Articles

Chasing Pretty Young Things Is Very Costly.

We live in a society that is dominated by the vampire effect. You know, the way we all suck the blood of the young to prolong our vitality as we slowly ebb into the autumn and winter of our lives. Business is geared towards recruiting young and we are taught to move towards retirement gracefully and swiftly.

Brands – increasingly marketed by younger people not restricted by the context of experienced leadership – communicate more and more with people like them. And while in the past this had the effect of attracting a segment of vampiric older people who sought the allure of the young, today there is an interesting effect being caused by communication that is not accessible by people over a certain age because it looks and sounds ludicrous to them.

Wealth – and in particular disposable wealth – is shifting increasingly older. Complete retirement is no longer a mandatory 65 years of age. Most product category expenditure is not dominated by under 30 year olds but by over 50 year olds. These are the people who are established, are over the big drains on their discretionary expenditure, have a plan for their future and are into a phase of their life where they realise they can’t take it with them and want to enjoy every moment.

Yet most brands today either don’t know how to talk to them or don’t even try. Their products are created for and communicated exclusively to a young audience.

The money and the brands are at odds.

More and more young people prolong their earning years until they are in their mid-twenties, stay at home longer because they can’t afford the lifestyle they enjoy at their parents largesse and then get married and have children in their early thirties. They don’t emerge from school fees and mortgage stress until their forties.

The Baby Boomers represent a massive amount of disposable income as do the generation that followed them. Yet everything from cars to beers to fashion are all designed around and communicated to people who often can’t afford them.

There is a massive and growing market opportunity to re-embrace this market not by ignoring the vampire effect, but by making it accessible again to people over 50. And to do that you need to re-embrace people who know this segment of the population and how to connect with them. People who understand that selling retro seventies and retro eighties to people who actually lived through it is very different to selling it to people who didn’t.

This is a global phenomenon. And therefore a global opportunity. A series of enterprising Australian brands from a country that fulfils many of the romantic desires of over fifty year old people from all over the world, has the DNA and – to be honest – the latent talent to do it. So we have a choice. Continue to pay to court the young or embrace the mature and reap the rewards. Better still, be clever enough to zero in on what can unite both. Because very few are doing it.