For Super Bowl Advertisers: Does Life End at 50?

Given the buying power of those of us over 50, you might expect the Super Bowl ads to be targeting us with a laser-like intensity. You would be wrong. Of the 35 ad campaigns previewed and discussed on's preview of big game ad plans only one of 35 of the ads or teasers had an over 70 character in a featured role (Taco Bell being the exception). At most there might be three to four brands that are even inclusive of the 50-plus set.

Having said goodbye to the "coveted 18-49 demographic" a few years ago, I might be enjoying the relative calm of avoiding marketers spotlight. But as a professional communicator, advisor and executor of programs for businesses and non-profits, I'm appalled by the misguided marketing focus.

Isn't it obvious that those of us over 50 tend to have more money to spend than those who are 18-24? An analysis of census data by found that Median Real Household Income for those from 45-64 was nearly double than for households headed by 15-24 year olds. Maybe more younger people choose to watch the Super Bowl? Not so. According to a press release issued by Fox before the 2011 game and posted by TV By the Numbers, the Super Bowl has a higher rating among those 25-54 (40.5) than those in the 18-49 demo (38.6).

So let's take a look at some of this year's ads which may acknowledge us. The tease for the Taco Bell ad has an older person going through football agility drills in a medical mobility scooter. Unclear if we are the butt of the joke.

My first reaction to watching the first few seconds of the Audi's Prom spot was "his prom date looks old." Then I realized it was his Mom. The "older" late-40ish Dad then flips him the Audi keys helping him get a kiss from the prom queen and a black eye from her boyfriend. Are they targeting the Dad set hoping to live vicariously through his son? Maybe.

Century 21, with its tagline "Smarter, Bolder, Faster" might want to be adding younger based on the tease for its spot (though it does include a couple of middle aged agents).

Best Buy hasn't released its ad yet but Amy Poehler appeals across all age demographics so they get an incomplete.

Ford's Lincoln campaign is teaming with Jimmy Fallon to have his fans tweet the script of a spot. Could be entertaining. I love Jimmy Fallon. But is this the prime target of Lincoln's buyers?

Despite its average buyer being 53-years-old, Mercedes-Benz, as Nick Jaynes reported in Digital Trends, is trying to skew younger and now feature Kate Upton in their Super Bowl spot. While my 18 year old son is a Kate Upton fan, his job as an umpire won't cover the cost of a new Mercedes. In fairness, if I owned a Mercedes, having Kate Upton wash it in slow-motion wouldn't be the worst thing.

Marketers can want to sell their products to younger people. But if they don't have the money to buy them or the interest what's the point. Shouldn't your first steps in effective public relations, advertising or marketing (which we call PRketing®), be to identify your audience and create content that will motivate them to buy? Yet companies are spending millions without hope of moving the sales needle.

Three of the most buzzed about commercials last year revolved around 50+ stars. Honda had Matthew Broderick, Acura featured Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, and of course no one will forget Clint Eastwood's turn in the Chrysler ad. Older stars, pitching products to older buyers, in a memorable way. It can be done.

The Super Bowl presents the once-in-a-year opportunity when you know your target demographic is tuning in. Doesn't it make sense to create content that is relevant to those who will buy your product or are you just turning this into a $4-million-plus branding exercise?

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Past Superbowl Halftime Performers