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Why is advertising still ignoring people in their 50s and 60s?

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24.08.2021

Advertisers are always looking for untapped areas of opportunity to grow faster. But there is one rapidly growing demographic in society that has consistently and persistently been excluded and ignored – those in their 50s, 60s and beyond. The range of reasons cited for this oversight varies widely, but a quick look at the data shows that there is a wealth of opportunity waiting to be unlocked.

A seismic demographic tailwind

Our society is ageing well and we are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. In the UK, government data shows that a girl born in 2018 can expect to live until she is 90 (88 for boys). This increase in life expectancy is mirrored on a global scale: according to the
International Longevity Centre’s report, The Global Longevity Dividend, people aged 50 and over now account for about 28% of the G20 population – an increase of 8% since 2000, and a figure predicted to increase to about 35% by 2035. By contrast, the population of under 40s in the UK is set to remain broadly flat over the next 10 years.

Not only are there more people over 50 than ever before but this demographic accounts for 79% of the total household wealth in Great Britain and 87% of net financial wealth by household. Despite these impressive demographics, research commissioned by Channel 4 to
mark the launch of its Diversity in Advertising Award found that TV ads in the UK remain focused on the young, with just 29% featuring people aged at least 50 and, of those, just 12% are in lead roles. An abundant, fast-growing and wealthy demographic is surely any marketer’s dream, which makes the persistent lack of representation in advertising even more difficult to comprehend.

Lack of diversity in the advertising industry

The advertising industry is notoriously youthful. In its 2018 census, the IPA reported that the average age of........

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