The attitude to life of best agers today is often governed by restlessness. But people who deny aging miss the chance to enjoy age-appropriate happiness. This results in new opportunities to target older audiences by addressing topics such as self-contemplation and pride in experience. In a current trend study, concept m shows new approaches to best ager marketing.
Best agers, golden agers, silver surfers, grumpies, third agers, mature consumers: there is now a wealth of names for consumers over 60. In the wake of demographic development – by 2030 27% of Germans will already be older than 65 – this group will become more and more important for marketing. Therefore, concept m has investigated for the first time in a basic study how best agers view life today – with surprising discoveries.
On retiring from working life, best agers basically want to enjoy their newly gained freedom and savour their self-determination. This often sparks frantic activities which lead to new compulsions – cue: obsession with youth. “Rejuvenation of the skin at the speed of light” for example is the claim of the cosmetics manufacturer Filorga. In the media there are countless reports on how Harriette Thompson still completed a marathon at the age of 92. The burdens of old age are suppressed, probably from a lack of real role models.
Thanks to advances in medicine, a longer life has actually become reality: in 1970 a 50-year-old still had an average 18 years ahead of him. By 2010 this had already increased to 31 years. But as much as the best agers may wish for long-lasting vitality, it is just as certain that they will ultimately face a conflict with the inevitability of physical decline. The fitness dictate creates the need to always be “in good shape” and blocks the desire for relaxed aging.
Best agers wired like this experience a constant rekindling of the conflict between impotence and omnipotence: signs of aging are brushed aside by increased activity to calm the fears. But the time comes when new signs of decline are observed causing the fears to come back – calling for new activities!
Do people really want to grow so old?
There are first indications of a movement back in the other direction. For example it is possible to observe an increasing acceptance of “imperfection”, hidden for instance in the emerging preference for products with a history or with minor flaws. The tendency to move from an unfettered “me” to “we” in order to find stability in a community of like-minded can also be understood as part of this countermovement.
The study arrives at the conclusion that the pendulum is currently swinging back from the pressure to preserve everlasting youth towards an appreciation of the special opportunities presented by old age. The typical life patterns to result firstly show a renunciation of the youth culture and secondly the maxim to stay true to yourself and continue to develop within the new limitations – self-discovery and fulfillment instead of alienation and activism.
At present, these patterns still offer plenty of scope for the marketing of products for best agers – the following directions appear to be particularly promising:
- Emphasis of life experience: Experience of life is an accumulation of competence, not just a collection of knowledge. This is currently manifested for example in the networks where senior citizens pass on their expertise either in an honorary or paid capacity.
- Aplomb and composure: This focus allows a differentiation from “impetuous” youth. One example of this orientation is the brand Baldessarini, which even words the claim literally: “Separates the men from the boys”.
- Decisiveness: Old age can also be effectively staged as the time when you stay true to yourself and do not have to chase after any fashions. Paradigmatic for this is the brand Jever with its advertising that shows a mature man standing on a dune looking into the distance and saying: “No compromises… and no other beer.”
- Quality time: Time becomes a predominant issue for best agers. This means that products which also have the benefit of giving consumers valuable time or preventing them from wasting time strike a chord in the target group of best agers.
- Attractive role models: It is generally advisable to look for attractive role models who stand for a confident approach to aging and show that the wealth of experience you have at this stage of life can be used in a variety of ways.
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