Over-55s want to buy 'sexy brands', research finds

Over-55s: brands such as SunLife have attempted to tackle stereotypes
Over-55s: brands such as SunLife have attempted to tackle stereotypes

New study shows 70% of over-55s unconsciously associate their favourite brands with being 'sexy' and 'inspiring'.

Life doesn't end after 55 – even though most ads would suggest it's all about stairlifts, grandchildren and gradual decline. New research shows that over-55s perceive their favourite brands to be "sexy" more than any other demographic.

The study, conducted by marketing and management consultancy Brilliant Noise, indicates that brands are missing an opportunity by "playing it safe with older consumers" and delves into the psychological drivers that lead to consumers buying brands. 

The research, which claims that consumers are motivated to buy brands by tapping into the basic human needs of "enjoyment", "individuality", "security" and "social inclusion", found that those aged over 55 were the most likely to unconsciously associate their favourite brands with being "popular", "inspiring" or "sexy". 

"More predictably", Brilliant Noise said, this demographic was also more likely to look for "authentic", "secure" and "traditional" brands. Shoppers aged 18-34, meanwhile, were more than twice as likely to value brands with "unique" or "creative" attributes. 

The study used a technique similar to that of the Harvard implicit-association test to guage people's unconcious motivations, Brilliant Noise said.

"Purchasing decisions are influenced by subconscious as well as conscious considerations, so finding out what customers want isn’t as simple as asking," Antony Mayfield, chief executive of Brilliant Noise, said.

"To inspire marketing strategies and creative that works in the real world, brands need to connect with the emotions of their customers on a deeper level, beyond cold, hard data points."

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