Redefining Old

June 1999


Redefining Old

Are advertising agencies about to suffer a midlife crisis?

If television and magazine ads are any indication, only twenty-somethings are drinking soda, buying cars and wearing khakis. Because the advertising industry itself is populated largely with talents who reach their creative peak at age 25, according to an article in Creativity magazine, it sees the 12-24 age range ("with an occasional stretch to 30") as the most desirable demographic segment. Even products aimed at older consumers with the real money are promoted using flawless young models and actors.

So what about Baby Boomers, the current driving force behind healthy retail sales? As this populated category of consumer moves into its 50s, it's "about to fall off the radar screen" of ad agencies, the article says. Recently, in fact, a United Nations panel studying the aging population petitioned the advertising industry to help redefine the concept of "old" as part of a strategy to include Baby Boomers in more of society's opportunities.

Researchers eventually will realize they can't ignore middle-age and older consumers and their dollars, suggests the magazine. Age will become less of an issue than lifestyle – the things that Boomers enjoyed in their 30s and 40s will grow more pleasurable as they're able to afford them in larger quantities. As this becomes more true, ad agencies will have to adjust their campaigns – and maybe their staffs – to communicate with their target audience, says the article.

– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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