Screenwriting, Film-Making and Web TV
I mentioned in my last post that “senior angst” is prevalent in anyone who has experienced job discrimination, loss or hopelessness as the result of getting older.
Importantly, I also mentioned that senior angst is hitting the same group that only a few decades ago defined “teen angst.”
From a filmmaking and marketing perspective this is significant, because it means there is a theme that runs through this group, a core set of challenges and values that have existed with them for decades.
Right off, I should qualify this discussion by saying I’m not suggesting that you pander to this group with cheap products and fear tactics. I deplore that kind of behavior and I believe many in this age group do as well. Fear-based misinformation about ObamaCare may successfully upsell a vulnerable population on a more expensive insurance product, but that is not my idea of good corporate citizenship.
What I am suggesting is this: The companies and individuals who make it a fundamental part of their business to help these folks, to actively and positively participate in their story, will experience an invaluable increase in brand value and long-term appreciation.
What we do to ease each other’s discomfort in down times is priceless.
Now, here’s another thing that I have learned: the people that help you when you are down, are almost always the ones who have been there, too. So not every brand is going to be perceived as genuine if they reach out to this group.
McDonalds, for example, can successfully offer a free cup of coffee and a wifi connection, because the franchise, which also owns the fabled Ronald McDonald Houses, knows about suffering (it would help, of course, if they increased wages as well).
By contrast, a yacht dealership won’t get more than a quiet sneer if it tries the same promotion.
Does this mean all upscale businesses can’t make an honest connection with the generation of senior angst?
It really depends on how genuine the connection is.
For instance, I know of a motor home dealership that offers free hot dogs and hamburgers on the weekend, but the offer is only available inside their new motor home showroom, not outside where the used vehicles are and not at any of their other used vehicle lots. So it’s not an inclusive promotion, it’s exclusive.
It’s also sad, because they’re missing a huge potential clientele this way. The generation of senior angst is also a huge purchaser of used motor homes, primarily because they offer an attractive alternative to more expensive, fixed housing.
The point is, if you think you may have an inherently viable connection to the generation of senior angst, and you truly want to connect with them, do yourself a favor: don’t pander.
Be honest, be empathetic, be helpful in a real, meaningful way.
Of course, a lot of people will say, “well, that’s not our target market, these people are down on their luck and that makes them a huge credit risk.”
Two thoughts: First, this is a huge and growing percentage of the population. You may be one of them, or you know someone who is. Most (if not all) are undeservedly poor. They need to get back to a comfortable life.
Second, you’re absolutely right, their finances are a shambles. So here’s what you need to do: Hire them.
Give them a decent job with decent pay.
Help them get out of their seemingly hopeless situation.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly that cures the angst.
In part three of this series, we’ll explore the powerful connection between the generation of senior angst and their grandchildren.