Are brands targeting the majority of their advertisements at the younger generation?

According to a recent survey carried out by market research company High50, two thirds of people over 50 felt that the majority of brands excluded their age group from advertising campaigns. Instead, they argued that brands created marketing strategies to directly target  the younger generation.

To gauge whether this study was a true reflection of public opinion, we asked a panel of people aged over 50 whether they thought this statement was true. In addition, we asked them to tell us which brands did actively try to appeal to their age group.

The majority of our panel agreed that  that lots of brands only targeted young people. When asked why they thought this was, a number of the panel said there was a general consensus that younger people have more disposable income to spend on luxury items.

‘I think advertising is targeted at people under 50 purely because these are the people that are economically active’ (Sam, 63, Port Glasgow)

Flashy technology companies, such as Apple and Samsung, were highlighted as particular culprits. The panel noted how these companies were more likely to promote the features of their products that would appeal to young people, e.g. social media. Advertisements for alcohol companies were also believed to be mainly aimed at younger people.

‘This is very true, especially when it comes to mobile phones’ (Terry, 65, Cwbran)

Some of the panel said that they thought their exclusion from these campaigns was probably because young people provided a greater revenue for technology and alcohol items.

However, many people argued that this oversight was based on the assumption that people over 50 do not want to use or cannot use technology. They felt that this judgement was stereotypical and argued that people over 50 were interested in purchasing technology items. Thus, companies risked losing sales if they continued to only advertise to young people.

‘There are lots of adverts for tablets with lots of bright young people in, but it doesn’t stop us from going out and buying them’ (Eric, 55, Penny Stafford)

In comparison, a number of people said that department stores and supermarkets created adverts for all ages.

‘The way they promote John Lewis and show how they won’t be beaten on prices really appeals to the older generation’ (David, 52, Southam)

‘Sainsbury’s and John Lewis are targeted around emotions which is geared towards older people’ (Melanie, 50, Market Harborough)

In addition, the panel claimed that companies that sell items that help you with your mobility, insurance or to plan your funeral were targeted at an older generation. These adverts also received a negative reaction from the panel. People did not like the idea that once they were over 50 they had to start planning for their death.

‘There are some things that make you feel older than you are’ (Carol, 64, Coventry)

‘I feel like the only adverts directed towards us are the likes of ‘get your life insurance’ or ‘plan your funeral” (Linda, 57, Ellesmere)

However, some members of the panel disagreed and argued that companies advertise to the audience that are most likely to buy their product. These respondents pointed out that brands know that people over 50 generally have more money than people who are still at the beginning of their career. Therefore, they felt that companies were unlikely to exclude them from their campaigns.

‘I think proper advertising is targeted at the audience that is going to buy the product’ (Christopher, 52, Nantwich)

‘My wife and I both take in all the advertising on TV and feel that it’s aimed equally at us as at the younger generation’ (John, 69, Dumfries) 143921