• By JWT
  • Pioneering solutions that build enduring brands & businesses

You’re no different when you’re 50 or 60

JWT has unveiled the Elastic Generation, its pioneering in-depth research into consumers in their 50s and 60s.

The research was unveiled today (25th November) at an event with a panel line up of Mariella Frostrup, journalist and presenter, Chris Clark, CGM, Global Head of Marketing for HSBC, Marie Stafford Planning Foresight Director at JWT London and Stefano Hatfield, Editor-in-Chief of High50 the leading online lifestyle magazine for the over 50s.

Reared during a time of significant social and political change, the Elastic Generation have consistently demonstrated trailblazing behaviour and youthful attitudes unlike any generation before them. True to their name, they have stretched preconceived notions of what it means to be 50+ today, so much so, they form a completely new consumer group.

More commonly known as the Baby Boomers, because they are unusually strong in numbers the Elastic Generation account for 29% of adult population. That’s the equivalent to over 15 million people. The (50+) are driving consumer spending – accounting for 48% of the total (2012). They also control the vast majority of the nation’s financial wealth – 80% according to The Economist.

This is a long-term trend: their strength in numbers and wealth is expected to endure. And in a globalised economy, this not limited to the UK. The same patterns are emerging in the United States, across Europe and in parts of Asia too.

On paper, the Elastic Generation are a marketer’s dream but brands are not talking to them. A shocking 5% of ad budgets worldwide focus on this group. 95% of brand communications are targeted elsewhere, 80% on millennials.

The Elastics have noticed: 73% say they don’t pay attention to ads because they don’t seem relevant. The Elastic Generation claim ads that target them are patronising and stereotyped. 84% of our respondents said advertisers assume everyone over 50 is the same.

JWT has uncovered learnings about who they are as people, their mindsets and attitudes and what they are looking for as consumers. Here are two snapshot examples to help brands engage with this consumer group:

The Elastic Generation have made it very clear that they would like brands to acknowledge who they are and how they live their lives. They have lots of opinions and will willingly share them. They love adventure, share a streak of rebellion and feel free to be individuals – so, start the conversation again, mend the relationship breakdown, treat them as individuals and ask them what they think.
68% of the people in their 50s and 60s told us that they feel advertisers only care about young people. They said they are less likely to pay less attention to an ad if it only includes people much younger than them. So take the necessary next steps to truly do them justice in your representation of them in your communications.