Focalyst Forum: The Fogies are Online

Boomers are spending loads of time online these days, what with an increase in broadband connections and new sites and even social networks explicitly targeting them.

However, many marketers’ media plans are only now beginning to reflect their digital emergence, according to some speakers at the Focalyst Forum in New York last week.

In a recent integrated campaign from The Hartford Financial Services Group, developed by Campbell Mithun Advertising, the bulk of the media buy was TV accompanied by ads that ran in the Wall Street Journal. “We did online, and need to do a lot more online,” said The Hartford’s VP of Brand Management and Corporate Advertising, Michael Johnson.

“Baby boomers have led us,” said Richard Harris, SVP of strategy and distribution at Travelocity. “We moved toward integrated [travel] packages, not just selling based on price. The boomer-led phenomenon will enrich the experience of shopping for travel.”

An interesting side note about boomer Net use: The Web must accommodate the aging boomer whether it addresses the aging boomer populace separately or concessions exist across the Web. Some ways to make more sites usable include larger fonts, greater contrast settings, etc. — but many boomers don’t want to be reminded of their physical ailments. MSN, in marketing a version of its service with such settings, admits to having made an error in this regard. “Accessibility does not equal aging,” said MSN’s Stephen Kim, who added boomer users didn’t like the term “accessibility,” which its suggestion of disability. “It was packaged the wrong way.”

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