MUMBAI: Brands should not neglect the Baby Boomer generation because it has considerable purchasing power and offers large business opportunities, two leading industry practitioners have argued.

That is the opinion of Madhukar Sabnavis, vice chairman and country head, discovery and planning, at Ogilvy & Mather India, and Anisha Motwani, director and CMO at Max Life Insurance.

In a discussion with Campaign India, they accepted that India's extremely youthful population made it understandable for marketers to target younger consumers, but they said brands should remember that spending power increases with age.

Motwani said the number of seniors in the consuming class A and B amounted to 9m people in India, representing a market larger than the UAE and almost the size of Sweden.

"World over, Baby Boomers are darlings and doyens of medical and healthcare services, pension and annuity plans," she said. "They are also heavy consumers of travel, tourism and vacation services. Unfortunately, the opportunity has not been tapped in to aggressively here."

She highlighted the success enjoyed by mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Japan, which launched a "Raku-Raku" smartphone that featured larger buttons and easy-to-read numbers and which went on to sell more than 200,000 units.

"Elderly TG can be viewed as a low hanging fruit for brands that are willing to understand the needs of this demographic and are inclined to invest in this market opportunity," she said. "Like the West, our life insurance, healthcare, medical services industry is uniquely positioned to address this high potential base."

Sabnavis agreed that Baby Boomers offered a big opportunity for brands and saw no reason why special messaging couldn't be created for this generation if it is being done already for the young.

However, Motwani cautioned that marketers should be careful in their approach because Baby Boomers are not so concerned about image or the emotional component of brands.

Instead, they are more concerned about corporate reputation and quality, and so any communication would need to reflect that.

"All elements of the communication, its tonality, and its creative language therefore have to take reasonable account of all these messaging ingredients," she said.

Data sourced from Campaign India; additional content by Warc