Satisfying Audiences Blog

Satisfying Audiences

Forget the popular youth target and go for the money

18 February 2013 · By Anne Crassweller

Although numerous studies show that older adults spend more and buy more “stuff” than younger adults, advertisers consistently ignore them. Newspapers should capitalise on that neglect, by targeting this overlooked and valuable market.

I had a couple of reminders last week about the persistence of ageism in advertising and, as a member of the “invisible” older age group, I sighed.

Next, as any good “boomer,” I became indignant. Then I thought about the opportunities. Newspapers have lots of 50+ readers, and we can capture this market for ourselves.

Listening to all the statistics on how much ageism there is in advertising made my head spin, and in so many ways it is nonsensical. Why would advertisers simply ignore a powerful, well-heeled (and growing) group of consumers in favour of smaller groups of adults who generally have less money to spend? Particularly the 18- to 34-year-olds.

There are a couple of key reasons, of course — some myths and some funny.

Putting aside the glamour, fun, and sexiness of ad campaigns for the youth market, ad executives in agencies and at advertisers tend to be young; they see the world through their own eyes. One article stated that when young adults were asked to guess the age of older adults (50s), they overshot by 10 years.

In ads apparently directed at older adults or ads that these adults are actually “in,” these consumers tend to be portrayed as infirm or incompetent.

Statistics are one thing, but the penny really dropped when I thought through an ad campaign running in my newspaper for a line of clothing that I have purchased from time to time. The company opened a store near my home, stocking only its own clothing line.

Their ads depict a young model in snappy outfits. But every time I went to the store — often empty — all I saw were styles I had no interest in.

After chatting with friends, I realised I was not alone in this disconnect. The clothes are lovely; it’s the advertising that is all wrong.

They are missing a huge market of women with entirely different tastes than the women in the ad. The women for whom the clothes are designed will never go into that store because the ads are reaching out and talking to younger women with a totally different lifestyle.

Then there is the mistaken belief that brand choices are made and solidified at a young age. Apparently not*, and think about it: Do you use the same toothpaste you did at 18? Buy the same brand of electronics? The same car? Wouldn’t you switch to another brand for a new benefit? In Canada we can easily, and sadly, point to the growth of the Apple iPhone at the expense of RIM’s Blackberry.

So what’s in this for newspapers? Money and ads.

The audiences for a number of newspapers are older and, contrary to popular belief, a number of studies tell us that older adults spend more and buy more “stuff” than younger adults.

Today, adults 50+ represent 40% of the adult population in Canada and their spending power should not be ignored.

And this group will only grow. Statistics Canada projects huge growth in this age group and a decline in the number of 18- to 49-year-olds. We ignore this older cohort at our peril.

So I decided to dive into the NADbank database to see if the data we have reflects the spending statistics I had just read about.

First of all, let’s look at newspaper readership. Across all newspapers in all markets, for print and online readership, there is only a slight skew to the 50+ age group; 44% of readers are 50+. Not an insubstantial group.

But when looking at paid dailies compared to free dailies, we start to see a real targeting opportunity. Forty-three percent of the audience to the paid dailies in Toronto (compared to 38% of the population) are 50+. Each week, the paid dailies are read by three out of four age 50+ consumers. For the Toronto Star, the largest newspaper in Toronto, 49% of its print readers every week are 50+.

NADbank data suggests that age 50+ primary wage earners in households purchasing a variety of consumer and electronic goods buy as many, or more, and spend as much or slightly more on those goods as younger adults.

While it is unfortunate that ageism continues in much of the advertising we see and publish, it presents an opportunity for newspapers to work with advertisers to develop more effective campaigns that use our content to reach our readers with their message.

Today’s 50+ is yesterday’s 40+. And with boomers aging and no evidence that they are going to change their consumption patterns, advertisers must speak to older adults respectfully, or risk alienating them. No boomer likes to be ignored!

*Sourced from “Ageism in the Age of Advertising,” based on RoperASW Study, and Zoomer Magazine November 2012, based on research conducted by NBC Universal and PMB.


print article send to friend


blog comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The Satisfying Audiences Blog aims to reflect print and digital content not just across platforms but extending into consumer events, non-news-related subscriptions and other audience vehicles for newsmedia companies. This blog written by INMA members is dedicated to identifying the emerging linkages between content, audiences, and platforms. The blog is an initiative by the INMA North America Division Board of Directors.


Meet the bloggers

Lynne Brennen
Principal
New Leaf Media Consulting
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
send message

Nadine Chevolleau
Manager
Consumer Marketing
The Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
send message

Elisabeth Clark
Vice President
Audience & Engagement
South Bend Tribune
Indiana, USA
send message

Kathleen Coleman
Director
Sales & Marketing
S-R Media
Spokane, Washington, USA
send message

Anne Crassweller
President
NADbank
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
send message

Jim Fleigner
Managing Partner
Impact Consultancy
Santa Monica, California, United States
send message

Claire Hawley
Director
Audience Acquisition
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, USA
send message

Dan Johnson
Vice President,
Business Development
CirTech
Gilbert, Arizona, USA
send message

Sandy MacLeod
Vice President
Consumer Marketing and Strategy
The Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
send message

John Newby
Publisher
The Times
Ottawa, Illinois, USA
send message

Siobhan Vinish
Senior Vice President
Marketing & Audience Development
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
send message

New York City, New York, USA

Shane Murray
Executive Director, Analytics in the Consumer Insight Group
send message


Subscribe

RSS feed
E-newsletter


Blog archives

October 2014 ( 2 )
September 2014 ( 4 )
August 2014 ( 4 )
July 2014 ( 3 )
June 2014 ( 3 )
May 2014 ( 3 )
April 2014 ( 3 )
March 2014 ( 3 )
February 2014 ( 3 )
January 2014 ( 3 )
December 2013 ( 4 )
November 2013 ( 2 )
October 2013 ( 2 )
September 2013 ( 4 )
August 2013 ( 5 )
June 2013 ( 3 )
May 2013 ( 5 )
April 2013 ( 4 )
March 2013 ( 2 )
February 2013 ( 3 )



Blog roll

Brain Traffic
paidContent


Join INMA Today
 
Upcoming Events
Nov
12
INMA South Asia Conference
New Delhi, India
12-13 November 2014
Nov
18
INMA Middle East Conference
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
18-19 November 2014
Mar
09
INMA Mobile Summit for Engagement and Profit
Austin, United States
09-10 March 2015
Mar
26
Big Data for Media Conference
London, United Kingdom
26-27 March 2015
Apr
24
INMA Ideas Day on Advertising
Paris, France
24 April 2015
May
10
INMA World Congress
New York, United States
10-12 May 2015
May
22
INMA Ideas Day on Marketing
Brussels, Belgium
22 May 2015

More Events

Member Profiles

  • Krista Avedikian
    USA


  • I Venkat
    India


  • Marcin Grodzicki
    Poland



  • Melanie Shah
    USA


  • Elsie Chua
    Singapore


  • Terry Horne
    USA



©2014 INMA | Home | About | Contact | RSS | Privacy