Mad Men-Era DDB Alumni Reunite, Start Consultancy

'Senior Creative People' Will Focus on Marketing to Those Over 60

By Published on . 28

When a group of '60s-era creatives from Doyle Dane Bernbach held a reunion this summer, little did they know it would lead to a return to the ad business.

But that 's just what has happened for a quartet of old-school admen -- Chuck Schroeder, Don Blauweiss, Ed Griles and Sid Myers -- who this week launched a new marketing consultancy that , rather appropriately, is focused on advising marketers on targeting the 60-and-over set. It's a demographic that the group contends younger creatives today aren't adequately equipped to understand.

The name of the new firm is cheeky, but also rings literally accurate: Senior Creative People.

Part of the impetus behind the group lies in an aging population: As baby boomers are entering the senior-citizen designation, they're considered to be a viable target with spending power.

Chuck Schroeder
Chuck Schroeder

"Agencies and marketers are trying to figure out how to speak to an audience they ignored before," Mr. Schroeder, 68, told Ad Age . In his view, marketers aren't spending much time or putting forth the effort to make advertising resonate with seniors, and that could hurt them in the long run. Senior Creative People will offer strategic consulting and creative execution. "Essentially what we want to do is sit down with a client and offer what it's like to be a senior, because that 's what we're uniquely qualified to do."

All four men, now in their 60s and 70s, are alums from a time when DDB's Bill Bernbach prompted a so-called creative revolution in advertising. During their tenure, they worked on a swath of iconic campaigns, including President Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign ad "Daisy" and the "Think Small" and "Lemon" print ads for Volkswagen. Collectively, they have experience working on brands that range from Johnson & Johnson and IBM to Credit Suisse to Whirlpool and Alka-Seltzer.

"We offer a dimension that the agencies don't have, and perhaps don't want to get involved with," said Mr. Schroeder. He contends that many talented younger creatives think they can write copy that resonates with older groups, but that 's usually not the case.

For now, most of the people joining the firm will be DDB veterans, but as time goes on, Senior Creative People will likely recruit people with different agency backgrounds.

Senior Creative People is also starting a mentoring program that should have four colleges on board by the start of the new year: one each in New York, Los Angeles and ideally Chicago, as well as Alberta College of Art & Design in Calgary. The mentoring program currently has no name. Mr. Schroeder said they were tossing around "Mad Mentors," but that name was already taken.

"We came out of a social-change generation, and it's still in us," said Mr. Schroeder. While the group is taking their return to Madison Avenue seriously, in the end, it's lighthearted. We are "hoping to effect change, make a few dollars and have some fun."

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