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Hot off the press

Out of Touch or On the Button?

Image of older woman looking happy

Hands up, who wants to be younger and sexier? Probably most of us and brands are no exception. But why do advertisers ignore an older demographic?

Why do many brands constantly chase younger customers? It’s a mystery to us. The over 55s are a lucrative market and one that brands would be foolish to ignore. The older demographic makes up 55% of the UK population and holds 60% of the nation’s wealth. As an agency, we have always known the value of the ‘grey pound’. It’s no accident that most of our clients target a 50+ market. After all, these are the people with the disposable income and time to spend it.  

We were, however, surprised to learn that according to a YouGov survey, despite the over 65s outspending the average UK adult in most categories of goods and services, they are much less responsive to ads than those under twenty four. Indeed, only 16% of over 65s agree that advertising influences their purchase decisions. Why is this? Could it be that brands are so preoccupied with chasing Gen Z and Millennials they just don’t make the effort to target an older demographic?  

Quite possibly. According to a recent report by Kite Factory, over 55s watch twice as much television as the average adult but are 30% less likely to see someone who represents them in commercials. Add to that the fact that in the past ten years online advertising spend has been upweighted to reach an under 35 audience, largely at the expense of TV and print, it’s not difficult to see why an older audience feels ignored and unloved.

So, how do you tap into this vast (and wealthy) market? 

Firstly, go back to basics. Think about your product USP and be honest about who your brand appeals to. You may want to see a twenty five year old on Tik Tok singing your praises but that doesn’t mean it’s ever going to happen or that it’s even a good idea. 

Secondly, use an agency that knows and understands your audience. One of AJ’s strengths is the broad age range of our team. Industry wide, only 1% of agency personnel are over 60. Having older members of staff available to collaborate on briefs is an advantage that should not be overlooked. The average age of agency staff is 34 and those of us who have been around a while know that when you’re thirty, a seventy year old seems positively ancient. When you’re approaching 50 however, your view is somewhat different. 

We also know that the over 55s are not one homogenous group. A 55 year old won’t have the same needs and drives as an 80 year old and therefore will respond differently to communications. Today’s sixty something is just as likely to be climbing Machu Picchu as pottering around the bowling green. The older market is a group as diverse and as nuanced as any other and if you treat them as such, you’ll see a return for your efforts. 

In conclusion, yes we love the younger generation, they bring much needed vibrancy and freshness to our industry and the world in general. However, clients and agencies who ignore the ‘Pensioner Powerhouse’ are closing themselves off to a massive market of loyal customers. If you don’t pay attention to them, they won’t notice you…

If you want a new perspective on talking to an older audience get in touch to find out how we can help.