In Adweek Lauren Crichton reports on the absolute lack of advertising to the 50+ market.
Advertisers have long believed that the path to long-term loyalty from consumers is to grab them early. This thinking ignores that 50% of consumer spending is controlled by people over 50. Crichton writes:
The opportunity is enormous: a vast audience of people, with spending power, are either being completely ignored or subordinated via unrealistic expectations of age. It’s time to fill the void with relevant products and messages that speak to the lives, hopes, fears and aspirations of our aging populations as they are. We’ve got over the idea that you need to be thin and beautiful to be noticed and appreciated by society. Now it’s time to get over the idea that you need to be 21.
She notes that the approach is somewhat guided by our own refusal to accept aging, or simply that we don’t see ourselves in that light. Marketers believe that if we can see ourselves in youthful images that we will want to sign up for what they’re selling. In her words:
the underlying assumption being that the bait of youth will lure the older generation.
There are campaigns emerging which present a more realistic view of the range of ages and body types that marketers are addressing including one by women’s underwear collection Everlane.
The fact is that generations have more in common than we realize, and there are campaigns out there that have taken on up the mantle. In the Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels” campaign, Eugene and Mary show that finding true love is possible at any age, and in Netflix’s comedy series Grace and Frankie, we see that freedom and creativity are as important to two 70-year-old women as to our rebellious youth. We can even reach this audience through channels generally perceived to be the domain of the young: The New York Times’ NYTGender Instagram recently featured the Instagrannies, an emerging group of female sexagenarians who are giving millennial influencers a run for their money with their style, vitality and confidence. These few examples show what can be done when we address the older generations for who they really are and appeal to them through the lives they can actually lead rather than through some unreachable youth-inspired fantasy.