Super Bowl XLVI TV commercials ignored Baby Boomers

Imagine the payoff if a company actually figured out that people over 50 are watching, are paying attention, and have money ready to spend. Photo: American Honda

SAN DIEGO, February 6, 2012Whether you’re a football fan or not, you’re probably talking about the commercials from this weekend’s Super Bowl: Clint Eastwood, David Beckham and Adriana Lima, talking babies, plenty of clever dogs and lots of auto ads. 

Most automakers including Chevy forgot about the many buyers over 50 watching Super Bowl XLVI.

But if you’re over 50, you probably noticed most of the advertisers didn’t bother to talk to you. This is a big, big mistake. Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 represent 26.3 percent of the country’s total population but control a third of all consumer spending – more than $2.1 trillion in annual buying power according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute. That’s more than sixteen times Generation X (born 1965-1976, $125 billion in buying power) and Generation Y (1977 – present, $172 billion buying power).

Only two of the top 15 favorite brands of Baby Boomers identified by Ad Age magazine bought advertising on the Super Bowl: Volkswagen and Pepsi. The list in order:

  1. Levi’s
  2. Harley-Davidson
  3. Volkswagen
  4. Slinky
  5. Noxzema
  6. The Beatles
  7. L’Eggs
  8. Pepsi
  9. Absolut Vodka
  10. Saturday Night Live
  11. Facebook
  12. Frye Boots
  13. Coach Bags
  14. Clairol
  15. Club Med

The Vibrant Woman website surveyed its audience of women over 50 about their favorite brands. None of them showed up either: Polo/Ralph Lauren, Martha Stewart, Jack Daniels, Subaru, Starbucks, and Merrill shoes.

Other brands known for targeting baby boomers with successful marketing include BMW/Mini and Starwood Hotels. They were missing in action too.

Just one ad was clearly designed to appeal to Baby Boomers. It came from Honda with its send-up of the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” featuring the mature in age but not in attitude Matthew Broderick. Most critics applauded it as fun, creative, and clever, among the most successful ads of this year’s game.

One ad that was a smashing success with Baby Boomers and viewers of all ages: Betty White for Snickers in 2010.

We have to go back two years to Super Bowl 44 in 2010 to find a commercial that successfully appealed to adults over 50, and it was by far the most successful Super Bowl commercial that year and named the most successful commercial for all of 2010. It’s possibly one of the few you can remember: the Snickers commercial featuring Betty White and Abe Vigoda playing touch football. The commercial turned out to be a springboard for the then 88-year-old White, who has since become one of the most popular and well-known celebrities in the United States and who is still going strong at age 90.

The group that really missed out: technology companies. USA Today reported in 2011 that Baby Boomers spend more on technology than young buyers, according to data from Forrester Research. It’s true that younger buyers are eager technology shoppers but they don’t have the buying power of the Baby Boomers. For example, Baby Boomers are buying more Apple products. They cite their ease of use, speed, dependability, and style. Imagine that! 

It’s true that people of all ages get a kick out of funny animals, babies, and wild stunts, but imagine the payoff if a company actually figured out that people over 50 are watching, are paying attention, and have money ready to spend. It seems like a winning formula to me.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

VIDEO: Watch all the Super Bowl XLVI ads here

LifeCycles is intended to provide inspiration and information only. If you are considering any health, dietary, exercise or lifestyle changes based on the information provided here, please seek advice from a qualified professional.

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, radio segment contributor and media guest, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more  LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate


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