I Am Over 40 and I Am Scared

Not for reasons you might think, however. It has very little to do with looks or health, and more to do with disappearing from the current media radar--vanishing entirely from the advertisers' landscape soon.

Advertisers tend to focus on Millennials, to be mild, and generation XYZ, until soon, we will run out of the alphabet. According to media planning, I might still have a good ten years to enjoy the ad frenzy. But when I will be at the peak of my career, financially stable, and already brand savvy, with higher purchasing power than any alphabetically stamped consumer group, I will also be at the cliff of non-recognition and underestimation. Period. Unless, of course, we bring it up and make older demographics relevant.

The way the elderly are treated and featured in commercials simply demonstrates the cultural and social impact of any given brand. I desperately wish not to be associated with elderly couples walking on the shore, holding hands, and enjoying the benefits of sanitary protection. I also hope not to see any more 20-year-old models promoting anti-aging skincare, as if aging were disgraceful and we need to run away from it somehow.

Of course, I am glad to notice some brands making efforts to target the 50-plus demographic with cool and exciting ads, but exceptions are not enough to bring about a change. We feel uncomfortable featuring the elderly in ads, unless it's a whiskey commercial, where age is a clear benefit. How do we expect the next generation to feel comfortable in their skin and about their future, not to mention face additional challenges of acceptance without the tension and enormous pressure of staying young forever, instead of remaining cool and active even as they age?

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If culture clearly influences purchasing intentions, and brands have a clear impact on culture, when must we stop to reconsider making a gesture in favor of high purchasing power and sophisticated demographics, who at least understand and value the nuances of brand communication, and have seen the benefits of being loyal? Brands can capitalize on the fact that the elderly segment can be both a consumer in itself and a customer group purchasing brands for other family members.

The more the discussions on this topic, the closer we could get to a solution to feeling better in our skin. Contrary to a decade-long debate, TV ads are not dead, and neither is this generation of the happy 50-plus.