Advertising ignores over-50s

20 June 2014

LONDON: A majority of older consumers in the UK think that advertisers ignore them and that few brands talk directly to them, according to new research which highlights a gap between the age groups targeted by marketing and those with most spending power.

High50, a global community designed for people over the age of 50, surveyed 1,305 people between the ages of 50 and 64 in May 2014 and found that 66% felt that most advertising was aimed at 16-to-34 year olds, despite the fact that the older generation outspends them in nearly every sector.

A further 30% said most advertising was aimed at 35-49 year olds with just 4% stating that most advertising was aimed at those over 50.

The picture was only slightly less depressing when respondents were asked whether they thought brands and advertisers were interested in them. A mere 11% declared this to be the case while 19% said 'not at all' and 46% said 'a little'.

M&S emerged as a 'brand hero' for the over-50s, with 55% feeling the retailer talked to them directly. Another retailer, John Lewis, scored 38% on this metric, with Waitrose, its associated grocery business close behind on 31%.

At the other end of the scale, Apple and Samsung were singled out by 95% of respondents as brands that didn't target them at all, despite 21% saying they couldn't live without a smartphone and computer technology, and 57% saying they quite enjoy it.

And while it may not have been a great surprise to see a brand like YouTube (3%) failing to register with the over-50s, VW (7%) and Dyson (14%) might be expected to take more interest in a demographic willing to pay a premium for quality.

"The disconnect between people's positive feelings about being 50, their high disposable income compared to other demographics, and the astonishing lack of attention the ad industry pays the 50+ age group is both bizarre and unacceptable," declared Stefano Hatfield, editor in chief, High50.


"By the years 2020, 50% of the population will be 50+, and the advertising world is simply looking in the wrong direction," he added.

Data soured from High50; additional content by Warc staff