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Advertising to Baby Boomers on Local TV Is as Crucial as Ever

March 20th, 2019   ||    by Oriana Schwindt

Advertising to baby boomers? Hasn’t that ship sailed?

Definitely not. While plenty of advertisers have focused on the millennial generation in the last decade or so, conventional wisdom is starting to swing around on the value of TV viewers outside the 18-49 demographic, and even those over the age of 60.

Boomers are far more loyal to local TV, and local news in particular, than their younger counterparts. Nearly 50 percent of Americans 50-64 often get their news from local TV; that number rockets up to 57 percent for those 65 and up, according to NiemanLab. And just as importantly, it’s boomers who will continue to drive US spending over the next five to 10 years, according to Visa.

But it’s not enough to simply know that this audience is there. Here are three ways to really reach them.

1. Empathize With Boomers’ Fears About the Future

It’s not just millennials who face an uncertain future, according to CNBC. From an increasing debt load and an unstable stock market to children moving back home and parents moving in as well, plenty of boomers are having to re-evaluate the last stage of their lives.

Advertising to boomers, therefore, should feature a heavy dose of empathy with these issues and a message that you can help.

2. Give Them the Escapism They Crave

A study from Omnicom Media Group reported by Media Village showed that 70 percent of Americans—across all age groups—are so stressed out these days that they feel a need to escape sometimes. Most of these respondents are using media to do so.

This need for escapism isn’t limited to the programming they watch—ads can serve as an escape as well, particularly if the ads come during local news. So while it’s helpful to empathize with boomers, it’s also wise not to dwell on the issues boomers face.

3. Lean on Nostalgia

All generations go through multiple time periods where they’re more receptive to nostalgia, Dr. Clay Routledge, a psychology professor at North Dakota State University, told Variety. “In times of uncertainty or distress or they’re not sure where they’re going, nostalgia is a stabilizing force, it grounds us,” Routledge said. Featuring actors or references to previous eras of boomers’ lives in ads can provide this feeling of stability.

Leaning on nostalgia can also have the bonus effect of reaching millennials as well, many of whom are entering their first serious post-college nostalgia period. By choosing references to popular culture from millennials’ childhood, when many baby boomers were young parents, advertisers can effectively target two generations.

If you want to reach loyal viewers with disposable income, advertising to baby boomers is a no-brainer.

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