Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Marketing Beauty of the Baby Boomers

Baby-boomers or “boomers” refer to people born between 1946 and 1964.
They are the massive postwar boomer generation that drove every significant cultural and marketing trend for 50 years.
Now that they are heading into their 60s, they are defying marketers' expectations about how they wants to live and shop.
They grew up with mass markets, enjoyed the rise of network TV and the birth of the Internet.
They are opinionated, educated, successful and have money to spend.
No wonder that they have the power to tell companies how they want to be approached.

For decades, beauty and cosmetics companies used models in their 20s with dewy skin to pitch products made for middle-aged women.
Although part of the female (and male) boomers undergo Botox treatments and plastic surgery, the majority is comfortable with their aging bodies - liver spots and crow's feet included.
They want to see people who look like them in ads.

One of the first companies to recognize this was Unilever.
In the static soap market, it is tough to maintain market share let alone strive for growth.
To promote their Dove soap, Unilever conducted a worldwide market research.

In 2004, Dove market researchers found that almost all ads featured slim and young women with perfect skin, body and hair.
But no matter where Dove’s (potential) customers were located, (U.S., South America, Europe, and Asia) they all considered the featured women to have an unrealistic and unattainable beauty.
Dove listened, learned and launched a print ad campaign, using ordinary looking women instead of glamorous models.
As a result, the sales of Dove rose 3.4% in one year. The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" (designed by Ogilvy & Mather) won the top prize at the 38th annual Effie Awards.

Cosmetic companies took note and followed.
Spring 2006, Sharon Stone, at that time 48, began appearing in a campaign for Christian Dior's Capture Totale, a $125 serum and $115 cream that claim to reverse such signs of aging as wrinkles, dark spots and sagging.
She is well compensated for it - Dior reportedly offered Stone a four-year contract in excess of $8 million.

MAC chose Catherine Deneuve, 62, in January 2006 as the third “beauty icon” for its cosmetics, joining Liza Minnelli, 60, and Diana Ross, 62.
All three inspired cosmetics collections that became hot sellers.
Fall 2006, MAC will debut new national ads for its Viva Glam lipstick that star a 60-year-old woman, according to John Demsey, president of the company.

Summer 2006, L'Oreal Paris launched a skin-care campaign featuring 60-year-old actress Diane Keaton.
She will appear in print and television ads for a new formula of anti-aging creams.

Cover Girl is bringing back Christie Brinkley, a 51-year old former supermodel.
Brinkley, who represented the brand for two decades until 1996, will feature in its Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Makeup ads.

How much things have changed is nicely illustrated by the story of Dayle Haddon.
This 57-year-old one-time top model was told twenty years ago that she was “over the hill” as a model.
Sweet revenge – she now appears in ads for L'Oreal's Age Perfect creams.

Marketing to the boomers is tricky though. These aging consumers want to be targeted as mature without being reminded of their exact age.
Revlon solved this tricky problem cleverly when it launched, its line of problem solving color cosmetics Vital Radiance.
The ads and packaging never explicitly mentions “over-50” or “mature, skin”, but it does feature a trim, gray-streaked model carrying a surfboard.
Revlon chose the phrase "changing skin" to promote its cosmetics line.

The trend is going to continue – in the US alone, the 135-million-strong population of 18- to 49-year-olds will stagnate; the 50+ population is going to grow from 89 million to 111 million — an increase of about 25 percent.

The boomers have boldly gone where no generation has gone before and created a new marketing frontier.
To quote Brinkley in her ads:
"I don't want to be younger. I just want to look it."

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