Did you notice that this year you don’t have to dig into your elementary school knowledge of Roman numerals to figure out which Super Bowl it is? Instead of Super Bowl L, which would admittedly look weird, it’s “Super Bowl 50.” That’s right, the Super Bowl is coming out about its age big time.
At age 50, the Super Bowl has become the ultimate sporting and advertising event and icon of American culture. So, too, are these Gen Xers who are turning 50 in 2016, including some of the world’s most beautiful women Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford, and Salma Hayek, and leading male stars John Cusack, Patrick Dempsey and Adam Sandler.
What It Means to Be 50 in 2016
The U.S. life expectancy in 1900 was 46 for men and 48 for women. By contrast, today’s 50-year-old men can expect to live to 82 and women can look forward to live to 86, according to the Social Security Administration. That boost in life expectancy means that there are a lot more people over 50 who will need products and services longer. Those 111 million consumers are today’s largest and most affluent demographic and account for 51% of all consumer spending. The demo is expected to grow by another 16 million over the next decade, which is triple the rate of younger demographics.
What Marketers Need to Know
On Sunday, there’s a good chance that your living room will be a multi-generational celebration of Super Bowl viewing. The reality is we don’t live age-segregated lives anymore. Adults 50-plus socializing with younger cohorts is the new normal.
Some advertisers have already benefited from acknowledging this reality. Apple, for instance, offers a universal approach in its advertising, which has not stopped Millennials from identifying with the brand as cutting-edge and progressive. Other leaders include Tommy Hilfiger, whose “family portrait” ads feature a panoply of young and old. Retailer Target has done the same, illustrating that women with gray hair are sexy.
By offering such visions that are more reflective of society the way that it is, advertisers are challenging outmoded marketing tactics and are taking advantage of a golden opportunity by including positive images of aging in advertising.
At 50, the Super Bowl is bigger and more spectacular than ever. Helping consumers see that could be true for them as well is one of the best messages a marketer can aim for.