Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Old Demographic Rules Aren't Enough Anymore

With the announcement of the 300 millionth baby being born back in October, a lot of interesting statistics from the U. S. Census either went unreported or were buried on page 12 of the news. Here are some of [what I think] the more interesting facts released this year:

* The South recorded both the largest numerical population increase [1.5 million] and the fastest rate of growth [1.4 percent];
* For the first time ever, there was a higher percentage of unmarried couples than married leading our nation's 111.1 million households [50.3 vs. 49.7];
* In 2005, the nation's minority population totaled 98 million, or 33 percent, of the country's total population;
* Real median household income in the United States rose by 1.1 percent between 2004 and 2005, reaching $46,326; and
* There are over 150 million women online and they are now outpacing men in terms of internet, email and computer usage.

Those numbers tell me a lot of things about what we really are in the U.S., what we need to recognize as marketers, and how the "average American" is changing. But what I'm really getting to in this post can be encompassed in five simple words:

Wallet share not market share.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rock of Ages

New York Times
AT 52, Martha Stinson is not quite sure where to turn when it comes to new music. The local Tower Records in Nashville, where Mrs. Stinson is an owner of a general contracting company, is going out of business, and she never did figure out how to load music onto the digital-music player she bought a couple of years ago.

But she may soon receive an overture from a source not known for its musical savvy: AARP. She is the kind of consumer that the association is targeting with a sweeping marketing campaign that it hopes will entice millions of new members, as the first kids weaned on rock ’n’ roll turn gray.

And if Mrs. Stinson is any indication, the group faces an uphill battle. She has repeatedly thrown out AARP membership solicitations, after all. “It’s going to be tough,” to market to those like her, she said. “Our generation has always been a little revolutionary. We feel like we’re in middle age. Were out bike riding, running businesses. Our kids are fully grown, and we’re kind of footloose and fancy free.”
Also see

Thursday, November 23, 2006

WKRP - Thanksgiving Turkey Drop


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rock's secret revolution

New York Daily News
Monday, November 20th, 2006

There's a quiet revolution going on in music, made all more surprising since it's coming from the normally noisy world of rock.
While the media were snoozing, a rash of low-key guitar-based bands have wormed their way up the charts, to the point where such groups now dominate the nation's download portals, leaving most hip-hop acts, and even many pop ones, in their sales wake.

Most music fans couldn't pick the members of bands like Hinder and the Fray out of a lineup. But each boasts an album that just sailed past the million mark, with the momentum to move far more.

These Midwest-based-bands have also recently landed the two most downloaded songs in the country: Hinder with "Lips of an Angel" and the Fray with "How to Save a Life."

At the same time, the faceless Kansas band Blue October has stealthily moved more than 600,000 copies of its latest CD, "Foiled." And the critically abhorred act Nickelback continues to post spectacular figures for its "All the Right Reasons" CD, all without a peep from the press.

After 58 weeks, Nickelback's disk remains in the top 20 of Billboard's album chart, with sales closing in on 4 million. That's the highest figure for any album on the Top 200 now. It's also some 2.5 million more CDs than have been moved by the best-selling rap act this year (T.I.).

Rock albums have also been lingering on the charts longer of late than those of any other genre. A full 30% of the disks currently logging more than 25 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 list belong to guitar-based bands. So far, Hinder's CD, "Extreme Behavior," has held on the list for 40 weeks and, if anything, is only picking up sales speed. Same with the Fray, which after 44 weeks is moving more units per week of "How to Save a Life" than it did six months ago.

So, why hasn't the press paid ample heed to these cornfed bands?

To Joe Levy, executive editor of Rolling Stone, it's partially a regional issue. "The rock press is, for the most part, based in New York, and the music business is mainly in L.A.," he explains. "It's been true for decades that bands which do better in the Midwest, like these, don't get as much attention. That's held true whether you're talking about REO Speedwagon in the '70s, Journey in the '80s or Hinder now."

According to radio analyst Sean Ross, acts like the Fray and Nickelback also get far less airtime in places like New York than in the middle of the country. To boot, Ross thinks the essential blandness of these bands lowers their media profile. "They're not extreme enough for the hard-rock people and not hip enough for the underground people," he says.

Doug Brod, editor of Spin, feels the problem has to do with these bands' lack of originality. "They sound like a lot of other bands out there," he says. "Hinder and Nickelback are like third-generation grunge bands. It's a fake Candlebox, who were fake Pearl Jam. The Fray sounds like Coldplay, a far superior band with better songs and a better sound."

Then there's the hipness problem to consider. None of these groups came from any underground scene. They have no edge to their sound, or their personalities, so a hip magazine like Spin has no use for them. Rolling Stone has finally done a major Hinder feature, but only after the album entered the top 10.

If these groups don't have press credibility behind them they still get plenty of TV exposure. All have appeared on the late-night talk shows. The Fray's song "How to Save a Life" sold in key part through its prominent usage on "Grey's Anatomy."

Then again, having your song used mainly as background music only highlights the ironic anonymity of bands this huge. Brod thinks the groups shouldn't mind their low profile. "If I were in a band that succeeded without the help of the national press, I would be stoked," he says. "It's more of an accomplishment."

Levy agrees, at least in part. "If you can put 10 million dollars in the bank and can play to 17,000 adoring fans in an arena, what does it matter that 100 guys in glasses don't really like your work?" he asks. "And, yet, it does matter. Performers are driven by the need for validation. They always want more."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Young Voters Democratic for the Second Straight Election

For those who Program their stations to the 18-29 Demo.
Important view of who they are can be gleaned from this info.

Pew Research Center analysis of Youth Vote 2oo6.

Voters under 30 were John Kerry's best age group in 2004, giving the Massachusetts senator 54% of their vote (Kerry did not win any other age group). The Democrats did even better among this age group this year, with Democratic House candidates getting 60% of the vote compared with 38% for Republican candidates. Democrats also won by wider-than-average margins in key Senate races such as Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

Age and Congressional Vote, 2002-2006
Sources: Exit polls conducted by VNS (2002) and NEP (2004, 2006). Votes for other candidates not shown.

And there are signs that this Democratic tilt among the young may be around for a while. While party affiliation among all voters was 38% Democratic and 35% Republican, the partisan balance among voters under age 30 was 43% Democratic and 31% Republican. In 2002, Republicans narrowly outnumbered Democrats among the young. Moreover, more young voters said they are liberal (34%) than said they are conservative (25%); among voters 30 and older, 33% identified as conservative and 18% were liberal. President Bush's approval rating among young voters was just 34%, compared with 43% among the whole voting public.

Age and Party Affiliation, 2002-2006
Sources: Exit polls conducted by VNS (2002) and NEP (2004, 2006).

No single issue stood out as especially important to young voters. Compared with other voters, fewer young voters rated corruption, immigration, Iraq, and terrorism as "extremely important." Similar numbers of younger and older voters rated the economy and values issues as extremely important. Unlike older voters, however, younger voters who cited terrorism, immigration, and values issues actually voted Democratic in their choice for the House of Representatives.

Young voters were significantly closer to the Democratic Party on the issue of Iraq, with 63% saying they disapprove of the war in Iraq (compared with 57% overall), and more than two-thirds (68%) saying they favor the withdrawal of some or all American troops from Iraq (60% of voters overall take this position).

The exit poll suggests that many young voters were still in play as the campaign drew to a close. Nearly a third of young voters (31%) said they made up their minds about how to vote in the final days of the campaign, substantially more than among other voters (17%). Nearly two thirds of these late deciders voted Democratic.

Clear Channel Communications, Inc. Enters into Merger Agreement

Clear Channel Communications, Inc. Enters into Merger Agreement with Private Equity Group Co-Led By Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.

Clear Channel Shareholders offered $37.60 per share in cash; Transaction valued at $26.7 billion. FULL DETAILS HERE.

Viacom's TV Land Shifts Focus to Boomers

Cable Network Adds Original Programming to Cater to Me Generation
By Andrew Hampp

Published: November 15, 2006

NEW YORK ( -- TV Land has long been in love with Lucy and happy to keep things "All in the Family." But the nostalgia-heavy network is about to update itself with a new lineup designed to exclusively reach out to what it considers to be the media's most overlooked audience: baby boomers.
TV Land is reaching out to the vast baby boomer population with new shows, making it the first major cable network to specifically target that demographic.

Vocal demographic
The Me Generation, now post-50 and therefore past the demographically desired age, has been quite vocal with their accusations of neglect from the advertising industry. With this in mind, TV Land has unveiled plans for the 2006-2007 season to add new shows both celebrity driven (George Foreman's "Family Forman") and reality based ("The Big 4-0") that will relate directly to audiences ages 40 to 60 -- making it the first major cable network to specifically target that demographic.

"The Me Generation, the yuppies, however you want to refer to them -- the generation demands attention from someone who's communicating to them on their terms," said network President Larry Jones. "TV Land is ready to be that network."

Household spending
The network's narrowing of focus comes on the heels of its own study, titled "TV Land's New Generation Gap," commissioned with the help of boomer expert Ken Dychtwald. Results from a poll of more than 4,000 U.S. residents in their 40s and 50s found the generation to be wealthier than 18- to 39-year-olds (the latter's $1.5 trillion total household expenditures pale in comparison to the boomers' $2.3 trillion). These staggering statistics prompted Mr. Dychtwald to dub yesterday's boomers "the new power demographic."

Yet aside from a glut of financial and pharmaceutical spots, commercial breaks are still sorely lacking in boomer representation, Mr. Dychtwald said.

"I'm 56. I can buy a better car than a 23-year-old," he said. "This is sort of a marketer's dream -- a big, free-spending generation that's interested in new technology but is getting increasingly annoyed."

Way back in the 1970s
Mr. Jones cited the 1970s as the genesis of the 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 demographics (back during the boomers' late teens and early 20s), after which point ad spending toward those groups began to trail off as they entered older adulthood.

"The 25-to-54 demo does embrace the yin and yang of the advertising industry," Mr. Jones said. "What does a 25-year-old really have in common with a 54-year-old?"

This is why new age groups need to be segmented and created, Mr. Jones added, which is where the newly formatted TV Land comes in. Seventy percent of its viewership is already over 50.

Super-serving boomers
"A lot of TV shows appeal to that generation -- 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Law & Order,' 'CSI' -- each have an all-boomer cast. Shows like that say, 'Here's a voice of authority,'" he said. "But they're not connected to any brand. We're here to super-serve that demo, just like MTV was for 18- to 29-year-olds and Nickelodeon was designed for 6- to 12-year-olds."

And the grey-haired boomer looks of this year's "American Idol" winner, 29-year-old Taylor Hicks?

"I don't think it was an accident," Mr. Jones said.

Ultimately, the network plans to take what it learned from the study and adapt them to all aspects of its content. Mr. Jones would love to help the automotive, health and beauty and packaged-goods industries usher in new campaigns aiming for the "power demographic," while Lean Cuisine has already done its part to play up its boomer appeal.

Boomer icon
But what the network really has its hopes set upon is the christening of George Foreman as the first reality star for the Me Generation.

"He's a really funny guy, he's got 10 kids, four or five of whom work for him," Mr. Jones said. "He started out in boxing but now he's got a whole grill empire. So here's this guy who's reinventing himself in the second half of his life. That's exactly what boomers want to do. He's the boomer icon."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Internet: How to Make Your Web Site Sing for You

Your Web site is like a digital business card, designers say, the first online look at your company that a customer gets. With luck, it will not be the last.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Air guitar T-shirt rocks for real

Australian scientists have created a T-shirt that allows air guitarists to play real music - without resorting to a real guitar.

The T-shirt has motion sensors built into its elbows that pick up movements and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar riffs.

One arm is interpreted as picking chords while the other strums.

The "wearable instrument shirt" is adaptable to both right and left-handed would-be rock stars.

"It's an easy-to-use, virtual instrument that allows real-time music-making - even by players without significant musical or computing skills," said the research team leader, Richard Helmer.

"It allows you to jump around and the sound generated is just like an original mp3."

Dr Helmer, an engineer from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Csiro) in Belmont, Australia, added that there was a serious side to the "wearable instrument shirt".

The researcher said similar sensors could be used in the future to reproduce a person in a virtual world so they could get feedback on their actions and improve their sporting techniques.

The T-shirt is the product of a collaboration by researchers specialising in computing, music and textile manufacture.

"The technology, which is adaptable to almost any kind of apparel, takes clothing beyond its traditional role of protection and fashion into the realms of entertainment," said the Csiro engineer.

By customising the software, the team has also tailored the technology to make an air tambourine and a percussion instrument called an air guiro. More including Video Demo.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Youth turnout in election biggest in 20 years

Youth turnout in election biggest in 20 years

By Jason SzepWed Nov 8, 6:11 PM ET

Young Americans voted in the largest numbers in at least 20 years in congressional elections, energized by the Iraq war and giving a boost to Democrats, pollsters said on Wednesday.

About 24 percent of Americans under the age of 30, or at least 10 million young voters, cast ballots in Tuesday's elections that saw Democrats make big gains in Congress. That was up 4 percentage points from the last mid-term elections in 2002.

"This looks like the highest in 20 years," said Mark Lopez, research director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which compiled the data based on exit polls. "Unfortunately, we can't say if it's a record because don't have good comparable data before 1986."

Rock the Vote, a youth-and-civics group, said young voters favored Democrats by a 22-point margin, nearly three times the margin Democrats earned among other age groups and dealing a potentially decisive blow to Republicans in tight races.

"The turnout was awesome," said 21-year-old Katryn Fraher, a political science major at the University of New Mexico who helped build a giant map of local polling stations for her school and was among a group of students walking the campus on Tuesday with a blackboard that counted down the time to vote.

Republican pollster Ed Goeas said young voters could have swayed a number of tight races on Tuesday, noting that of 28 seats Democrats picked up from Republicans in the 435-member House of Representatives, 22 were won by less than 2 percent of the vote and 18 were won by just 5,000 votes or less.

"The increase in the youth vote did come into play," he said.


As Republicans fought to keep control of Congress, both parties sought to rally young voters who turned out in record numbers in the 2004 presidential election.

At the University of Iowa, some students doubled as "Human Vote Billboards" with messages exhorting students to vote in the battleground state where Democrats won several races.

"It went well," said Brant Miller, 24, at the University of Iowa. "We got a bunch of students to get out there and vote."

Added Kelly Dolan, 24, at the University of Rhode Island: "The only way we can make politicians pay to attention to people our age is if we turn out in record numbers."

A poll by Harvard University's Institute of Politics last week showed that by a three-to-one margin, young Americans said the country was on the "wrong track."

Forty-six percent favored a total troop withdrawal from Iraq within a year, while a third said troops should be withdrawn after the Iraqis take full control.

Future elections could also be at stake. The "Generation Y" of Americans born from 1977 to 1994 -- shaped by the September 11 attacks, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina -- in nine years will make up a third of the electorate.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What Happens When the Spots Come On

On Average, Radio Holds Onto More Than 92% of Its Lead-In Audience During Commercial Breaks

What Happens When the Spots Come On

In this groundbreaking study by Coleman, Media MonitorsSM and Arbitron, minute-by-minute PPM audience data were merged with commercial tracking data to answer such vital questions as:
• What percent of the lead-in audience stays to listen during commercial breaks?
• Which demos and dayparts are more sensitive to the length of commercial breaks?
Read the study here.