Changing faces – overcoming the taboo of marketing to a mature audience

  • Published: 15 February 2016,
  • The Say Team

Changing faces – overcoming the taboo of marketing to a mature audience


What is the best compliment a woman can ever get?  “I would never have guessed your age” has to rank right up there, and it certainly works for me!   But how to market health products and services to a mature audience when no-one wants to be told their body or mind is not what it once was?

Campaigns that move away from defining chronological age, and marketing taboodiscussions about key health benefits and concerns, are powerful and motivating.  Also, those that tap into positive attitudes about self and relationships in an upbeat way are less alienating and more likely to be effective in future.  This approach will help women and men navigate the minefield of being stereotyped by their chronical age, and opens up broader communication opportunities.

Mintel global food science analyst Laura-Daisy Jones confirms this approach and urges companies to beware of the taboo of getting old.  Speaking at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) in Paris recently, she said, “In targeting seniors today it’s about positioning products on an ageless platform.  We know that in Western cultures they don’t particularly like to be told they are old. So keeping it open and talking about areas of health such as cardiovascular health, bone health and brain health which are the three top concerns for the ageing population is key”.

marketing taboo

With the proportion of people in the UK over 65 set to nearly double and reach 19 million by 2050 ( the opportunities for health manufacturers, services and retailers to capitalise on a non-ageist approach are huge.  How refreshing therefore to see beauty brand Olay leading the way with their new “ageless” campaign that engages with women by appealing to how they act, think and feel  rather than a number.  Perhaps now is the time for the health industry to take up the challenge too?


Healthcare professional communications

Healthcare professional communications could also adopt this approach, to prepare them for the challenge that is likely to come as patients look to the healthcare system to help them stay as healthy and active as their younger counterparts.  Today a 60 year-old could be as fit and healthy as someone much younger; just because patients are a certain age why should they be treated any differently?

I am looking forward to the day when health communications will be more about navigating around the ageing taboo, and we can all respond to “how well do we feel” rather than “how old we are”.


– Written by Jan P.

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