The thing about turning over-60 is, you be come more invisible than ever. When was the last time we ever saw an ad with an over-60 person that’s not a funeral ad, an insurance ad or a cruise ad? Some brands advertise to the over 40s yet enjoy the business coming from over-60s. A fashion retailer recently disclosed that they would never use an over-60 in their ads because they “don’t want to look old”. So the idea is to look young despite selling mostly to over-60s.
This brings us back to one of the biggest flops in auto advertising. There was an advertising campaign called, “This Is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.” Yes, believe it. Oldsmobile was an American brand loved by all, especially the older generation. But suddenly marketers wanted to turn it into a vehicle for young people. Apparently, Oldsmobile thought it was a good idea to forget about their real customers and flatter the people who would never buy their products. Why? Because their real customers were old, and everyone in advertising and marketing hates old people.
For the first time in the history, a company told its customers that their product was no longer for them. The idea of people over fifty driving their cars is so appalling and such an embarrassment that they outright ignored and disparaged the most valuable economic group in the history of the world – the Boomers.
So what do you think happened as a result of that campaign? Oldsmobile campaign flopped, and ultimately folded. A 107-year history ended just like that.
From beauty and fashion to tech and food, no one can deny that most of the attention goes to the Millennials. The biggest sign is when you look at store displays. Almost all mannequins either have the ‘young’ body. But let’s not use the mannequins as an excuse; there aren’t probably over-60-looking mannequins being produced out there anyway. Just like how most mannequins are slim. The fact is, brands stop selling to us when we sixty or even hit fifty because we are “uncool” and supposedly don’t shop like the Millennials do. This is where retailers and most brands have it wrong. According to Synchrony Financial, Boomers still have the most disposable income and almost 50% of retail sales compared to about 10% for Millennials. That’s not all. Baby Boomers and Millennials actually have a lot in common when it comes to shopping.
Both Boomers and Millennials love coupons, bargains and sales and according to a study, both generations take advantage of discount offers more often than in the past and are more likely to purchase if they have a loyalty discount or coupon. So it’s not just us over-60s who collect all these loyalty and rewards cards.
But what about social media? Are we that left behind? Not at all. While 83% Millennials talk about their shopping experiences in social media, Baby Boomers are almost at par with 82% creating buzz about their own shopping experiences. Unfortunately, it looks like nobody has a single clue of the kind of business we bring into their shops.
It’s not just ads and products that show us over-60s that we’ve ‘expired’, some have experienced being ignored in stores where younger customers get served first. Starts at 60 community member John MacLaine said, “My wife says she is invisible when she goes into shops, the shop assistants will serve people that come into the shop after her, until she speaks up.”
Margaret Greer said, “The moment my hair went grey. I feel completely irrelevant these days. We aged folk apparently do have a use by date.”
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