Why does everybody want to look older?

"It's clear lots of people are excited to see what their future holds - and marketers have a unique opportunity to help them live it to the fullest."

The evolution from PhotoShop to Facetune took us from airbrushing to selfie editing and filtering. Most recently, with the avalanche of coverage about FaceApp, we’ve taken another evolutionary and eye-opening step.  

In case you missed it, FaceApp is an AI-based technology that allows you to see what you’ll look like when you’re older.  It’s been around for awhile, yet with the help of a few famous before-and-afters, FaceApp went viral again in a surge of renewed interest. 

Celebrities like Drake, The Jonas Brothers, LeBron James, Mindy Kaling, and many others happily took the FaceApp challenge, and shared "older" images of themselves.  

This is an important cultural moment that’s flipping the way we think about the most powerful segment of the market – the 50+ demographic. 

Why? It’s clear lots of people are excited to see what their future holds – and marketers have a unique opportunity to help them live it to the fullest.

Changing Face of 50+

Life after 50 is empowering: it’s a time of new beginnings and opportunities.  Gary Vaynerchuk, a best-selling author, media CEO, and cultural observer with 6.5 million Instagram followers, recently shared a "rant" titled Think you’re too old?  Think again, in which he encouraged 50+ viewers to take more advantage of experience, insight and technology.  

"You haven’t even started," Vaynerchuk said. "You have 30 remarkable years of execution in front of you."  His message, in part, was that people over 50 have at least three more decades to do what they want, live the way they want, and need to stay focused on the future. 

Research bears this out.  Americans in the 50+ demographic have new passions to explore, causes they care about. They want to try new things, have new experiences – and yes, this of course extends to brands.  

Marti Barletta, author of PrimeTime Women, reports that after they’ve put the kids through college, women 50+ spend 2.5 times what the average person spends – and they’re the primary buyers of a range of big-ticket items including computers, cars, and financial services.

Today, there are 111 million consumers over age 50 in the U.S., and they spend $7.6 trillion annually. They are responsible for more than half of all air travel, new vehicle and CPG sales. They control half of the country’s discretionary income and 75% of the country’s wealth.  

And, like Gary, they’re already well connected! More than seven in ten adults 50+ are on social media. And what they have to offer is deep and rich with possibilities. 

If you’re looking to connect more effectively with 50+ consumers, here are three considerations to keep in mind:

• Use substance to create relevance.  Adults 50+ are sophisticated consumers.  They appreciate content that speaks to their needs and interests, and helps them feel more informed – which gives marketers a chance to connect in meaningful ways at every step in the consumer journey.  

• Make it personal.  The 50+ demographic is multi-faceted.  Each decade brings one or two new life-stages – and new opportunities.  Tailor your content whenever possible, and feature imagery that mirrors the audience.

• Integrate across platforms.  Integrate all your efforts across digital, print, TV and video, outdoor advertising, call centers, retail stores, etc., to create a holistic customer experience.

What’s Next?

Pay attention to this moment.  Attitudes about aging are changing all around us, day by day, image by image.  People are approaching 50+ with curiosity, optimism, and excitement – and marketers should, too.

Patricia Lippe Davis is vp of marketing for AARP Media Sales

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