Neuroscience Research Indicates Boomers Open To Pitch-Perfect Ads

There are multiple reasons why advertisers are drawn to the 18-to-49 demographic. The least interesting is the potential for a more efficient buy. As one longtime industry observer put it: you pay for the 18-to-49 viewers and anyone 50-plus watching, you get for free.

The more intriguing reasons fall within suggestions that younger viewers come with more discretionary income; marketers want to reach them early to develop longtime brand loyalty.

But there is new research suggesting that older folks might actually decide to go from Brawny to Bounty. Or, accept that the Callaway driver that worked so well as a 45-year-old no longer brings the distance of a Ping.

Nielsen’s NeuroFocus, which studies neuroscience, says that recent work “refutes the traditional belief that the older brain cannot learn and adapt. Current research shows how the older brain retains plasticity, or the ability to change as a result of experience, even at late stages of life.”



NeuroFocus offered up some insight into the creative process advertisers might employ in looking to appeal to those over 60 to take advantage of their malleability.

As opposed to all those cynical younger folks, “mature brains” tend to be more positive in general and open to more upbeat messaging. Baby boomers would prefer ads that don't show older people or “vacuously smiling couples.” (Pharma marketers might pay particular attention here). And, boomers don’t like rapid-fire, jumbled-up messaging.

“While the messaging can be complex, the delivery and format should be simpler than for the young brain,” NeuroFocus said.

Scanning the research, it has one wondering how effective those Dos Equis beer ads featuring “The Most Interesting Man In The World” are among older males. Apparently well over 60, he would seem to be a boomer idol, with his appeal to the opposite sex and continuing vitality to engage in global adventures.

He says he doesn't often drink beer, but when he does he prefers Dos Equis. Older men might think a little Dos Equis once in a while might be more effective than prune juice. 







2 comments about "Neuroscience Research Indicates Boomers Open To Pitch-Perfect Ads".
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  1. Cynthia Neely from Black Gold Productions, September 19, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.

    I happen to be a boomer and also have two offspring who fall into the "coveted" 18-49 demo. To think that those who are younger have more discretionary income or that they will develop brand loyalty is a load of highly pungent horse manure! One of my kid, 26, can't find work (so his income is MY income!) and the other struggles to make ends meet running their new little business. Their PARENTS are the only ones with disposable income and we seem to be the norm here in Houston with kids our age. I happen to work in the creative industry and think advertisers must have their heads up their, well, you know, if they think "19-49" is where the dollars are. Oh, and those with young children will laugh at any advertiser who thinks they have discretionary income after taking care of their family's needs.

  2. Susan Weiss from Kanban Consulting Corporation, September 19, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.

    The legitimate reason that 18-49 years olds have been desirable is the sheer size of the cohort...which have been Boomers for quite a long time. As the population tsunami known as Boomers age, it would be lunacy not to advertise to such a sizable--and affluent-- population. As we age, we get rid of the costs of kids, college, etc. and have more disposable income. As Boomers, we remain open to change, new ideas, better products. I also second Cynthia's comments re/kids and income.

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