BermanBraun Aims New Site Aimed At Invisible Demo: Baby Boomers

Company Will Sell Ads in Partnership with AOL

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Baby Boomers surf the web too, albeit perhaps while wearing bifocals and on a decade-old version of Internet Explorer. Media and entertainment company BermanBraun feels the over-50 crowd is an underserved audience online and has created a website just for them.

Named Purple Clover, the site aims to provide content for people "rewiring for their third act," said BermanBraun president Jeff Berman (no relation to the company's co-founder Gail Berman). Purple Clover has been in beta for the last month and features articles tailor-made for Baby Boomers like "Six-pack at Sixty?" and "The Hebrew Sex House for Seniors."

BermanBraun's 'Purple Clover'
BermanBraun's 'Purple Clover'

"We saw no one offering a single platform for [Baby Boomers] to read, watch and engage and for advertisers to reach them there," Mr. Berman said, adding that the typical article for folks 50-and-up is something like "9 Diseases You May Die From Tomorrow."

The reason for that gap may be that the over-50 crowd isn't as attractive as advertisers' darling demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds. "Part of it has to do with brand loyalty. The feeling is older folks tend to be less adventuresome" whereas 18- to 49-year-olds haven't made up their minds yet and "have greater lifetime value," said Brad Adgate, SVP and director of research at Horizon Media.

However today's over-50 crowd -- and especially the younger set of Boomers -- is "probably a lot more active and youthful looking and thinking than previous generations," Mr. Adgate said. Add to that "when you're in your 50s, you're in your peak earning years and have more disposable income."

Mr. Berman was unable to provide names of brands that have signed on to advertise or in talks to do so, but said the company has been making the rounds to Minneapolis (home of Target), Cincinnati (Procter & Gamble) and Bentonville, Ark. (Walmart) and the feedback has been "encouraging." BermanBraun is selling ads on Purple Clover in partnership with AOL -- continuing the two companies' previous partnerships -- and Mr. Berman said those efforts are largely around securing sponsorship deals though the site does run regular banners sold by the thousands of impressions.

BermanBraun is also looking to get a slice of advertisers' more lucrative video ad budgets. The site will air original professionally produced videos, as well as the user-generated variety, and will be looking for opportunities to include brands, particularly in the site's live programming.

"We'll be launching a need-to-know, quick-hit video series that will be distributed not only on the property but via email and ultimately via text as well...with an eye toward ultimately Purple Clover living across all media platforms [including TV]," Mr. Berman said.

Video will be poised to become the site's dominant form of content. "We were focused more on hiring an executive producer than a lead editor. This cohort consumes more video than any generational cohort, so we're programming Purple Clover with a higher blend of video," Mr. Berman said. To that end BermanBraun has brought on former PBS managing editor Larry Carlat to run the site, though he's also a proxy for BermanBraun's founding partners Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun.

"They're the inspiration behind this. They are in the demo, and really the voice is their voice. We brought Larry on to channel that," Mr. Berman said.

As for Purple Clover's unusual name, Mr. Berman said it's a combination of the color of royalty and what he described as "the heartiest of plants" ("You mow it down and it grows back," he said).

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