How to advertise to over 50s

Bob Hoffman is one man who is getting it right when it comes to marketing to the 50 plus audience. Once upon a time he was the CEO of a large advertising agency in San Francisco, but he is now devoting his time to running an agency specialising in the over 50s market. And he isn’t afraid to tell you what he thinks.

So what does he know that so many advertisers fail to understand? Below are three of the points he makes in his article Top 10 mistakes when advertising to grown-ups:

  • Avoid casting clichés. Please—no more Grandpa and Timmy going fishing. No more silver foxes making out in the elevator. No more goofy grandmas.
  • They are not Grandma and Grandpa. They are Barack Obama and Jerry Seinfeld and Meryl Streep and Condoleezza Rice and Bruce Springsteen. Your idiot copywriters have no clue how to talk to them.
  • They do not want to be like young people. Don’t listen to the morons who tell you “old people aspire to be like young people.” This nonsense is 20 years out of date. Do you really think Michelle Obama wants to be like Miley Cyrus? Do you really think Steven Spielberg wants to be like Justin Bieber? These people want to be youthful, but they do not want to be like young people. This is a distinction that is totally lost on the geniuses in the advertising industry.

No man (or woman) can be right 100 per cent of the time. But he is certainly getting it right more often than most. Yes, he’s rude and abrasive, but even that can be refreshing when so many are so afraid of causing offense, that all the personality is stripped out of what they say.

His company website is updated frequently, and is full of meaningful information about the over 50s group. Much of the research is based on the US market, however, so it is Bob Hoffman’s blog, where he shares his opinions and insights, which is where the true marketing gems can be found.

The website: Type A Group  
The blog: The ad contrarian  
The article: Top 10 mistakes when advertising to grownups