In the age of rage against “isms” like racism and sexism, we can’t overlook ageism. Let’s face it, advertisers (and their agencies) are especially guilty of this “ism” as most remain hyper-focused on advertising made for and made by twentysomethings. But, as we aspire for better representation and diversity in advertising, let’s embrace the beauty, wisdom and cash that comes with age.
Reflecting age diversity in advertising makes business sense. Americans over 50 are the healthiest, wealthiest, and most active generation in history. Yet most feel completely ignored by marketers. A recent survey from Fancy revealed that women over 40 feel brands systematically underestimate her spending power (64%) and her intelligence (80%) and continue to perpetuate negative age-related stereotypes (76%)
Age also brings something every marketer is chasing: authenticity. Older models exude confidence and wisdom which allows them to serve as brand storytellers rather than merely just another pretty face. Google celebrated DJ Sumiko, the 84-years young DJ in Japan, while the silver fox Ron Jack Foley brought cachet and intrigue to Volvo.
Where fashion leads, most marketers follow. And fashion is leading the way in the Greynaissiance. At the age of 94, Iris Apfel is represented by the same modeling agency as Gigi Hadid. Older Instagram influencers like Sarah-Jane Adams tags her posts with #mywrinklesaremystripes and the Accidental Icon, Lyn Slater, who at the age of 65 has a social media following that’s 65% under the age of 32. And, possibly the greatest example of the Greynaissance is Maye Musk, who at the age of 70 is fashion’s “It Girl” and says she’s just getting started. As one 19-year old commented on Maye’s account “When I grow up I want to be Maye Musk.” Aspiration is ageless, so let’s make ageism old news and embrace the beauty, wisdom and cash that comes with age.