Ageism and marketing: why representation matters
Have you really thought about ageism in marketing? I have to admit, it was never top of mind with me… until I started being targeted by that marketing. Now, I see it everywhere.
There is a movement, led by incredible entrepreneur, Jacynth Bassett of The Bias Cut, that is looking to cut through age stereotypes for women. Watch my interview with her or head straight to the show notes, below.
Introduction: Ageism in Marketing and Insights
- Minal, the host, introduces the topic of ageism in marketing, particularly targeting older women, and invites Jacynth to share her insights.
- Jacynth is the founder of the Bias Cut, an age-inclusive online fashion boutique, and advocates against ageism in fashion and society.
Issues in Marketing Women Over 40
- They discuss the issues of marketing targeting women over 40, including brands ignoring or stereotyping this demographic.
- Brands often feature younger models or use tokenistic gestures when targeting women over 40, lacking authenticity and diversity.
- There is a need for consistency in messaging and representation, as some brands only feature older women in specific campaigns but not across all platforms.
- Jacynth emphasizes the importance of treating women over 40 as individuals and avoiding generic approaches.
Overlooked Preferences and Spending Power
- Minal and Jacynth discuss how many things are targeted at younger people, even though older individuals like them have more disposable income.
- Brands often overlook the preferences and spending power of the older demographic, failing to understand the nuances and emotions within this diverse market.
- Younger consumers are seen as trendy and cool, while older consumers are often ignored or stereotyped.
- There is a misconception that marketing to older consumers will alienate younger ones, but brands can attract both by focusing on shared values, lifestyles, and tastes.
- It’s important to avoid segregating age groups and instead consider individual preferences, experiences, and cultural references when developing marketing strategies.
Successful Age-Inclusive Marketing Campaign: “Never in Style”
- Jacynth shares her excitement about winning the Best Social Media Campaign award at the Silver Marketing Association Awards for successfully marketing to people over 50.
- The campaign, “Never in Style,” was created to provide a safe space for people of all ages to discuss their experiences with ageing, ageism, and self-empowerment.
- The campaign started on Facebook and expanded to Instagram, featuring badges and social media campaigns such as “I Look My Age.”
- Jacynth’s company partners with organizations like the charity, Centre for Ageing Better, to champion ageing, combat ageism, and improve the representation of people over 50.
- She has worked with the charity to create a series of fashion-inspired editorial stock images of women over 50.
- The campaign aims to disrupt stereotypes about how people should look at different ages and celebrate the beauty, diversity, and individuality of ageing.
- The “I Look My Age” campaign has garnered significant attention and engagement, with millions of views and participation from people around the world.
- The campaign encourages people to embrace their true age and challenges narrow-minded perceptions of ageing.
- Participants of all ages have shared their stories, including those in their 30s experiencing age-related biases and older individuals overcoming fears of admitting their age on social media.
Acceptance of Aging and Freedom from Judgment
- Minal discusses the acceptance of ageing and the pressure women face to look young.
- Jacynth talks about the criticism faced by celebrities who choose to have work done and emphasizes the need to understand the societal pressures behind these choices.
- They both agree that ending ageism is about allowing individuals the freedom to age as they wish without judgment or pressure.
Communicating and Marketing to Women Over 50
- When communicating with women over 50, it is important to integrate into their communities, listen to them, and have ongoing dialogues.
- Assumptions should be avoided, as there is diversity within this demographic.
- Understanding the audience and rethinking perceptions of older women’s appearance, jobs, lifestyle, and more is crucial in marketing.
The Role of AI and Offline Marketing Channels
- AI may not be the solution for diversity in images as algorithms may have biased assumptions, making it an opportunity for creatives to break stereotypes and push authentic messages.
- Minal agrees that AI can be a powerful tool for efficiency but expresses concern about bias in AI algorithms, particularly regarding age. She notes that younger individuals often train these algorithms, leading to potential age-related biases.
- Jacynth emphasizes the importance of education and inclusion efforts regarding ageism in the technology industry. She believes ageism is often overlooked in diversity and inclusion conversations and should be addressed at all stages of life.
- Both speakers discuss the significance of offline marketing channels alongside digital platforms. They highlight the enduring value of traditional PR, such as print media, magazines, and leaflets. These tangible materials often receive more attention and consideration from consumers.
- Minal shares her personal experience of paying more attention to physical mail, indicating that receiving mail has become less frequent but more impactful.
- Jacynth advocates for a balanced approach to marketing, incorporating both online and offline strategies. While social media and digital platforms are crucial, offline touchpoints like print PR and word-of-mouth recommendations remain effective, especially for older and more discerning consumers.
Personal Connections and Inclusive Marketing
- The speakers emphasize the importance of personal connections and face-to-face interactions, particularly in purpose-driven businesses. They discuss the coexistence of online and offline shopping experiences, with personal touchpoints serving to amplify a brand’s message.
- Jacynth emphasizes the need to communicate, educate, and understand the target audience for inclusive marketing. Speaking the customers’ language, and using relatable terminology, references, and phrases, helps customers feel seen and understood.
- Constant communication, active listening, and learning from customers are essential for effective marketing. Jacynth highlights the advantage that small brands have in being able to consistently check in with their customers, adapting and growing alongside them.
Call to Action: #ILookMyAge Campaign
- Minal encourages listeners to participate in the #ILookMyAge campaign, where individuals proudly share their age and embrace their appearance. She advises tagging the campaign for wider visibility and the opportunity to be shared.