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Call us for a chat on +44 (0)20 7836 3678 or email Amanda Francis


Are advertisers failing to generate new business opportunities from the over fifties?

I read an article in The Drum last week about the lack of adverts that target people over 50.

I can’t say this really surprised me, as this seems to have been the case for many years now. I can only recall a couple of ads in recent years specifically trying to win business from that demographic, namely:

  • Werther’s Originals
  • Just for Men hair colouring – sadly I couldn’t find a link for the specific advert I remember, but I’m 95% certain I didn’t just imagine it.

Come to think of it, it’s possible both adverts could have been at least 10 years ago – how time flies as I grow older myself!

Surely there must have been hundreds more adverts since then. Maybe I don’t remember because I’m not in the target audience. Maybe I don’t remember them because they are on during the day while I’m at work. Maybe I don’t remember because they were not memorable. And maybe there are a whole range of adverts that would bridge a rather large age range including the over 50s (like Ronseal’s “it does what it says on the tin” campaign).

The figure that The Drum quoted was that “only 4%” targeted the over 50’s. So this led to me to the following trains of thought…

Most brands and most agencies are intelligent. They will generate new business and make money from the over 50s one way or another because people don’t suddenly stop spending at the stroke of their half century. Perhaps over 50s don’t think of themselves as “older” these days. Many over 50s who don’t have kids and may be independent, single, or whatever are just as likely to be living a lifestyle that may be considered 10 or even 20 years younger compared to previous generations.

Maybe brands think there is a lot of money to be made generating new business via the medium of “pester-power”. People are having children later in life, so it is increasingly common to have parents over 50 with young teenage children.

Along the same lines as above, over 50s with older children (in their 20s and 30s) might be supporting them/funding them for longer these days as the effects of student loans, unaffordable house prices, high rents, etc are felt.

But TV advertising is not the be all and end all.

There are other mediums to target the “silver” market (not that all over 50s have silver hair – I’m sure those Just For Men and Regain ads were pretty persuasive).

For example, the amount of carefully targeted direct mail my parents get is astounding – with the added advantage that the marketers tend to have a pretty accurate idea of what demographic they are in great detail.

On top of this, newspapers and magazines are full of adverts targeting new business from obviously older people – after all nobody in their right mind below 50 is going to buy anything from Franklin Mint are they?

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