The New Best-Selling TV Demographic: 18 to 81

Time to call an audible at the line of scrimmage for CBS, CNN and those networks skewing to a cufflinks and cologne generation--your older demographics may still prove valuable.

There is the long-held belief that older TV viewers--40- and 50-year-old--rarely change brand loyalty. But baby boomer expert Ken Dychtwald and his Age Wave research company says boomers are, in fact, more open to new things such as new cell phone technology, Internet shopping, and other products

Dychtwald says marketers shouldn't fall into the trap that there is nothing they can do to change the mind of baby boomers. He says it is "one of the linchpins that holds media and entertainment together" and "one of the great myths of our time."

He told a group of marketing executives in Los Angeles yesterday that much is still unknown about baby boomers. But research says whatever they are doing, they are not stagnant about their habits. In fact, they change.



Aiding to their appeal is the fact that baby boomers have more money than any other TV viewer group. No matter. TV networks focuses on 18- to 49-year-olds. This has little to do with any viewer group's disposable spending habits and more with advertisers' historical budgets that don't budge--in part directed by their media agencies.

Their argument is this: older TV viewers and baby boomers see themselves as young. They don't want to be marketed to as older TV viewers. Then again, young TV viewers don't want to be marketed to as young TV viewers.

In effect, no one likes who they are.

What are we left with? Marketing by insult, or by restriction.

Lifetime tells viewers it is "Television for Women." That's a specific charge - and doesn't leave much room to expand viewership. As a man, then, it's hard to watch that network since I'm told I'm not welcome. TNT says "We know drama." Hey, I'll be the judge of that.

The WB doesn't fall into this trap. It doesn't call itself "Television for high-school- and college-age women and men." So I feel I can watch it--sometimes--without feeling I shouldn't be there. And, yes, that is a young-skewing network--just the thing Dychtwald wants advertisers to get away from.

Perhaps we should look at the opposite: Maybe "60 Minutes" has a better track record of attracting young viewers to its predominantly older-looking TV news program. The last I checked, "60 Minutes" doesn't call itself "The old-fart news program."

If Dychtwald is right and boomers are not brand loyal, then some creative or media executives must have figured it out--even from a mistake.

If not, there is a conspiracy and someone could call in Oliver Stone or Michael Moore to do a movie and blow the lid off why some 44-year-old executive isn't getting a targeted TV commercial from Adidas urging him to switch to hip-hop gym shorts from his beloved Nike brand.

Next story loading loading..