There are multiple reasons why advertisers are drawn to the 18-to-49 demographic. The least interesting is the potential for a more efficient buy. As one longtime industry observer put it: you pay for the 18-to-49 viewers and anyone 50-plus watching, you get for free.
The more intriguing reasons fall within suggestions that younger viewers come with more discretionary income; marketers want to reach them early to develop longtime brand loyalty.
But there is new research suggesting that older folks might actually decide to go from Brawny to Bounty. Or, accept that the Callaway driver that worked so well as a 45-year-old no longer brings the distance of a Ping.
Nielsen’s NeuroFocus, which studies neuroscience, says that recent work “refutes the traditional belief that the older brain cannot learn and adapt. Current research shows how the older brain retains plasticity, or the ability to change as a result of experience, even at late stages of life.”
NeuroFocus offered up some insight into the creative process advertisers might employ in looking to appeal to those over 60 to take advantage of their malleability.
As opposed to all those cynical younger folks, “mature brains” tend to be more positive in general and open to more upbeat messaging. Baby boomers would prefer ads that don't show older people or “vacuously smiling couples.” (Pharma marketers might pay particular attention here). And, boomers don’t like rapid-fire, jumbled-up messaging.
“While the messaging can be complex, the delivery and format should be simpler than for the young brain,” NeuroFocus said.
Scanning the research, it has one wondering how effective those Dos Equis beer ads featuring “The Most Interesting Man In The World” are among older males. Apparently well over 60, he would seem to be a boomer idol, with his appeal to the opposite sex and continuing vitality to engage in global adventures.
He says he doesn't often drink beer, but when he does he prefers Dos Equis. Older men might think a little Dos Equis once in a while might be more effective than prune juice.