While youth may be the ultimate elixir, advertisers should not ignore consumers over 50. The combination of longevity—particularly among women—and the immense Boomer generation are forming a formidable social and marketplace might. Adults in this chapter, the “third age,” have more ambitious dreams and desires than their predecessors and more spending power. According to the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, women and men over 50 own 70% of all personal wealth held in the U.S., and account for more than half of all consumer expenditures.
Then why are people over 50 only featured in an estimated 10%-20% of all digital, print, and T.V. advertisements? AARP has reported that older adults are seven times more likely to be portrayed negatively than younger people. This is partly due to the lack of age diversity among those creating ads. Less than 10% of workers in the ad industry are over the age of 45.
Women especially bear the brunt of ageism in advertising. Few women in their late 40s and 50s are used by beauty brands and when they are featured, the message typically is how to stay youthful rendering aging obscure. Campaigns about menopause and products are still considered taboo by advertisers, although there are some innovative companies who are starting to address women’s changing needs.
How do we start to celebrate aging? Not only is ageism wrong, it’s also bad for business as it obscures organizations from seeing the full growth potential of the new mature market.
Join the Women in Analytics Group on December 5 to explore these issues. You will hear from marketing, agency and media leaders who contend with ageism in advertising and are actively working on solutions.