UPDATE; November, 28th, 2014: My dear readers, I was a little confused by the first two comments below, as much as I appreciate them in general and any you may post. It seemed to me that Mary Jo Sawyer and Toure Cannon thought WE at LTAS were AGREEING with the advertisers. I wanted to MAKE SURE that anyone who reads this understands that we ABSOLUTELY do not agree with advertisers or network executives in their view of soap fans or how they treat us. We are doing our best, and will be in the future, to prove them both wrong about their misled views on our viewing and consumption habits. Again, WE DO NOT AGREE WITH THE ADVERTISERS OR NETWORK EXECUTIVES IN THEIR IDIOTIC ESTIMATION OF SOAP FANS LIKE THOSE OF US AT LTAS, AND YOU, OUR WONDERFUL READERS–WE ARE TRYING TO SHOW THEM THAT WE ARE VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT (although we shouldn’t have to show them this, but that’s life, right–ugh!). And ultimately, of course, we are trying to get AMC and OLTL back–not to mention GL, ATWT, AW, Loving, Dynasty, and Dallas.
Hey, Soap Fans. Now, this is neither the interview with Dr. Donald Boudreau that we told of in our “Hot December Promo” post the other day, nor the interview with an unnamed expert on advertising that we also promoted in that post. Dr. Donald is an expert on this topic, as it is a big part of business, and that is his specialty. So we asked him just one question.
Recently an LTAS idol, soap journalist, and author of, “Love in the Afternoon: Why Soaps Still Matter,” Carolyn Hinsey, reported in a recent column that advertisers don’t target older audiences, because they think we are set in our consumer habits and aren’t going to be useful targets for them for their ever-new products and ads. We told Dr. Boudreau this and asked him what he thought. Here is what he had to say…
“Jeffrey Bercovici (2011) observes that, “Advertisers have been bamboozled. They’ve been told by the networks for 40 years that the only people worth targeting are 18-49 year olds. It originated with ABC, which was getting its ass handed to it by CBS.”
In my book, American Business and Daytime Dramas (published by Smashwords, 2012; available at Smashwords.com and Amazon.com) an entire essay is devoted to the subject, “On the Economic Prowess of the Baby Boomer Generation As Television Advertisers Audiences.” It powerfully goes about documenting how misguided television networks are for not supporting both retaining and expanding viewership among these age groups, in light of their proven adaptability to adopting new technologies with enthusiasm, contrary to the conventional wisdom, and given their strong purchasing power, relative to other age/gender demographics. While advertisers are generally focused on targeting the ages 18-49 year olds, what this means is that more than half of the affluent boomer demographic is being completely ignored, according to Nielsen’s own research.
Moreover, if the aforementioned should somehow still fail to convince one, then at least take note of the following. According to a recent study, “Inheritance and Wealth Transfer to baby boomers,” commissioned by MetLife from Boston College’s center for Retirement research, two out of three boomers should get something, with $64,000 being the median amount. The study is anticipating an intergenerational transfer of wealth totaling $11.6 trillion, including some $2.4 trillion that has already been gifted. Corporate advertisers spending your advertising dollars at major network Upfronts for television show advertising, pay heed to this key Baby Boomer age demographic, ignoring it at your own peril.
In recent years, Nielsen’s own Joe Stagaman and Pat McDonough presented findings at the Consumer 360 conference on the opportunities that exist for advertisers seeking opportunities beyond traditional demographics. In fact, marketers who are only focusing on the traditional 25-54 age demographic are missing approximately 58 percent of the United States population totaling 180 million people. Additionally, in the process of neglecting them, television networks are overlooking growth opportunities as baby boomers age and those under 25 wield increasing influence over household spending.
Conclusively and finally, recent research suggests (Tedeschi, 2006) that, in fact, older adults engage in more consumer spending than any other age group and have become major players in the web economy, good reasons to be given all their due respects by the major television networks and production studios. And that respect includes the rapid returning to the airwaves of ABC’s One Life to Live (intact as heretofore, including Cartini style) and, of course, All My Children complete too with the great Susan Lucci, et al. Now that would not only make good sense and a renaissance to ABC Daytime television; it would also make sound business sense in the best economic interests of ABC Disney’s shareholders and that of the shows many longtime corporate advertisers, those household names who loyally and profitably supported the same for decades.”
What an answer! See, advertisers! We are an audience worth targeting! Also, yes, many soap viewers are “older.” But many are younger too. Our two new recent staff additions, Casey Hutchinson (“The Young and the Restless” Cliffhanger Friday columnist) and Sofia Bryan (“The Bold and the Beautiful” Cliffhanger Friday columnist) are just two examples of this.”
Now, soap fans, what would YOU say in response to this view by advertisers that the older viewers/consumers are, the less likely they are to be valuable advertising targets? Write your responses in the comments section below this post! It is so, so, so important and wonderful for us to hear from you on any and every subject and post, including this one.
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And also don’t forget to, as always, stay soapy!
–Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan