Study shows baby boomers ignored by ads

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NEW YORK -- Networks and advertisers are losing out on the opportunity to connect with baby boomers, who are frustrated that they are being ignored in favor of younger viewers, according to a new study commissioned by TV Land.

The study, based on phone and online interviews with 4,220 adults -- 1,655 of whom were 40-59 years old -- revealed that boomers actually are less likely to watch shows or respond to ads they feel ignore or disrespect them. Only 3% of the boomers polled described themselves as extremely satisfied with the TV programming options available to them. More than half claimed to pay little or no attention to ads that they felt targeted young adults while a third said that they were actually less likely to buy those products.

"TV Land's 'New Generation Gap Study' reinforces what most of us have known intuitively all along: That the widely accepted practice of primarily targeting younger consumers is just plain wrong," said Larry Jones, president of TV Land and Nick at Nite. "There is a clear and immediate need for marketers to rethink this approach when it comes to serving America's 78 million baby boomers, who are now in their power years."

The study was conducted by San Francisco-based Age Wave and market research firm Harris Interactive on behalf of TV Land, which commissioned the survey in order to deepen its understanding of its own target audience. "Boomers have transformed every phase of life they've gone through and they fully expect to be taken seriously as middlescent men and women," said Ken Dychtwald, president of Age Wave and the author of 12 books on aging-related issues. "This study serves as a wake-up call for all media looking to win the hearts, minds and wallets of the largest and most influential consumer group America has ever known."

The study also found that boomers are just as likely as young adults -- 71% in each demographic -- to be open to buying new products and services and just as likely -- 55% in each demo -- to be influenced by effective advertising.

"The TV Land 'New Generation Gap Study' forces everyone in media and advertising to take a hard look at how an overemphasis on youth may be turning off the largest and most affluent generation in history," said Tanya Giles, TV Land and Nick at Nite senior vp research and planning. "This generation is tired of being seen through an antiquated prism of what it means to be over the age of 40."
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