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The Toronto Star took a look yesterday at the recent success of older fashion models, mature women who find they are busier than ever with bookings. Why? The Star quotes Alan Thomas Smith of Toronto-based PUSH modelling agency.

North Hill - a senior living community in Needham, MA - features original photography of older models in their marketing.

“On the one hand, you have a new lifestyle market,” says Smith: “a big boom in pharmacy and banking and health care, the sectors that deliver directly to a mature market,” he says. And “designers are starting to pay attention to the very relevant market (of customers) in their fifties and sixties.

“We seek health and vitality. And models who exude that are making the money these days.”

What struck me came a little later in the article. Ben Barry, assistant professor of Equity, Inclusivity and Diversity in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University, recently completed a PhD thesis that shows using older models leads advertisers to make more money, as well.

Barry surveyed 2,500 test subjects on their intent to purchase. Models of varying sizes and ages were shown in the same wrap dress and …

Barry found that women responded with a 200-per-cent increase in intent to purchase the item advertised when the model was closer to their own weight. Among women over 35, the same significant increase in intent to purchase applied when they saw models their own age or older.

The results were labeled as “astonishing” by the Toronto Star reporter – but not to our team at Creating Results. We’ve long promoted the “incredible power of pictures,” as Todd Harff put it in the Journal of Active Aging in 2009. And we work with our clients to integrate photography that features older, vital models throughout their marketing.

Please don’t take Smith’s quote as implication that using mature models is for industries delivering to mature consumers. America’s Baby Boomers represent more than 25% of the population; Canada’s represent 33%. By 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be over 65. Mature consumers don’t limit themselves to products “for mature consumers.” There are extremely few industries who are NOT delivering to mature consumers.

Considering photography that includes older models? Download our eBook – Photo Finish – for research and tips that will help you choose imagery that resonates with 50+ers and find greater success.

About The Author

Erin Read

Erin Read spearheads integrated and digital marketing programs for organizations targeting mature consumers. She writes, researches and speaks about marketing to baby boomers and seniors. Erin has addressed local, regional, international conferences on generational marketing. She is the co-author of three national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish; Social, Silver Surfers 2010 & 2013) and the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters.

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