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by Leslie Farin
Here’s your chance to challenge the myths surrounding aging….CLICK TO JOIN THE REVOLUTION!
(Revolution55 is Age of Majority’s new community of active people 55+ united to give them a voice with brands and companies in the products, services and marketing they create for older consumers. NOT TRYING TO SELL YOU ANYTHIING, THEY JUST WANT YOUR OPINION!)
Frustrated by ageism in the media?
We all age…if we’re lucky. Why do so many people view growing older as a negative?
In September I turn 60. The number doesn’t bother me, and truthfully, I love this phase of life. Through the years I learned a lot and I have more confidence, wisdom and money now than when younger. I’m active mentally, physically and socially, and fortunately in excellent health. It’s all good. So what’s the problem?
Older adults and the media
It’s no secret we live in a youth obsessed culture where advertisements featuring consumers our age are almost nonexistent. When included, the media often characterizes us as weak, feeble or confused. Or they focus on the dissatisfaction we must certainly feel every time we look in a mirror. I see lots of ads for products like hearing aids, reverse mortgages and anti-aging creams aimed at our age group, but I don’t need or want any of these items. I’m more interested in travel, exercise, cars and technology, and at this point in my life I have money to spend. Why don’t they seem to want my business?
Here is a particularly condescending example of ageism in the media. As an avid cyclist, I looked high and low to find a compact car spacious enough inside to easily transport my bicycle without removing the wheels. I liked the sporty look of the Honda Fit, and the back area offered sufficient height and width to fit my needs. I wasn’t surprised that most of the ads I found for this vehicle featured ridiculously fit young people. However, I happened upon one particular advertisement that really irked me. Here’s a quote I copied directly from that ad:
If your grandparent needs a new vehicle, the Honda Fit would be one of the best choices to check out. It offers everything they could use in a car and doesn’t come with too many bells and whistles that might end up confusing them or distracting them from the road.
Wow. Why does Honda speak to the grandchild instead of the driver? Are grandparents incapable of making their own decisions about a car? And also easily confused or distracted? If that’s the case, perhaps it’s time for them to stop driving altogether. This ad is not only insulting, it perpetuates dangerous myths about aging.
The media is full of demeaning advertisements that severely impact the way society views older people. Jeff Weiss, President and CEO of Age of Majority, is on a mission to dispel harmful myths and crush the stereotypes and stigmas peddled in the media. He implores brands to show sensitivity in their marketing to the Boomer and older adult population, a demographic he calls “Active Aging Consumers”. As per Weiss,
“Active Agers collectively account for $2.9 trillion in spending each year. These strong, powerful and vibrant individuals are young at heart with a wide variety of interests and healthy bank accounts.”
Brands unable to connect with this audience squander opportunities to reach a profitable market. Age of Majority works with businesses to reach Active Agers and better understand their different life stages, attitudes and behaviors. Ultimately, he helps businesses increase overall sales and improve their bottom line.
Why do some brands express reluctance to change their marketing strategies? They may believe the misleading stereotypes, and/or fear marketing to older adults makes their product less attractive to younger consumers. Or perhaps they focus on a younger audience to hopefully nurture longer term customer relationships. Weiss challenges these beliefs with concrete data and insights about the buying power of this population.
Join the Revolution!
Revolution55 is a brilliant effort created to combat untrue generalizations about Active Agers and educate brands about the importance of including them in advertising efforts. This program offers older adults across a variety of categories opportunities to voice their opinions to help change the way marketers engage older consumers. Weiss further explained,
“Revolution55 is Age of Majority’s highly engaged and rapidly growing community of Active Agers who are invested in supporting innovations and marketing that better meet their needs and desires.”
Over 2500 individuals joined the Revolution so far to participate in polls, surveys, focus groups and product tests. Primarily conducted on a virtual platform and free to join, Revolution55 regularly invites members, called “Revolutionaries”, to join research efforts for both new and existing products. Participants engage online at their convenience based on their personal interests. The program offers gift cards and product samples in exchange for opinions, but most people participate simply because they want their individual voices heard. It’s not unusual for 700-800 participants to join a Revolution55 discussion; members enjoy being part of this community and the chance to fight ageism in the media.
The bottom line
I was thrilled to find Revolution55. Finally, a productive way to make my voice heard. This program is an essential effort – and the only one I know designed specifically to break the myths and crush the stigmas associated with aging.
In case you want to know if I bought the Honda Fit, I did. I searched obsessively for a different brand that met my needs. Unfortunately I did not find one, and ultimately decided not to punish myself for Honda’s ignorance.
I am a happy member of Revolution55 and grateful for their efforts. I hope you decide to join me! With no fees and no commitment other than to engage as often or infrequently as you like, there’s no downside to signing up. And Revolution55 does not sell anything – they just want your opinions. Together we can fight ageism in the media. This opportunity helps effect real change and extinguish negative stereotypes linked to older consumers.
About Jeff Weiss, President and CEO of Age of Majority
As a Boomer with 30+ years of marketing experience on both the client and agency sides of the business, Jeff witnessed the dramatic changes of the aging population through the years. In his experience working with major brands including Pepsi, Gillette, Dannon, KitchenAid and Unilever, he understands why major brands and corporations miss the boat on the over 55 crowd and knows what’s necessary to take advantage of this largest and fastest growing segment in business.