Not Dead Yet!

Not Dead Yet!
Emma Schulok
Not Dead Yet!

I was recently in a media presentation where they showed an image of “Baby Boomers” as two older, very gray adults. The only positive point of the image was at least the Boomers were smiling. I immediately thought this is the problem – media companies and some brands are portraying this very lucrative group as old and behind the times. Couldn’t be further from the truth. Or, brands choose to focus on youth because they believe that will be a more positive image than showing those that are “over the hill.” Also, some brands think they don’t need to specifically address this group because “we’ll get them anyway since they watch lots of TV.” I believe this thinking is flawed. The process must start with understanding the consumer insights so you can create the right message, and then determine the right place and time to reach them.

The 50+ group represents a third of the U.S. population, and accounts for $3.2 trillion of the U.S. consumer expenditures. According to a recent report from the Video Advertising Bureau, 77% of older adults feel their age group is being ignored by advertisers. They feel they are misrepresented in advertising and ignored. Certainly a missed opportunity for brands. The majority of Boomers are still working with 55% of them in the professional, management, and sales industries. They enjoy their work and it keeps them active. Boomers spend the most of their money on housing, healthcare, food – in and out of the home, and vehicles.* Brands in these categories can grow even bigger if they simply make sure their messaging resonates with those 50+.

This group is only going to get larger, so what should companies do to become the 50+ target brand of choice?


  • Invest in research to determine how, where, why, and when customers use your product, especially those who are 50+. Within the 50+ group, take into consideration that there are three sub-segments: pre-retirees (age 50-62), active retirees (63-74), and seniors (75+).
  • Dig into your customer purchase data to glean insights. It’s possible that the various segments may use the product differently.
  • To encourage diverse thinking, ensure your marketing department is a cross-team of Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers.


  • Analyze the research to understand if there’s the opportunity/need to segment messaging to represent all users of the brand’s product.
  • Demonstrate to the brand that one size does not necessarily fit all. Bring the story to life for each segment with the appropriate imaging and story – focus on attitudes.
  • Engage with positive, real-life experiences. Boomers seek opportunities for personal growth and discovery, and ways to take control of and enrich their lives.
  • Once you have the right message, do your homework so that the ads appear in the right place at the right time. Don’t forget that Boomers are big users of video – crossing multiple screens and platforms.

Brands who are taking Boomers seriously from which we can learn:

  • L’Oréal – with Helen Mirren hitting age head-on
  • Toyota Venzamakes you wonder “is this what happens when you age”
  • AARP – suggests “the rules of aging are changing

If you haven’t guessed it already, I am a Boomer and proud of it. I believe some of my best years are still in front of me and I plan to live life to the fullest. I will continue to spend my money with those brands that take the time to know me and speak to me best.

Hey, if Jon Bon Jovi, Bono and the Boss are still rocking it, so are their audiences. As 78-year-old Mick Jagger says – “Start me up!” Living isn’t just for the youth.

*VAB Analysis of Consumer Expenditure Survey data, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics