Some 2.4 million older women in Australia are being ignored and misunderstood by brands, according to a study by Bauer Media.

These form the cohort aged 50-64, which, despite rarely being reflected in advertising, is far from invisible.

“Fifty was once considered a used-by date for most women,” Jane Waterhouse, general manager of Bauer’s in-house agency Story54, told the recent Mumbrella360 conference in Sydney.

“We are now looking at the first women in history who are actually going to live half their lives past their used-by date,” she added. (For more, read WARC’s report: Why brands are struggling to engage with women aged over 50.)

Bauer’s research has identified a significant and influential subset within the wider age group which it has dubbed the “Defiant Woman”.

Born out of the tide of rebellion, many of these women fought for the right to use contraception, led the second wave of feminism and, for those born in Australia, were the recipients of a free university education with thanks to the government at the time, led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Defiant Women make up about 41% of the demographic but, according to Waterhouse, are having a halo effect over the whole generation. And they’re having a good time doing it.

“We actually discovered these women, bizarrely, were enjoying their lives,” she reported. “They were actually celebrating. It’s like there’s some secret party going on that we didn’t know about. So we asked her, why are we not with you at the party?”

The women told Bauer that when advertisers did turn up to the party, they treated them as if they were their mother or as technologically inept and often spoke about ageing in a highly negative way.

Brands need to acknowledge this group of women and think differently about how they speak to them, said Waterhouse, while acknowledging this shift may take time and will need to embrace society at large.

“We know that these women have grown up busting norms and we invite you to join them,” she said.

Sourced from WARC