Advertisers Might Consider Targeting Seniors
Earlier this year, Carat top media buyer Andy Donchin served up the prospect that even though he’s aging, he’s still pretty cool. He might hit the golf club more than the night club, but he isn’t exactly in bed by 8:30. He might be joining AARP, but like LMFAO.
At the January NATPE event, Donchin was speaking broadly about advertisers’ hunger for reaching 18-to-49 year-olds. He said he understood the rationale for years, but now with his personal experience had started to embrace the 50-is-the-new-40 thing.
He mentioned CBS. The network had argued for years that its older audience offered plenty of value, but media buyers had doubts about honing in on Baby Boomers.
These days, CBS does well with the 18-to-49 set. But networks making a case that targeting Americans ages 65-plus – all 42 million of them -- might have more oomph than ever. And, Donchin might listen to their presentations a little longer than five years ago.
A new USA Today poll indicates seniors 60-plus are generally happy and doing relatively well, which suggests advertisers might have some disposable income to go after. If Harley-Davidson might not line up to test their consumer confidence, other categories might join Big Pharma in trying to reach them. Carnival might do well in having an almost-60 Katie Lee Gifford reprise her role in those "fun ship" ads.
The poll, conducted with UnitedHealthcare and the National Council on Aging, found more than 60% of seniors say it’s “easy” to pay monthly living bills. And 71% are “confident,” they could handle an unexpected expense.
Over 66% said they’re confident their financial resources will cover them through retirement (though about a third lack confidence in an ability to pay for long-term care).
The telephone survey of 2,250 found 85% are confident they can stay in their homes for the next 5 to 10 years. And, 75% of those in their 60s "expect their quality of life to get better or stay the same” over that period.
Contrast all that with some of the gloom hampering younger people from recent college graduates struggling to find a job to those a decade older with diminished home values.
MTV still might do OK with advertisers, though. Americans love small plastic cards and they might believe a new flat-screen Sony or Xbox can salve some wounds.
On one level, the contentment among older Americans is understandable. On another, it’s really sad.
If the concept once was Americans would have a three-legged stool to retire with – a pension, personal savings and Social Security – that’s cooked. All three are under siege. Companies rarely offer pensions anymore, savings have been depleted and who knows what happens with Social Security.
But many current seniors look to have moved into the next phase of their lives at the right time. “People in retirement have dodged a bullet,” the Brookings Institution’s William Frey told USA Today. “They’ve gotten to the promised land in time to avoid all the bad stuff.”
The newspaper cited 2010 data showing “households headed by people 75 and above” had the highest median net worth at close to $220,000. The last time the group led was in 1989.
So, what should advertisers do as they seek out those prosperous, graying Americans? That's a tough one since so many of them are out spending money.