Boomers. Are Advertisers Missing Out?

By Charlene Weisler

Are Boomers a missed opportunity? Youth has always been a desired target demographic group for advertisers. But the genus of this attraction started in the 1960s when the youth oriented ABC network decided to shift the conversation from strictly male and female audience targeting to age and gender. In other words, it was a marketing ploy and that ploy has gained credence over the decades.

According to a recent study by IPSOS in the U.K., the impact of aging on societies will be greater than the impact of Millennial “disrupters”.  The report notes that “rising life expectancy and falling birth rates mean populations around the world are getting older. The shift has been gradual, and because humanity is better at spotting immediate change or danger, rather than noticing steady transformation, our shared understanding about what later life is like is woefully out of date. It is portrayed as a ’narrative of decline’ – not a time of opportunity and change.”

Older adults are not slowing down, according to the study, but rather are taking on new challenges, roles and responsibilities and, because of medical breakthroughs, are more active and enjoying life more than previous generations.

Advertisers are advised to promote inclusion and respect:

  • Advertising Presence. Older people are largely absent from advertising messages, despite having a disposable income that makes them worth courting.
  • Advertising Depiction. When older people are included in ads, it is often in an unflattering light – as comic relief or as exploiting stereotypes.

The AARP reported that adults 50+ are responsible for 51% of all consumer spending despite being only 45% of all adults. They are projected to have 70% of all U.S. disposable income over the next five years  and currently have a greater share of spend across a wide range of categories such new cars and trucks (57%), personal care products and services (53%), household furnishings and equipment (52%), and entertainment (51%).  And yet, AARP finds that this group is targeted by just 5%-10% of all marketing efforts. Ignoring the older consumer is simply bad business.

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