Passing The Torch (Torching The Past) Part 2.

Verisimilitude. (ver-a-sim’-il-i-tood) Noun. “The appearance of truth.”

It’s the word that could make you rich. But first, a quick history lesson.

When the Baby Boom generation came of age they rejected many of the values of their parents’ generation. Consider dress and presentation, for instance. If Dad kept his hair short, Junior grew his long. If Dad wore a white shirt, tie, and dark slacks to the office, Junior wore paisley, or tie-died shirts over his jeans.

In approximately six short years our whole society had accepted, and adopted, the new style. By 1969 even grandmothers wouldn’t be caught dead dressing as they did in 1963. Much like styles in clothing, advertising didn’t make it through the following decade unaffected.

Ads targeting the WWII generation tended to be factual statements of benefits (“More iron than a pound of calf’s liver“), or slice-of-life dialogs (“Oh, Mrs. Olson… I just can’t brew a good cup of coffee“). By the late sixties, advertisers were dropping features and benefits and playing to the Boomers self-esteem. Sexual innuendo became common (“Does she, or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure“), as did a greater awareness of the women’s movement (“I can bring home the bacon, cook it up in a pan, and never never let you forget you’re a man“).

Why dwell on the last passing of the torch? Because it’s a predictor of the current demographic shift. It’s creating a change in our society of equal magnitude. As I pointed out in Part 1,

At the peak of the Baby Boom, there were 74 million teenagers. Today there are 72 million teenagers ready to take over the world.”

This emerging generation is rejecting many of their parents values. And, just as the coming of age of the Baby Boomers effected every aspect of the rest of society, so too will the emerging generation change society again. By the end of this decade, grandmothers will be wearing hip hop influenced clothing. Within just a very few years, marketing which targets these new consumers will be motivating all of us.

Your current marketing plan? It’s probably useless.

Those advertisers who are successfully reaching the emerging generation are doing it differently than they did even two years ago. The new communication is unscripted. It’s real. And you get the distinct feeling that you know the people delivering the message.

Here are some examples of that new communication. Click in the link to hear the radio ads in MP3 format, or the streaming videos as QuickTime movies:

Clayton Homes Radio Ad
City Perk Radio Ad
Star Pawn Radio Ad

Robbins Brothers OVI
Michelle Miller OVI
Champ Software OVI

These people are real. They own or manage the businesses featured. They are speaking from the heart. Do you believe them?

Do you believe Glenn when he describes the quality of his manufactured homes? Do you believe Sharon when she explains helping young men do a better job of proposing marriage? Do you believe Al when he says he puts love and quality into his coffee?

Would you choose to do business with these people? If you were as transparent in your communication, would other consumers choose to do business with you?

Wizard of Ads® Partner Rex Williams expressed it this way:

“Your customers want a truthful representation of you and your business. They sense your honesty when you pause to search for just the right word. They feel the authenticity of your quirky glance across the room. Congratulations, you’ve just pulled back the curtain and revealed to the world who you really are… and they love you for it.”

Start examining the way you communicate with your customers. (Hint: pay close attention to the way they communicate with each other.) Today’s consumers aren’t just buying what you sell, they’re buying you. They’re buying verisimilitude. In the coming decade, it’s the word that could make you rich.

Remember there is opportunity at every time of change.


Senior Wizard of Ads® Partner Roy H. Williams has six solid recommendations for advertisers preparing to do business with the emerging generation. Download your free copy of Marketing In 2005 And Beyond by clicking on the link.

Online Video Introductions were created by Wizard of Ads® Partner Rex Williams, at his Sunpop Studios while the rest of the industry was still making tightly-scripted industrial videos. You might want to consider an OVI when you budget for next year’s marketing plan.

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