Heavy youth bias in marketing and ad campaigns comes under fire

The marketing and advertising industry is youth skewed, but older consumers are largely by-passed, writes Rupert Pick, co-founder and global managing partner at creative agency Hot Pickle, in Campaign Asia. “Our industry’s average age is 36. This wouldn’t be true of medicine, law, or even finance.” Quoting figures showing the spending power of over-55s, he wonders if, “in the world of innovation, there’s a perception that younger people are more experimental and more open to new ideas”. Yet as he approaches 50 “I don’t see my generation being any less open to trying new things”. His company, which specialises in experiential marketing is “inundated with briefs targeting consumers under 35, but above this age group, the assignments are few and far between”. In a straw poll one agency network found less and 10% of their briefs from clients were aimed at a 45 plus audience. Perhaps decisions are being based on the assumption that lifetime value favours attracting the young over the old, he suggests. But “if your young consumers can’t afford you products today, there will be no lifetime”. He reminds clients “ there’s an underserved market out there, ready and waiting to be engaged. I’d urge you to pay less attention to those clunky demographic tick boxes and lean harder into psychographic segmentations. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking only a youth audience builds a brand quickly.”

White House race: Biden’s age troubles young less

Meanwhile in other election news….a gap exists between older and younger US voters when it comes to President Biden’s age. Surprisingly perhaps, Pew Research shows 34% of Americans over 65 and 29% between 50 and 54 think news organisations give it too little attention. But fewer people in the 30-49 (27%) and only 26% of adults under 30 agree. Unsurprisingly, however, almost half of Democrats (48%) think his age gets too much coverage against only 23% of Republicans.

Older adults look likelier to splash out

Reinforcement of the value of marketing to older people comes in a new poll from Ipsos. Though it provides only a one month snapshot – for May – it shows 40% of over-55s are more optimistic that the UK economy will improve in the next year than the national average (33%). Note, though, that the average is unbalanced between the sexes, with 38% of men finding more reasons to be cheerful about the economy against 29% of women. Meanwhile only 27% of the 18-34 age group felt the economic climate would get better.

Age cliques bad for business, research suggests

Lack of interaction between age groups is hampering workplace productivity, according to a recent investigation by LinkedIn. The research revealed that only one in five members of generation Z – those under 27 – had spoken to anyone over 50 at work in the past year. While 44% of over 55s had avoided conversations with their youngest colleagues. But while the problem is most acute between Gens Z and X, it also exists across the age spectrum, with 17% of employees admitting they did not know how to approach colleagues outside their age group.LinkedIn’s UK manager Janine Chamberlin, quoted on the website of B2B brand consultants Raconteur, said: It shows there isn’t enough collaboration and sharing of skills between different generations.This will result in a loss of knowledge that exists among the eldest workers and reduces the number of opportunities for the youngest to learn.”

50+ women give ads thumbs down

Almost four in five women over 50 say their age group is patronised by advertisers, a new survey suggests. And an even more stunning 85% feel ads aimed at older people rely on stereotypes. The figures come from websites Gransnet and Mumsnet, which surveyed over 1000 of their users. Asked to rank common marketing mistakes 63% said brands didn’t realise that “50 isn’t old”; 61% objected the the assumption that older people are a homogenous group, rather than individuals; 55% hated words such as “older”, , “mature”, “senior” amd (sad though it is for us to read) “silver”; 28% disliked the casting of models and actors who were too young while on the other hand more than a quarter (28%) didn’t like them too old. Brands cited (by 77%) as getting it right were L’Oreal, Dove, White Hot Hair and M&S. And 41% were felt positive about magazine advertising.

AI could help swell pension income – report

Artificial intelligence could help enhance income from pensions, according to a new report*. Though algorithms have been used for some years in foreign exchange and equity trading, AI may go further and deeper, it says, providing “the ability for fund managers to analyse reams of data from a wide variety of sources”. It can “identify patterns and discover market sentiment or signals and thereby suggest future opportunities for investment that may go beyond the traditional or expected. This can lead to improved asset allocation and/or better diversification, resulting in higher long term returns and lower volatility”. And it may help individual investors ensure their investments are in line with their ethical preferences.
*Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index

More over-50s at work could spell massive economy growth

The UK economy could grow by some £425 billion* by 2050 if employers recruited as many silver workers as possible, according to new calculations. That would work out at 6.7% of Gross Domestic Product per capita. But allowing over-50s employment to stagnate could cost the country 8.4% of GDP per capita over the same period. The calculations, based on data verified by the OECD, were made by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), which reckons discrimination against workers over 50 in 2018 alone cost the US economy $850 billion.

* Approximate conversion from US$ 528 billion at the exchange rates at the time of writing.

Silver walkers in huge upsurge

A huge upsurge in the number of 55-74 year olds walking for leisure proves yet further evidence of the need to market hiking gear to older adults. Nearly 60 per cent of that age group now regard it as their main form of exercise, according to the latest Active Lives adult survey from Sport England. In 2015-16, when the research was first collated, the proportion was 53.5%. And walking has jumped a from 43% to 49% among people aged 75and older. The proportion of 55-74 year olds taking part in adventure sports, meanwhile, has jumped from 4.4% to 8.6%. However, perhaps as a possible hangover from the pandemic, the percentage citing “active travel” as part of their exercise regime has fallen slightly over the same period – from 31.6% to 30.8%.

Silver brain speed catching up with young, study shows

Do your shoulders slump in despair as University Challenge contestants answer questions in nanoseconds? Take heart – the gap in brain sharpness between yound and old appears to be narrowing. A series of studies suggests cognitive performance among older adults is improving, with only five per cent deteriorating. In contrast  cognition among younger people has remained relatively flat. And one reason could be mental stimulation though increasing internet use among older generations. Lead researcher lead researcher Dr Stephen Badham, associate professor in psychology at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Social Science says: “Much existing research shows that IQ has been improving globally throughout the 20th century. This means that later-born generations are more cognitively able than those born earlier. “However, there is growing evidence that time-based increases in IQ are levelling off, such that in the most recent couple of decades, young adults are no more cognitively able than those born shortly beforehand. As a result, the current data show that young adult advantages in cognition relative to older adults, such as memory ability and speed of processing, are now getting smaller over time.”

How old is old? New study investigates

Perceptions of the age at which people consider they will be old have shifted upwards, according to new research. But despite the enormous increase in active silvers – running, hiking, adventuring – the uptick appears to be gradual. A study by academics at Berlin’s Humboldt University looked at responses to the question: “At what age would you describe someone as old?”, which is part of a continuing German ageing survey following people born between 1911 and 1974. Among those born in 1931, for example, it was 74, but that crept up by a year for people born in 1944. However, when they passed 64 people in the latter group upped their notion of old age more markedly than the earlier cohort. Commenting on the research in the Guardian, Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said it was well known that people tended to judge “old” as meaning at least a few years beyond their chronological age, even in their 70s and 80s, and that probably reflects the bad image of “old” in western cultures.