevers,"
read Chuck Nyren's latest book, Advertising to Baby Boomers (Paramount
Market Publishing, May 2005). Nyren debunks myths about boomers and
tells how to make the most of this demographic. "Contrary to social
commentators, the media and certainly advertising agencies, most of the
time we know who we are: people in our middle age...
We're not jumping in mosh pits while juggling cans of soda, trying to
be 18 again." Nyren's advice ranges from how to attract boomers to
planned communities and travel websites, right down to the smallest
details: "Fonts should be larger than normal, but not insultingly so."
Nyren tells marketers to use humour in campaigns but not to rely on
age-related foibles. "You can amuse, but don't assume. Give us the
Nyren believes (that)... companies should target boomers "for most products and services, not just the obvious ones." Financial Advertising Review
Trying to reach Boomers? Author zeroes in on the challenges
Paramount Market Publishing, Inc., Ithaca, N.Y., has just published
Advertising to Baby Boomers, a volume of thought-provoking ideas for
advertisers who seek to reach this ubiquitous market. Author Chuck
Nyren, himself a Boomer, identifies the viewing and reading habits of
the 40-to-60 year olds who control an increasingly large proportion of
the nation's discretionary spending. He offers examples of how
advertising fails in its efforts to reach this demographic - then
explains why. The book includes provocative challenges such as this:
"If you start telling us why we need something, an impenetrable B.S.
shield goes up. We won't listen." Healthcare Advertising Review
Book has fresh approach to Boomer marketing
Author Chuck Nyren, a self-identified Baby Boomer, shares his
insights about marketing to the 40-to-60 age group, in his book,
Advertising to Baby Boomers, from Paramount Market Publishing, Inc.,
Ithaca, N.Y., This growing demographic, he says, has needs and
interests that require a different style of marketing than do younger
age groups. Among his observations: Boomers typically have longer
attention spans than younger audiences, and they respond better to
factual information than to a "hard sell." SecondFiftyYears.com:
Down-to-Earth Tips About Advertising to Boomers
"Chuck Nyren, an experienced advertiser, provides practical advice
geared to help business owners connect more effectively with their Baby
Get...Nyren's cogent advice from his book, "Advertising to Baby Boomers." (Blog comment)
"I just finished reading your excellent new book, Advertising to Baby
Boomers. I think I need to buy about 100 copies and send them to the
agencies we deal with ...
We are experiencing just about every stereotypical reaction from 20-something agency media buyers you can imagine ..." - Brian Reilly, Publisher, GeezerJock Magazine (Blog comment)
I've just finished reading your book "Advertising to Baby Boomers" and am checking out your blog ...
From what I gathered from your book, you're not too keen on "gurus" so
I won't call you that lol but I will just say that from all the books
and stuff I've read on the Baby Boomers market, your book is by far the
most relevant to say the least. It's insightful, entertaining and
P.S. I won't be sending you golf balls either ;)
Marica Zammit Insurance Journal, Joe Navarro:
Talk to them (Baby Boomers). Ask them questions. Learn where they are in life, and find out where they want to go ....
Books by Chuck Nyren, "Advertising to Baby Boomers" and Brent Green,
"Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers," also are good resources. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (LEA), publishers of academic books, journals, and software, Lisa Romero:
ADVERTISING TO BABY BOOMERS by Chuck Nyren is a book written from the
perspective of the advertising client. Nyren is an award-winning
copywriter and advertising/marketing video producer who has served as a
creative strategist and Consultant for several advertising and
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, comprise the largest and
perhaps the most important marketing/advertising demographic. Nyren
provides insight on the Baby Boomer market, discusses the common
mistakes made by advertising agencies when marketing or advertising to
the Boomer market, and suggests how to identify the best advertising or
marketing agency and, most importantly, how clients can get what they
pay for. Review by Jon Currie (Currie Commmunications):
Even if I weren't a baby boomer, I would take this book very seriously.
This book is a real wake up call and perhaps a watershed in the way
marketers should look at reaching boomers. It is not enough as Chuck
reminds us to simply stick images and sounds of the 60's in your
campaign to allude to our youth, but rather he gives some very
realistic and well thought out ways to tap into what really goes on
inside the head of someone who is part of the single most important
generation to walk the planet up to this point. And who better to tell
that story than someone who has lived it and actually been born into
the world of advertising. Read his bio--this guy is literally a
creation of the ad world.
Bottom line if you get the idea that you need to reach baby boomers, Chuck's book is the foundation for that effort.
But in fact, he also gives some very practical advertisng and marketing
advice to reach any demographic cohort, and his take on branding is a
must-read, nothing short of a revelation. And his dry wit is quite
compelling as a read. None of the usual textbook boring mumbo-jumbo
often found in marketing books.
In my experience helping launch CNN, and redefining local broadcasting
with the launch of FOX, I could have used this very practical tool over
and over again. I would love to (and may) give this book out to all my
clients. Eric Voth, ERV Productions:
In the future -- after many of us Baby Boomers are dead and buried --
Nyren's book could well be hailed as a classic in the annals of
advertising education. Looking back, some may call him a pundit. Others
may call him a visionary. Both would be correct.
Whether you agree with him or not, Nyren's work is straight talk about
the state of affairs at many of the world's leading advertising
agencies today -- especially regarding the way in which they think
about a cohort they choose to ignore.
Hey, if the client doesn't mention "the elephant in the room" that's
okay. The agency won't bother bringing up the topic, either.
And if nobody talks about them, maybe all the Baby Boomers will simply
die off quietly and never be missed. After all, folks over 50 comprise
only about 25 percent of the American population. (That's by no means a
majority.) They hold only 70 percent of U.S. assets. (Who owns the
other 30 percent?) They wield annual spending power of only about $2
trillion. (Exactly how many zeros is that?) And, hell, they need to buy
stuff anyhow. So why waste creative advertising energy in trying to
Nyren's is one of the few books designed to better inform advertising
agency clients on how to deal with a massive demographic shift forced
by the relentless march of time. In my opinion, it's a "must-read" for
any executives who wonder which half of their advertising dollars is
being wasted. Book Blurbs
Straight talk from someone who knows how to do it right, for the right price. - Laurel Kennedy, President, Age Lessons
For years businesses have been told that Boomers would represent
terrific opportunities as they aged. As Chuck Nyren points out, that
strategic advice was then discouraged by advertising and media types
who lived in the world of the precious 18-49 demo. Finally, the
opportunities are being recognized. Businesses are rapidly developing
products and services targeted to Boomers. Nyren gives sound advice on
how to communicate with this powerful consumer segment. - John McMennamin, McMennamin Consulting
We recommend Chuck Nyren's Advertising to Baby Boomers to all of our
GRAND Magazine advertisers to help them put together effective print
and online ads to reach our Baby Boomer grandparent readers. - Christine Crosby, Founder, GRAND Magazine
Chuck's book is refreshing and informative - a creative opinion with
real insights, in-depth understanding, and supported with practical
advice in a highly readable format. - Gill Walker, Director, Evergreen Marketing Communications, Australia
Chuck Nyren's wit and charm only partially disguise the razor sharp teeth that he flashes at an industry in denial.
- Marc Middleton, Founder and President, The Growing Bolder Media Group
I bought over 80 books on the subject of Boomers, Advertising, and
Marketing for my M.A. Thesis on Images of Boomer Women. Chuck Nyren was
the only writer who put it all together, brilliantly, in one source.
His book was the mainstay of my citations. Any advertiser who does not
understand his premise that boomers are diverse adults and do not want
to be seen as Steve Martin caricatures of "wild and crazy guys" is
going to alienate this pivotal generation - or, worse yet, miss them
all together. - Mary Duffy, Ford Models, 40+ Fashion and Beauty Author
Nyren has earned the distinction as the go-to guy for the inside dope
on what Boomers want and how advertisers can effectively target this
dynamic, powerful, and flush market. - Marty Davis, Former MSNBC News
Anchor and Washington Correspondent for "Hour Magazine"
Baby Boomers have money and they spend it! But before you target them,
read Chuck Nyren's insightful, entertaining and refreshingly candid
book. You'll avoid common mistakes and find the keys to motivating
savvy boomers. - Todd Harff, President & CEO, Creating Results
Chuck Nyren is one the best writers on 50+ advertising and marketing -
anywhere. He doesn't hide behind jargon, he shoots from the hip and
tells it how it really is.
- Martin Smith, Group Managing Director, Millennium UK