There are too many sources to list here but most advertising industry experts do admit the largest groups they want to reach are those folks who fall in the age range of 18-49. I turned 52 this year—I guess I am an old fart now.
When I turned 50, those free AARP magazines and email offers to join began arriving. Wow, just a couple years after being an advertiser’s darling, I was now on the AARP list. Really?
There are some reasons advertisers that only focus on the 18-49 age group should be scared. These reasons include the economy, technology and the innovation behind products for senior living. So, Madison Avenue, you may seek out those 18 to 49, but I’m here to tell you as a 52-year old, you need to pay attention to me.
First off, Madison Avenue might be synonymous with advertising agencies, such as the one we see in the television series Mad Men, but in reality, today there are more advertising agencies in New York and California than any Illinois—I just prefer using the term “Madison Avenue” because, well, I’m old so I’m told.
I guess I’m a Baby Boomer because I was born between the years 1946 and 1964—just barely though. Gee whiz if my Mom and Dad would have just waited a few more years I’d be a Gen Xer (those born from 1965 to 1982). I have two daughters, both of the X Generation and then there are those unique who fall in the Gen Y category, those born from 1983 and forward—also known as the Millennials. I have grandson who is a Millennial so yes Madison Avenue, I’m officially old.
Then there are the Traditionalists which advertisers like to categorize as any one born before 1946. If you’re a Traditionalist not only aren’t the ads geared toward you, you’re already dead so your interest doesn’t need peaked! I don’t know about that. My Mom is 83 and her interest is always peaked. She’s a voracious reader and I’d bet she could beat most Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and those of the Y Generation in Scrabble and she uses a one-minute timer! I do play Scrabble with her a lot, but hardly ever win. She also attends a sewing group twice a week so she’s interested in fabric and craft sales—you bet she’s still on the go! I hope to be the same when I reach that age!
My Traditionalist Mom may not have a smartphone or a PC, but she has played the Wii (she’s pretty good at bowling) and as far as current events go, she understand them all even if they do come with those “Back in my day stories.”
As far as my Baby Boomer generation, advertising agencies shouldn’t dismiss us either. Let’s go back to the three biggest reasons why they better start paying more attention to me:
The Economy – We all know the economy sucks and because it does, more Baby Boomers are losing their life-long jobs and are trying to find new jobs. I would think advertisers would be more prudent about how I should look, how to fix my menopause dry hair and start pushing an easy-to-walk-in pump shoe where my toe isn’t squeezed like a triangle. I also may need help with pet care—dog sitting for example—I have six dogs. I don’t look like a model but I’d like to see someone my shape loving Dannon’s Light & Fit yogurt once in a while. Oh, and I don’t only have to eat Cheerios or Quaker Oats and my fiber intake is fine so give me some chocolate cereal commercials that will entice me to buy! I may be making less money (if I have even found a job) but I do like to spend it. Baby Boomers are bad at saving money—so tempt me with your wares!
Technology – Okay so my HTC Droid Incredible smartphone is incredibly smarter than I. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it! I may not use all the features it offers but when I’m eligible for a new phone, I will shop around so I need more savvy commercials and ads. I don’t need pyrotechnic light show commercials with all the bells and whistles, nor am I at the level of those commercials that promote cell phones with huge screens and big, big buttons. For heaven’s sake, I’m not an idiot you know! I’m curious about technology! So curious and interested it’s still beyond me why Sony makes smartphones and also the upcoming PlayStation Vita, a game playing device only. You’d think they’d combine the two. I’d buy one. I also want to know about the latest PC and laptop offerings. Oh sure I know I can research all these online with useful keywords, but yet the bots that follow my activity still want me to be an AARP member or shop at Lane Bryant and Pottery Barn. They also must think my favorite restaurant is Denny’s or IHOP!
Innovation for Seniors – My bones are already starting to creak and I’m only 52! I don’t want ads on a new mattress—I don’t like them—I sink into them—I already experienced the water bed era. And, I don’t want a bed that’s split in half so my hubby and I can be at our correct firmness (or softness). I want to snuggle and the last time I checked, I didn’t have a “sleep number.” Still there is much innovation for seniors these days and while I see a few ads here and there, Madison Avenue folks should realize many Traditionalists spend tons of money on their kids and grandkids—even great grandkids, are smarter car buyers, and since they were better at saving their money, are often able to spend more. These people need to be more enticed too!
Yet, those who are educated and participate in the advertising game think I’ll buy their gum, need a short mini-skirt (been there, done that) and must, must buy this certain aftershave for my guy so I’ll be pheromone-pleased. They also think I want puffy lips and that I want to make my breasts so large and firm they attack my tonsils.
Here’s a tip Madison Avenue folks—can your Internet bots start sending me some real interesting ads? I do like cars, I love NFL football and I also hate to shop in stores. I’m an online sort of gal so entice me already! I don’t need to go back to school nor are my teeth so bad I need attention right, right now! Please instruct those Web bots to stop all those ads that appear on my side bar in Google showing me before and after pictures of bad teeth and new teeth! I like turquoise nail polish. I want awesome sports shoes, lightweight and comfy—even if they glow in the dark. I’m also sure about the level of my health so I don’t need ads on old-folk chocolate shakes full of stuff I guess I need. I know how to eat. I know there’s a new food pyramid. I eat fruits and veggies. I eat better than my grandkid or my kids! Still, I haven’t seen any fiber bars in designer boxes sponsored by some famous chef in any grocery aisle.
What are your thoughts on the advertising dilemma? If you’re over 49 do you feel jilted? Man, I could use a Heineken or two and head over to my neighbor’s house who is also a Baby Boomer and we could both swear like sailors about this entire industry and how disabled it really is!
Image: Geritol / Wikimedia Commons