Point of View: Hook 'em while they're young

Byron Sharp
Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

In January's Admap, Stan Sthanunathan wrote a really interesting article ('Empathise with the over 40s') which contained the extraordinary fact that between now and 2020, the global teen population will increase by a mere 1% but the 40-plus age group will increase by 23%.

Yet marketers love the youth market. The well publicised 'ageing of the population' has done little, it seems, to change marketers' behaviour. Advertisers still strive to keep established brands young and fashionable. And in spite of a lack of evidence of any successful brand level segmentation, we see the launches of brands specifically targeting 'the youth segment'.

What makes young buyers so desirable, or older buyers so unattractive? Two dominant explanations exist, one cynical view is that marketers and advertising agencies are staffed by young (or youth-obsessed) people who create marketing campaigns to appeal to people who are like them.