Over 50s still a blindspot on ad agenda

Advertisers are failing to capitalise on the spending power of an emerging market of early retirees with hedonistic lifestyles and youthful aspirations, according to research by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Technology, leisure and entertainment companies, which tend to zoom in on the youth market, are missing out on opportunities by not pitching their products at the over 50s, who are increasingly adopting similar lifestyles to younger people, claims the authors of the research.

“There seems to be almost a blindness among advertisers when it comes to the potential of the 50-plus age group,” says Dr Jonathan Scales, of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and one of the authors of the “Fit and Fifty” report.

“Advertisers, especially in the leisure categories, need to realise that this is a group of people with tremendous disposable income and the time to spend it and who have got 20 to 30 years of active life ahead of them,” says Dr Scales.

Rupert Howell, president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, says: “Agencies have already taken on board that people in their 50s no longer consider themselves old. For example, 60 per cent of small cars are sold to the over 50s, but the imagery in these ads is always very young, which will appeal to the young at heart. Just because you show a 20-year-old in an ad does not necessarily mean it will only appeal to people in that age group.”

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