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May 24, 2011

Maybe 55+ Is Not So Forgotten After All?

Earlier this year, our MayoSeitz Media Monitor, 55 & Forgotten, addressed what we believe to be an overlooked demo for many advertisers. Given the volume of feedback, we know that we clearly struck a nerve and we understand that this is a sensitive topic and a business challenge for many marketers. While there are some categories where targeting a 55+ audience is obvious (financial services, prescription drugs, travel), for other categories it is not as clear. It is certainly fair to say that there has been a “youth bias” in marketing, though that bias may be waning. Regardless, the youth bias is historical and in some categories understandable, yet for many categories the youth focus is misplaced.

Again, there are a growing number of marketers are recently recognizing the importance of the 55+ demo, and even the TV networks have grudgingly come to realization gray is not bad.

The facts about the power of the 55-64 demo are overwhelming:

1. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average annual income of people aged 55-64 ($44,720) is higher than any younger demo

2. Unemployment in 55-64 (6.2%) is much lower than younger demos 20-24 (14.2%) and 25-34 (9.4%)

3. The median age for every broadcast network is rapidly rising—CBS (56), ABC (52), ABC (50), and even FOX, “the young network” (45). Even American Idol which boasted a median aged viewer of 32 in its first season, now has a median age of 47, but still far younger than Steven Tyler.

Marketers are paying attention—the most recent ones now targeting an older demo are ones you might not have expected–Kellogg’s, Shape-Ups by Skechers, 5-Hour Energy Drink, and Jeep. And according to a recent NBC study, the 55-64 demo spends more on home improvement, large appliances, casual dining and cosmetics than younger demos. Even some areas of electronics sales have an older skew as well.

So just as the most common 18-49 demo of yesteryear morphed into 25-54, will the 35-64 demo become the most dominant one in years to come? Perhaps every silver lining has a touch of gray.