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“It’s getting awfully tricky to advertise to this audience.”  So says Mark Dolliver in an AdWeek article that offers insights into how to reach 65+ consumers.  The author does a nice job of sharing and explaining recent research.  Todd Harff is among the experts he spoke to for perspective and strategies.

For Sandra Timmermann, executive director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, it’s a question of authenticity. “I think some of the images in ads are not very authentic — like that affluent couple you always see walking hand in hand on the beach, perfectly coiffed,” Timmermann says. And if the people in the ad look too young, the audience won’t relate to it, she says. “At some point, how much denial can you be in?” For the advertisers, it’s “a delicate balancing act,” she adds. Echoing Medina’s advice, she suggests that “maybe the answer to the dilemma is showing people the right age but actively engaged in doing something.”

That’s in sync with the thinking of Todd Harff, president of a Woodbridge, Va.-based agency called Creating Results. “They could care less whether the person in the photo has gray hair or even is bald,” he says of older consumers. “They want to see the person being vital and active — doing something that is relevant to their life, not necessarily to their age.”

Of course, an emphasis on physical vitality can and does generate clichés of its own. Seniors happily bicycling are a case in point. “Sure, 65-plusers do indeed ride bicycles,” says Medina. “But why are they always shown as happy couples on bikes? That gets very tired very fast.”

(Ironically, online, the article is illustrated by an image of a mature gentleman on his bike.)

Kudos for AdWeek for focusing on 65+ Silent Generation consumers, and talking to a nice spread of mature marketing experts.

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