According to partner of Fifty Not Out Nick Richardson, around 90 per cent of ad agency staff are under 50, and looking around any old agency you wander into, that’s not a surprising figure. And at yesterday’s ‘Forgotten After Fifty’ breakfast, facilitated by the International Advertising Association, the hot topic was why this age group is so often forgotten.
“It’s not a niche market, just like women is not a niche market,” Richardson said, moderating a panel discussion.
Richardson noted that the over 50 market spends over half a billion dollars every day, and this is growing by $4000 every second.
“Not everyone has money to burn in this group, but that’s the same for all age brackets. The over 50s are not like their thrifty, war-time parents.
Their purchases are often driven in spite of advertising, not because of it.
“Stereotypes are still lurking in the back of advertisers’ minds and media buyers’ minds,” Macquarie Media Network executive chairman Russel Tate said, kicking off the panel discussion.
Alongside him was Ipsos director of research, mind & mood report Laura Demasi, Reckitt Benckiser head of media ANZ Rowena Newman and Cummins&Partners founding partner Kirsty Muddle.
“For those in their mid to late-60s, life is only getting bigger not smaller,” Demasi said, citing a “subconscious ageism” present in the industry.
“One of the things that pisses these people off is the patronising stereotypes, like people in ads for insurance with perfectly combed white hair walking on the beach at sunset. I can’t think of anything worse,” Tate added.
“This group is the same as they were 10 years ago. They’re quite ok with being seen as themselves, and it’s dangerous to play around with that.”
For Demasi, the idea of using nostalgia as a marketing strategy was “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard”.
“The message that’s giving them is that your best years are over, it’s all downhill from here, you’re done and dusted and should just get ready for death.
Reminding them that their past was fantastic is stupid.
WYZA chairwoman Sandra Hook rebutted this from the audience, saying over 50s are ok with nostalgia, and that it reminds them of how far they’ve come.
“It’s a bit of cuteness from our past,” Hook said.
But Demasi denied this was an appropriate way to hit the mark, replying, “It might be cute but it’s not a strategy”.
Muddle said few creative agencies were actually targeting the over 50s market alone in their work.
“There’s not a lot of groups targeting 50 plus from a creative point of view,” she said.
“You shouldn’t be getting briefs just targeting 50 plus or over 60s, from a creative perspective, and if you are you should be worried.
“But from a media perspective you should be, and if you aren’t you need to ask your client why they’re not targeting them.
It’s the magic of creativity that connects with you. So can you touch a 55-year-old with the same magic touch as an 18-year-old? Depending on the product you probably could. From a media point of view, probably not.
“It’s the message not necessarily the casting, then it’s how you deliver that content. Unless you are targeting them you’re going to miss them.”
As for targeting the age group in media, Newman said from an FMCG perspective, the model “isn’t broken yet” in terms of targeting older demographics.
“We don’t have to think about age, it kind of ticks along on its own,” she said.
“We’re thinking about the hard to reach markets like men, younger females and mums. The 50 plus market just turns up in droves to watch TV so it’s not something we have to worry about.”
And for future IAA events such as ‘Forgotten After Fifty’, visit here.