Heyday collapse exposes flaw in age-led targeting

Mature market experts are highlighting the foolishness of targeting over-50s as an age-defined one-size-fits-all market following the collapse of Heyday, the membership brand launched by Age Concern as a rival to Saga.

The business, a £26-a-year subscription scheme aimed at those nearing retirement and offering promotions and benefits on products and services, is being wound up after the Charity Commission report slammed its governance in a report published this week.

The commission ruled there was not enough evidence of the need for Heyday, and raised doubts as to whether all Heyday activities were clearly charitable.

The report was the final nail in the coffin for a brand which had an “entirely flawed proposition” from the start, according to industry experts.

Kevin Lavery, founder and managing director of specialist over-50s marketing agency Millennium, says the whole concept of Heyday, which launched in 2006 with £22m funding from Age Concern, was wrong because “you should never sell services to older people on the basis of age”.

“I’m in my 50s and I would never visit a website because it was aimed at people my age, but I would read a magazine or look at a site that reflects my hobbies and interests.”

Heyday accrued membership income of £700,000, and the charity ended up pouring in £5m of reserves. It had hoped to recruit 3 million members in five years and 300,000 by March 2007; but by then only 44,000 had joined, despite the launch of a glossy membership magazine put together by Redwood.

Dick Stroud, author of 50 Plus Marketing and founder of marketing agency 20 Plus 30, says Heyday started off on a bad foot by launching its PR several months before it had a website ready, and never recovered.

Specialists say it fell into the common “bear trap” of misinterpreting the Saga proposition.

“If you go on a Saga holiday or buy its insurance because you get a good deal, you automatically get its magazine.

That’s very different to trying to get people to pay a subscription to be part of a club just because they’re over a certain age,” adds Lavery.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here