In our Ageless Society trend, we argue that evolving lifestyles and attitudes are challenging age-based assumptions and stimulating support for more age-inclusive marketing communications. Indeed, as many within the upper age brackets look forward to enjoying the autumns and winters of their lives in relative good health and financial comfort, any notion that reaching one’s 60s, 70s, 80s or beyond should involve an automatic rejection of concern about such areas as physical appearance, fitness and fashion is being challenged. And driving this forward have been a) rising longevity b) growing acceptance that we will need to work for longer into our lives and c) the majoritarian belief that people should make an effort to look their best at any age (a statement for which support peaks at 77% among those aged 75+).
Broadly speaking, we thus posit that age is becoming much less of a determining factor across such areas as technology, leisure, fashion and media consumption – and that marketing messages are shifting accordingly. In particular, the idea that fashion and beauty campaigns should speak only to young(-ish) groups falls under ever greater pressure. And it is in this context that we look with interest at H&M’s 2011 Christmas campaign. Long a brand willing to feature models drawn from a wide demographic spectrum – as we saw through its use of Daphne Self in the late 00s – the fashion retailer’s latest posters present a diverse range of protagonists, often juxtaposed within the same image. One of the posters thus presents Jerry Hall (mid 50s) alongside her daughter Georgia May Jagger. Another unites singer Bryan Ferry (early 60s) with his son Tara.
Of course, we recognise that there will always be occasions when certain age segments will respond to age-specific communications. But targeting older consumers with products designed explicitly for “old” people will certainly become less and less common. In turn, instances where younger and older individuals are invited to choose similar but age-appropriate styles and designs from the same brand will grow. Indeed, as age boundaries progressively weaken and more brands adopt age-neutral approaches to marcomms – particularly when it offers the opportunity to broaden customer bases – the Ageless Society mindset will get only stronger.