Youth is overrated. But don’t expect your 20 something children to realize this for at least 20 years.
If it takes one to know one, it takes one to show one. It wasn’t until a significant majority of the marketplace reached middle age that the middle aged marketplace emerged from obscurity. Before that it was invisible to advertisers.
The mentality of our generation has a lot to do with the fact that we weren’t going to just slip invisibly into old age. After all, we grew up exercising our right to freedom of expression.
So, it wasn’t that surprising that the New York Times recently featured an article about middle aged models. Juliette Branker, for one, works full time at a Lowe’s Store, and has a vibrant second career working as a model in print and TV ads. Branker was discovered by accident while taking Salsa lessons.
Branker’s new career is a reflection of the changing times. Marketing has always been about targeting a demographic. Boomer women now represent enormous buying power, strong opinions, and significant influence in society, politics and business.
The standardized version of beauty no longer applies. To our demographic, reality and authenticity are more important than idealized marketing. We’ve succeeded in getting across that we need to see more mature models and more emphasis on what’s important to us now.
We are empty nesters, thinking of retirement, starting second careers, facing widowhood, taking care of aging parents, possibly helping children and parents financially, and generally reinventing ourselves to fit into a changing world. When we list all of our possibilities and responsibilities, it’s no wonder we don’t respond to the idea that we want nothing more than flawless skin and a perfect body.
Ford Models, long the leader in the industry, recently created a division devoted to what they call “classic” models. So far it numbers 54, not nearly enough but expect the numbers to grow. Despite the Great Recession boomers are considered a huge marketing opportunity.