MMA Summit Speaker Interview – Jasman Ahmad

As the MMA Summit drawers closer, we caught up with one of our expert speakers to pick their brain on the over-50s sector. Book your tickets to the summit now using code MMAEARLY at the checkout for a discount of £100!

Why is the sector important?

Despite being a large and incredibly lucrative market, the over-50s are a demographic that are commonly misunderstood - especially in marketing. A Mumsnet study recently found that an incredible 85% of Brits aged 50 or over believe ads aimed at older people rely too heavily on stereotypes and, as a result, around 79% feel frequently patronised. 

It’s very easy to see what they are talking about. If you do a simple Google search of “over-50s”, you will find almost every image looks the same: a silver-haired couple or small group, dressed in muted colours and linen, giving an over-enthusiastic thumbs up to the camera. Considering that this is a diverse, inquisitive and complex group that spans multiple decades, the fact we keep seeing the same images time and time again emphasises that we as marketers need to rethink how we communicate with an older audience.  

What channels are best for targeting this market?

Of course, the channels you select are entirely dependent on your target demographics, brand goals and campaign objectives.

In general, however, the over-50s respond well to tangible marketing, meaning they favour direct mail, press ads and radio. But times are changing and whilst social media was once the domain of millennials, the popularity of YouTube video and Facebook is growing every day. In fact, 47% of over-50s expect to use Facebook more frequently as they get older, indicating that this platform is set to grow and grow and grow! Likewise, streaming services are also proving to be ever more popular.

What key points do you hope to highlight at the Summit this year?

There are two key points I want to focus on.

Firstly, I will emphasise the importance of positive and aspirational marketing. Research tells us that over-50s feel younger than their age, are enjoying life more than ever before and care less about what others think. I believe that this is what brands should embrace as it will allow them to steer clear of strict demographic labels and outdated assumptions. Instead, they should focus on showcasing targeted messaging and inspirational images.

Secondly, I am hoping to break down the different groups that make up the wider over-50s market and look at each segment in closer detail. As a strategist and planner, when analysing age demographics, I often work in decades, such as 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54. Unfortunately, anyone over 55 is often lumped into the 55+ bracket, which ignores the countless differences between each age group. To counteract this, I will not only discuss how the over-50s differ from younger audiences, but also drill down into how the consumer journey varies between those aged 55-64, 65-74, 75-84 and 85+.

What’s your favourite campaign that has successfully reached this audience?

First of all, I believe credit must be given to Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, which really set the ball rolling for campaigns that target audiences using authenticity and positive representation.

However, two other campaigns really stand out to me. The first is SunLife’s ‘Welcome to Life After 50’ campaign (1), which takes a very tongue-in-cheek look at the excitement over-50s can have with surplus income and the time to enjoy it. Executions include people getting their first tattoo, scuba diving and becoming a personal trainer.

The other great example is L’Oréal’s ‘Gold not Old’ campaign (2), which features Helen Mirren putting a new spin on the brand’s renowned mission statement with ‘We’ve still got it. And we’re still worth it’. Subtle and flattering in equal measure.