Excluded Over 50s: The Power Of The Grey Pound

A demographic often excluded in mainstream media is the over 50s, a segment which ironically, are one which cumulatively possesses the highest spending power and wealth in the UK.

Over 50s make up a third of the UK’s population, but hold an enormous 80% of the wealth, with a steady growth in consumer spending of an annual average of 4.4% in the last decade. The grey-pound is now stronger than ever. (via Campaign)

A survey of 50,000 people by SunLife towards over 50’s representation in the media showed alarming results.

  • 89% of respondents said they believed brands weren’t interested in them
  • 74% thought they were never represented in the media and mainstream ads
  • 72% thought the representation of over 50s is stereotypical and outdated

The wealthiest demographic are also one of the least well represented in the media which is filled with images of 20 somethings. The lack of over 50s in mainstream media means we grip onto extremely old stereotypes about older people which just aren’t true.

The media needs to wake up and recognise the new generation of midsters, with new 50 & 60 something Instagram celebrities arising. They are not technically impaired, 72% of 50 – 65-year-olds using Facebook, but they’re not ‘slowing down’, still leading active lifestyles full of adventure and travel.

An Outdated Stereotype

Over 50s are doing the opposite of what these outdated stereotypes suggest. SunLife chief executive Dean Lamble describes the over 50 stage as a “very colourful time of life” and with an ageing population in the UK plus the medium age expected to rise, the demographic is only going to grow.

The anti-ageing market is starting to reflect this. It’s about feeling well and positive ageing rather than ‘anti’ ageing. Embracing your age rather than concealing it.

Antoinette van den Berg, a trend forecasting guru spoke in 2015 about the ‘end of anti-ageing’, which seems to be coming true, the very use of the term is becoming outdated, as ageing is something people don’t want to prevent or combat, but support.

Many cosmetic firms including Estee Lauder are ditching the term ‘anti-ageing’ and moving towards phrases with more positive connotations as the attitudes towards age changes.

SunLife have illustrated the issue, over 50s don’t want to see a fresh-faced millennial without the hint of a wrinkle advertising ‘anti-ageing’ creams and technology.

This is why I have created the Rejuvage, the first positive ageing destination.

“Rejuvage is about ageing with a positive attitude. We want to take the ‘anti’ out of ageing and embrace the changes our bodies go through and realise you can look and feel great at every age.”

“Women (and men!) in the middle-aged category are often invisible to lots of aspects of life, from work to the health and the beauty industry. My team of experts and I want to change and prove that you can #AgeAmazing.”

Mainstream media needs to reflect these changing attitudes to the over 50 demographic and put an end to the aged stereotypes this lack of representation is perpetuating.


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