Advertisers need to align with interests rather than age, or indeed any other demographic. Greater age representation is increasingly demanded of brands and commercially, it seems to make sense; those 55+ hold more than a third of Britain’s wealth. So how can the advertising industry become more representative in its advertising?
Most importantly, we need to be careful of the assumptions we are making of this audience. Often those over 50 are pictured within the home, yet the number of those 65+ in employment has doubled from 5.5% in 1992 to 10.2% in 2018. Furthermore, less than 5% of images of older generations show them handling technology, despite 69% of those 55-74 owning a smartphone. It seems as though our perception is different from the realities facing the Baby Boomer audience.
By more openly targeting a broader audience, brands should not be afraid of tackling traditionally taboo topics. Holland and Barratt’s Me.No.Pause. campaign from last year is a great example of a brand bring the taboo subject of menopause out into the open to appeal and build loyalty amongst an older target. As a result, it won £500,000 worth of free advertising on TfL – however brands need to engage with this dialogue without the incentive of free advertising. Pablo, Holland and Barrett’s creative agency, sums this up nicely: “We hope this campaign will spark and inspire a more open conversation about this important subject.“
Ultimately, a cross-generational approach to audiences – driven by interests – has the ability to provide a brand with a wider customer base and more opportunities in the long term. In the ‘Truth about Age’, McCann has summed ageing up as a “… journey of limitless opportunities and personal growth” and this is a great way for many brands to challenge what they know about those 55+.