Mythbuster: Advertising's obsession with youth

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like advertising's obsession with youth

When we started in advertising in the late 1980s, the 'Grey Consumer' was a hot topic. The proportion of older people in the population had begun to rise, and many were surprisingly affluent. These trends were forecast to accelerate as the Baby Boomers turned into 'Empty Nesters'. Soon we would all be chasing the 'Grey Pound'.

But fast-forward 35 years, and we seem more obsessed with youth and Millennials than ever. Those demographic forecasters weren't wrong. The proportion of young people has indeed fallen and the proportion of older people has increased in most developed markets: in the UK, the over-45s outnumber 16-24-year-olds by 4 to 1.