Gold in the Old: New Report Reveals the Untapped Advertising Potential of Uk’s Over 50’s Population

Gold in the Old: New Report Reveals the Untapped Advertising Potential of Uk’s Over 50’s Population

11th July, London UK: The Over-65s should be an advertiser's dream, but instead they seem to have become an advertiser’s nightmare, according to a new report out today.

Older, Wiser, Richer and Disengaged by independent media agency The Kite Factory has revealed that the UK’s elders neither value nor enjoy advertising when compared to the under 24s.

Which is a problem for adland considering those over 55 are a staggering 2.5 times wealthier than the rest of the population and not only do they have money - they are willing to spend it on discretionary items with high margins and will happily try new things and experiment.

Indeed the generation that advertising seems to have forgotten are far from ‘stuck in their ways’ and are instead open to spending their hard-earned money -  outspending the average UK adult in most categories of goods and services measured by the ONS

Yet only 16% of over 65’s agree advertising influences their purchase decisions, and only 9% enjoy ads on TV.

The report reveals a massive 330% gap between under 24s and over 65s who say advertising influences their purchase decisions, with the older demographic being dismissive of most advertising. Fifteen years ago, this gap was as little as 20%.

The report suggests that advertising is letting older generations down, as their criteria for engaging with ads is relatively simple: relevance and humour. They want to see something that speaks directly to them, captures their attention, and, above all, makes them laugh.

And representation is a problem. The over 55s watch twice as much television as the average adult but are 30% less likely to see themselves in the commercials on screen.

So where has advertising gone wrong? The report identifies the four factors that have led mature audiences to engage less with advertising;

1)     A divergence in media consumption between young and old

2)     A shift in where advertisers invest

3)     The under-representation of over fifties in advertising

4)     And, a change in advertising content.

Commenting on the report, Christian Taylor Head of Planning at The Kite Factory said “At its simplest, advertisers have been so wrapped up in targeting Gen Z and Millenials, that they have forgotten about the over-50s.

Twenty years ago, the over sixties enjoyed and valued advertising just as much as the rest of us, but today that’s not true. They don’t enjoy it, and unfortunately don’t see its value.

The over 50s aren’t just grandparents, they’re an adventurous and financially free demographic rife with potential, if advertisers meet them in the middle.”

From the whitepaper, The Kite Factory has highlighted the three essential steps for successfully advertising to the older generation:

  1. Advertisers must surround themselves with the audience's voice, whether that be by qualitative research or advisors who are closer to the demographic. In 2021 the average age of those working in creative and media agencies was 34 - only 1% of all agency employees were over 60!
  2. Remembering that many “declining” media channels have a long shelf life - the older generation doesn’t trust digital media, preferring radio, TV and national and local press.
  3. Just because media research shows that impressions can be bought, doesn’t mean they will create those all important impacts and engagements. Advertisers need to ask themselves about the context of potential channels to invest in, and how it fits with the lives of the over 50s population.

A full copy of the Older, Wiser, Richer and Disengaged whitepaper is free to download here: