Motive fascinates me. Every choice you make, is governed by motivation. Whether you get off the couch to use the bathroom, or head to the kitchen, is motivated by a full bladder, an empty stomach, or maybe that Doritos commercial you saw. Marketers know this. It is their job to find out what drives you to part with your most prized possession; your MONEY.
I can tell, for instance, that diabetics will pay for a magazine that tells them they can enjoy a luscious brownie parfait layered with gobs of whipped cream. Crafters get excited being reminded to start their Christmas projects in July. Car enthusiasts like to think they can get a scantily-clad woman to lean against their car provocitavely — Okay, okay . . . who doesn’t? — but you get my point.
It makes sense that if a publication appeals to a larger audience, they will have more people who will ultimately fork over their dough. Consequently, you regularly see articles for “Look your best in your 30s, 40s, and over 50.”
The age bracket I now fall into is “over 50.” Apparently, I am no different than those in their 60s, 70s, 80s or even 90s. We are all lumped together. I am as likely to have ads directed at me for retirement, golf courses, and expensive vacations, as I am adult diapers and nursing homes. If the baby boomer generation has the purchasing power they say we do, the marketers haven’t figured it out yet.
Even the wrinkle-repair skin cream is advertised by models at least twenty years younger than myself. Is it time for me to say goodbye to pretty cosmetics and succumb to false teeth and slippers? Many of us in our 50s, 60s and 70s are still actively working out, buying computers, having *gasp* SEX, wearing make-up, and looking for some trendy fashion. I have peers raising young children and starting new careers. We grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. We wrote the book on groovy and invented free love! Now your going to tell us it’s time to tie a sweater around our shoulders and ride a bike with a basket on the front? Hold on here!
I actually enjoy reading Cosmopolitan. The fashion news is up to date, and the sex tips are always fun. But when scantily clad boys stare seductively at me from the pages, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable. Would it hurt to have one guy with a little grey at the temples . . . I mean, just to represent the small percentage of their readership over the drinking age?
I’d like to think I’m still a marketable demographic. Yet, opening up the pages of this national publication, I found that this cover story actually included How to Dress in Your 30s, 40s, 50s and also 60s.
If you remember nothing else about advertising, remember this:
Nothing is an accident.
While I applaud their effort to include women in their 60s, from a marketing perspective, thirty-somethings are not going to pay for pictures of clothing for old people. It is more profitable to this editor to sell publications to the younger group than the older one. Thus, the 60-year old customer was not advertised to, and she will have to stumble onto the article by chance.
Are the “50 and over” customers a tough crowd? Maybe we have grown too wise to be fooled out of our money. After all, I know the models are airbrushed, and I’m never going to see my abs again. (They left, actually, without leaving so much as a note.) I don’t need advice on asking my boss for a raise. (If I’m lucky they won’t notice I’m still there drawing a paycheck.) I know diets are a farce and I plan on living each day like there are no brownies in heaven. Only the AARP is still marketing to me, sending me eleven brochures every month. So far, not even the promise of member savings and a secret handshake have been enough to loosen my purse strings.
Opening the magazine below, I was promised ageless, chic looks. I found only . . . good God! . . . the Bride of Frankenstein!
And they wonder how they’ve lost the purchasing power of the baby boomers!