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Baby Boomers Brand Strategy Build A Brand

Advertising’s forgotten generation: 4 tips for reaching older consumers

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By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

July 21, 2023 | 6 min read

Brands are all desperately chasing Gen Z’s eyeballs – as well as their Klarna accounts – despite older demographics having more wealth than any other generation. We take a look at that untapped potential.

How to reach the over 60s

How to reach the over 60s / Pexels

Media agency The Kite Factory recently published a report exploring advertising’s forgotten generation. Its research revealed both the prosperity of the older demographic as well as their apathy towards advertising.

The over-60s, it found, have 2.5 times more wealth than any other generation and the lowest rate of income poverty. The over-60s are also more likely to spend their wealth rather than saving or penny-pinching – and they’re not just spending on mundane essentials but indulging in leisure and discretionary items.

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Younger age groups are outspending them on housing, fuel, heating and education, while the older generations are allocating slightly more of their budget toward clothing and shoes, food and drink, holidays and recreational activities.

Boomers

“The over-65s should be an advertiser’s dream. They have money, they spend it and they spend on discretionary items with high margins that can sustain advertising investment. And they happily try new things and experiment, which means they will brand switch or enter new categories,” said Christian Taylor, head of planning at The Kite Factory.

Over-65s don’t seem to actually like advertising

The older generation is harder to convince with marketing and is often hostile toward advertising. Only 18% of those over-65s agreed that advertising helped them to choose what they buy, compared with just over 50% of 18-24-year-olds.

Over-65s neither appreciate or enjoy advertising, with just 9% claiming they liked TV advertising, compared with 57% in the Gen Z bracket, while only 8% said they liked ads with their favorite celebrity, compared with 40% in the younger cohort.

Across the board, the under-24s were two to three times more likely to value and take pleasure in advertising, highlighting a 330% gap between the older and younger generations when it comes to the influence of advertising on purchase decisions.

Where did it all go wrong?

There are four compounding issues that might be contributing to advertising apathy among older generations. Firstly, there is an over-investment from advertisers into the Gen Z and Millennial demographics; secondly, there are changing media habits between old and young; then there is under-representation of the over 50s in advertising; while lastly there is a move away from traditional advertising to new content streams. So, how should advertisers go about reaching older consumers?

4 tips for reaching older consumers

  1. Consider their attitudes towards media channels, not just audience reach percentages: the report by The Kite Factory uncovers that just 5% of over-65s trust social media, even though over half of them use it regularly. Consider what this means for your media mix when planning for different campaign objectives.

  2. Look beyond buying 55+ in linear TV: create nuanced plans that mirror viewing behaviors, including video streaming platforms and harnessing the power of sponsorship to level up long- and short-term effectiveness.

  3. Understand their interests and hobbies, both now and in the past: this can unlock innovative ways of targeting using interests, context and behavioral data. The media agency recommends moving away from targeting ages and building online profiles from in-depth customer research.

  4. Online channels such as YouTube and Nextdoor continue to grow usage with over-50s: although Facebook remains king in terms of reach, other channels can provide contextual environments to reach consumers in different mindsets, providing an opportunity for innovation and testing.

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Brands winning over older generation, according to YouGov

Fashion and clothing:

  1. Clarks
  2. Levi’s
  3. Dr Martens
  4. Hush Puppies
  5. Wrangler

Appliance brands:

  1. Tupperware
  2. KitchenAid
  3. Maytag
  4. Whirlpool
  5. Kenmore

Beer:

  1. Samuel Adams
  2. Guinness
  3. Heineken
  4. Corona
  5. Blue Moon
Baby Boomers Brand Strategy Build A Brand

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