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Can Your Campaign Appeal to Millennials and Baby Boomers? (Maybe If the Karate Kid's Mom Helps Out)

by Sloane Heller  |  
May 22, 2013

A recent Forbes article described Millennials as elusive, self-involved, opinionated, and impatient.  The Millennial economy is a “participation economy.” In other words, Millennials want to play a role in every aspect of your business---from product development to marketing and the customer experience.

Those folks born between 1980 and 2000 might be the toughest crowd for marketers to win over, but at 82 million strong, it’s imperative for companies to rise to the challenge.

And what about Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) on the other side of the spectrum? Historically, only 5% of marketers have paid any attention to Baby Boomers.  But the tide could be changing.  In a recent report, Nielsen called the group, “marketers' most valuable generation,” noting their buying power and social media habits.  In five years, boomers will control 70% of the country’s disposable income.

A USA Today article even discussed whether Baby Boomers are “Hollywood’s hot new target demo.” And Amazon is clearly taking note of the generation, unveiling a new 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store just this spring.

But what if you want to appeal to both Millennials and baby boomers in a single campaign?

Finding a Connection Between Millennials and Baby Boomers

Even though the two groups have very different attitudes and habits, finding common ground is not impossible. For example, everyone enjoys being treated like a VIP.  People like to be recognized and rewarded. And humor is another way to bridge the wide gap between Millennials and boomers.

At my company, Front Flip’s loyalty program attracts a wide range of people from teens to 65 and up. Our mobile app is fun, exciting, and definitely not intimidating.  Consumers of all ages are getting tired of the same old punch cards. Plus, they love the chance to win a prize every time they go out to eat or shop.

When the Front Flip executive team decided it was time to roll out our first consumer video, I was late into my pregnancy. So, I quickly decided I wanted my mom, Randee Heller, to play a starring role. Mom isn’t only a Baby Boomer---she’s an actress, best known for playing Mrs. Laruso in the 80s classic movie The Karate Kid.

I called her super-early LA time with a rough idea. After she got over the fact that I wasn’t calling about going into labor, she accepted the part.

The Karate Kid is one of those films that spans generations---whether you took your kids to see it in the theaters, developed a crush on Ralph Macchio, or tried to re-create the crane. If you weren't around when the movie came out, chances are someone has  told you, “It’s a classic, and you have to rent it on Netflix."

I turned to my sister, a TV writer in Hollywood, to help concept the piece. We settled on a mockumentary-style video. In it, my mom thinks that Front Flip is only for A List celebrities. While she talks about using the app several times a day with ease, she reminds the audience she’s a Boomer when she calls it “the” Twitter.

With this video, we tapped into the common desire for VIP treatment and a good laugh. And we did it leveraging an 80’s classic. My mom (the Boomer) engages with mobile technology just like your typical Millennial. She uses Front Flip not because she’s addicted to her phone but because the Front Flip program makes her feel like a celebrity.

On day one of the release, I watched the comments on Facebook come from vastly different points on the age spectrum: 22, 35, 65, and so on. They’re getting a kick out of the piece and the chance to win a DVD signed by Ralph Macchio!

We’re only a few weeks into the campaign, but my hunch is we are onto something.

We all know we need the Millennials to embrace our products and share the love with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.  But isn't it time Boomers also got some love?

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Sloane Heller is the director of Communications and MultiMedia at loyalty marketing company Front Flip. Prior to Front Flip, she was a TV news reporter, covering major stories, such as the 2008 Presidential Election and the Joplin tornado.

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  • by Susan Wed May 22, 2013 via blog

    Come on ... you can't think that any self respecting boomer would consider this as a viable marketing campaign to them.

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