Mature Market Stat of The Day: Advertising

Boomer / Senior / Mature Market Stat of the Day – I recently attended AARP’s Life @50, National Event and Expo in Washington, DC (Sept. 4-6). As I toured the expo, I was struck by how few marketers actually understand the audience they are trying to reach. Perhaps the funniest example of this was the AARP’s expo brochure and map. The map, which was supposed to identify where the different company booth locations were, was printed so small that not even Superman with his superhuman powers could have read it. Unbelievable. I can’t tell you how many people asked me if I could read it (I couldn’t and I have better than 20/20 vision).


“People over the age of 50 account for half of all the discretionary spending in the U.S., and they are voracious cultural consumers. They watch more television, go to more movies, and buy more CDs than young people do. Yet, Americans over 50 are the focus of less than 10% of the advertising. In short, the romanticization of youth persists.”


Source: Glenn Ruffenach, Why Gerontologists Should Join Forces with the Business Community, 2005

I suspect most of these errors happen not because people/companies/ad agencies are lazy or stupid, but rather they don’t know what they should be looking for. Also, the larger the company, the more likely it is that implementation is developed further down the line (usually by a 25-year old designer who can’t be expected to think like a 50-year old).


People, do your company a favor and make sure that a 50+ year-old is reviewing your marketing materials (or hire an outside consultant who specializes in the mature market to act as your eyes and ears).

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