Who you calling old?

By Teamspirit on Wednesday, 28 October 2015



Here at Teamspirit, the communications agency specialising in financial and professional services, we are often tasked with campaigns targeting consumers over 50. In fact, this is a vital audience for our clients, especially in the light of a fast-changing and increasingly crowded and competitive landscape for pensions, investments and savings.

But, we asked ourselves, did we really understand this audience or were we making the same assumptions, and perhaps arriving at the same misconceptions, as everybody else? Surely, we thought, given the profound social, economic and technological change this audience has experienced in just a few years, there are new truths to discover.

To that end, we decided to find out more about the over 50s and in the process, attended some exceptional events, particularly the Age of No Retirement conference in Manchester, met some inspirational people, uncovered some surprising data and learned some fascinating stories and insights.

These have dramatically changed our understanding and, most importantly, have transformed the way we help our clients engage with this audience. With strategies and creative campaigns that position our clients as champions and pioneers of this new landscape, together, we can break down barriers, champion best practice and most importantly, create great work that works.

“Old age ain’t no place for sisses” - Bette Davis

Some common misconceptions about the over 50s

They are tech-illiterate

This is the generation that brought us Apple, Amazon and Ebay. They are more likely to use tablets than 16-24 year-olds and are the fastest growing group to join Facebook.

They are isolated and unhappy

Despite this common media portrayal, this is not the case. The typical 50 year old is more sociable, happy and active than someone in the their mid to late 20s.

They are poor

Not true. The majority of over 50s have more money than most other age brackets put together and hold three quarters of the nation’s wealth so are the most powerful consumers in the market place. However, half of the over 65s have less than £2,000 saved for a rainy day so wealth is not universal.

The problem is our attitude

The media prefers to sensationalise, patronise and generalise. Older people are depicted as passive, vulnerable and dependent, with little positive storytelling.

The communications industry does likewise. Little advertising feature authentic imagery of older people or of different generations socialising or working together.

Government support has declined. Under the last Coalition government resourcing for elderly social care reduced by 17%, whilst the number of disabled people aged 65 plus receiving care in the community reduced by 32%. Meals on wheels are down by more than half.

This paper challenges our assumptions about them, and analyses how businesses can better engage with a generation that has undergone massive change.

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