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There are times I really hate advertising.  I happen to really like Kwik Trip stores, but this ad is exactly why I get so frustrated with my line of work — it seems we are willing to stretch the truth until it breaks. This “Lowest Legal Price” is a small transgression, but it is eroding the industry. 20191002_162221.jpg

Is there really a “legal price” to sell beer? I had a free beer sample at a grocery store. Maybe I broke the law, or the manager of the store broke the law.

According to a study titled “Americans Are Fed Up With Bad Ads,” nearly 90% of American adults 18 and older are making tangible efforts to limit the irrelevant ads they are willing to see before “they ignore a company completely.” This latest data is not a vote of confidence for ad performance.

There are so many phrases that are truly meaningless that control the marketing of products and services. These phrases are killing credibility:

  • Made with 100% pure _____
  • Risk free
  • 75% off
  • Scientifically formulated
  • When they are gone, they’re gone

So let’s all endeavor to be more honest in our advertising and pledge to run truthful copy in our marketing. It’s the legal thing to do.

By 2050, people over 65 will be approximately 25% of the population. Yet less than 1 in 5 companies have any meaningful strategies focused on this market. Other than drug companies and investment firms, I’d say most ignore people 55-plus.IMG_0129

Just walk through any sick mall and you’ll see the marketing and product bias toward young (financially strapped) markets. The book “Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market” talks about the young bias in products, design and marketing. It’s a bias that will bankrupt too many businesses going forward.

“Age 49 still serves as the de facto cut-off age that many marketers don’t bother to cross, and less than 10% of marketing dollars are aimed specifically at 50-plus. … Advertisers spend 500% more on millennials than other age groups combined,” states author Joseph Coughlin.

What’s even more disturbing is that when marketers do try to target the longevity economy, the messaging is so bad that people in the target audience find the portrayals utterly unappealing and overly stereotypical. In other words, most (around 80%) older adults don’t like the advertising that is designed to reach and move this target audience. That is not good marketing.

Coughlin is the founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab. It is described as a multidisciplinary research program created to understand the behavior of the rapidly growing 50-plus population. He is also another person who believes that you need to fish where the fish are, and the fish are older, wealthier and mostly female. Now compare that to the people in tech, product-buying groups, designers, engineers, architects, home builders …

The next time you see a company declaring bankruptcy, look at how it marketed to the longevity economy. I’d say it probably missed the Mark (pun intended).

Good read. I give it 5 stars.

Editor’s note: This week we are revisiting some of the One-Minute Marketer’s most popular blog posts from the past. This one was originally published in July 2012.

The city of Baltimore is exploring the idea of selling advertising space on city firetrucks. Cities and states across the country are looking to advertising as a new revenue strategy for raising much-needed funds.

What is wrong with selling the advertising? I’m not against it. However, many are. In the New York Times, Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, the campaign coordinator for the Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert Project, which is designed to curb the spread of commercialization, said, “We are bombarded by ads everywhere we go, and these are public spaces meant to be reflective of the values of our society, not co-opted by the private sector.”

From an advertising standpoint, to me, it’s just one more way that needs careful evaluation before you invest marketing funds. Just because it is available, doesn’t mean you should place your company or organization name on a garbage or firetruck. If it does make sense, what a great way to advertise and help a city keep essential services running efficiently and effectively.

What I really wonder is how the Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert Project markets itself or gets the word out. I’ve never heard of them. Maybe they need to advertise.

When I pull my analytics, I can see that holidays and holiday weeks have the lowest (to no) readership. The numbers go from around 1,000 readers per blog to a blip or hashtag. So I end the blog before the guy in the red suit starts to fly and the New Year’s baby starts to crawl.

Have a great holiday season.  I’ll see you on the other side of 2020. It looks to be anotherDB102709001 wild ride in marketing disruption and innovation. Ho-ho-ho!

When I was in college, I bought a book that changed my life. It was called “Confessions of an Advertising Man” by David Ogilvy. It was $1.95. I believe I bought it in 1978, and I still reference it today.20191028_112121.jpg

One of Mr. O’s premises is that the goal of creating ads is not to show how witty or clever you are. “Your role is to sell, don’t let anything distract you from the sole purpose of advertising.” Advertising, marketing, fundraising are all sales jobs. In fact, most jobs are sales jobs. One of my questions to potential employees is “Do you like sales?” If you don’t, marketing, advertising, fundraising, graphic design, web design or digital advertising is the wrong business. We do work that is intended to move people, and that takes persuasion.

Good advertising sells the product without drawing attention to itself. Marketing is the connector between a product, service or idea and an audience. No matter how “creative” it is, if it didn’t sell, then it didn’t work.

Also, in 1963 Mr. Ogilvy wrote: “What really decides if consumers will buy or not buy is the content of your advertising, not your form.” He was a content marketer more than 55 years ago.

Happy National Salesperson Day. To all salespeople, I salute you.

One of my predictions for 2020 is that this will be the year of the robot. I’m not thinking about the takeover of humans, but I don’t think robots will become en vogue as a status symbol and influencer. 20191020_204300

As I walked through a crowded mall area of a Vegas casino, I stumbled on a simple bar called the Tipsy Robot. The company describes itself as a one-of-a-kind, interactive experience where guests can enjoy technology of the future. There is no waving down a bartender or wait staff. You order from tablets and watch the show. It was fun, fast and the drinks were good. More importantly, it drew a crowd. Much like the crowd I saw at the National Association of Broadcasters meeting surrounding a robotic camera that followed the action (without a camera person) and did a little robot dance.

The robot at the Tipsy Robot can mimic the movements and actions of a bartender, from shaking a martini to the thin slicing of a lemon garnish. It can even mud a mojito.

The robots are coming, and they have some marketing power humans don’t have. 20191020_204310