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Advertisers Go Gray as the Balance of Power Shifts in the US


AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) is on a quest to get advertisers to include their demographic in more campaigns. Using tag lines such as “I may be creased, but my money is crisp,” they hope to persuade advertisers that there’s a profit to be made in the over fifty market.

Since the dawn of time, advertisers have sought out the younger buyers since they were the ones with discretionary cash. But these days, there aren’t too many 20 years old who are flush with the green stuff. 53% of recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed, the worst its ever been in the last 11 years. So why are advertisers so keen on pitching to a crowd of over-educated, broke young folks? Habit, mostly.

If you watch TV, you’ll see that times are a changing. It could be that I’m simply viewing things with older eyeballs, but I don’t think so. I really believe that advertising is starting to take the senior population seriously.

The best example of this is the brilliant new ad campaign for the Toyota Venza. One ad features a 20-something girl worrying about how her parents have become old and boring. She finally got them on Facebook but they only have a couple of friends. She has 687 friends. How sad for them. Jump cut to the parents out having a wild night in their new Venza while their daughter sits home browsing Facebook. The other features a recent college grad who has moved back home for the good of his parents, who are also out having fun while he’s home microwaving dinner.

And it’s not just the ads on TV, have you watched the new Dallas reboot? Five of the leads are over fifty and star Larry Hagman is 80. Oh, they all make me feel young again!

Now, I hear you saying, hey, that’s TV, what about online? I say, it’s a trend that’s applies there as well. A recent study in the UK showed that ecommerce for the over 50 crowd rose 25% in the past two years. Part of the reason, tablets and mobile phones are making it easier for everyone to shop online. And as the population of the world ages, it won’t be long before the senior citizens are the ones who grew up with a cell phone in their hand.

My point is, even if all of your marketing is done online, you don’t want to exclude the folks over fifty. They have money, they have the time to browse and shop, and they’re loyal to brands they love. That’s marketing gold.