That’s according to a recent survey of 400 consumers ages 70 and over by GlynnDevins, which specializes in marketing to older age groups.
Overall, the seniors surveyed gave very low marks to the way ads portray people in their age group, with 60% saying ads targeting seniors are dominated by stereotypes, versus 31% who feel seniors are depicted realistically, and 37% who say they can identify with the subjects.
Furthermore, a number of key categories scored even lower, with just 8% of respondents saying they agreed with the portrayal of seniors in pharmaceutical ads, while 15% said the same for seniors in financial services ads, and 20% approved of portrayals in senior living communities.
Asked what they objected to in these portrayals, most the survey respondents said images of seniors in ads skewed unrealistically positive or negative. In the “too good to be true” category included depictions showing seniors who are too active, too rich, too well dressed, too perky and too attractive.
On the negative side, they also singled out images of seniors as sick, feeble and out of touch. A mere 47% said they felt that seniors are portrayed “as people to be respected.” It probably doesn’t help that most find ads targeting them uninformative, with just 31% finding value in ads for senior living and financial services, and 29% for ads pharmaceuticals.
Advertisers are falling short, with just 20% of seniors surveyed saying they “like” most of the senior living ads, dropping to 13% for financial services ads, and 9% for pharmaceutical ads. Perhaps unsurprisingly 67% said they actively disliked pharmaceutical ads, while large proportions merely expressed indifference to the first two categories.
Asked how ads targeting seniors can connect with them, 90% of respondents said humor is a good way to deliver marketing messages -- but once again only 10% said they found senior living ads entertaining, falling to 10% for financial services ads and just 6% for pharmaceuticals.