Population of 50-plus people is rapidly growing group of society; in fact, western countries pyramids of population are flipping up side down. These people are called Baby Boomers – the generation of rebels. They were free and joyful flower kids in the 1960’s, punks in the 1970’s, inventors of the computer and Internet in 1990’s. This society have not just experienced various social transformations as they have passed through different life stages, but also actively instigated them. Boomers are the first generation, which had grown up in a consumer society. Therefore, why should it stop after they reached certain age? I believe that Baby Boomers may be the pioneers that begin to change the way ageing wave is proceeding – and the way it is acted out it life.
Moreover, question has appeared about luxury lifestyle future after The Future Laboratory event held to spread insights about forever changing global consumer’s needs. Ageing society cult creates market gaps, which requires brands’ adaptation in order to satisfy consumer’s needs. Brief trend forecasting about growing 50-plus audience, engaged curiosity for further research about elderly people lifestyle habits. For this reason, some supportive methods are going to be used in order to improve perception in this section. Trend forecasting reports will be read, which will be main source of knowledge on top of volunteering for ‘The Age of No Retirement?’ debates. There will be many mature industry people willing to share their personal experiences and opinions. ‘World Travel Market’ exhibition must be seen as well, where knowledge might be obtained about future travelling tendencies of 50-plus consumers and meet travel agencies founders.
Furthermore, main aims were highlighted in order to precisely prepare for research. First of aims is to find out if any luxury brands are aware of the emerging 50-plus audience and how these brands will adapt to meet their desires. Secondly, how companies are planning to fulfil older consumer’s wish to stop being isolated from society. This generation is not into ostentation, Baby Boomers care about sustainability and ecology. Additionally, analysing older fashion and beauty luxury consumers shopping behaviours and their personal point of views on advertising and fashion campaigns, which are heavily based on selling youth. Finally, searching for actions that could increase new brands changes to succeed by branding and targeting for 50-plus consumers.
All in all, 50-plus consumers are going to be the basis of luxury consumerism. In my opinion, they might change the rest of society’s understanding about high-end lifestyle by introducing their own eco-luxury perceptive and stop being in the shadow as invisible individuals without any desires. Therefore, lets stop talking only about how to save the old folks and start talking about how to get them to save us all.
Black Friday – following Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States regarded as beginning of Christmas shopping season.
Bricks versus clicks – in-store shopping versus online shopping experiences Dress up to the nines – dressed flamboyantly or smartly
Flat-Age Society/Flat-Ager – representatives, who celebrate age and agrees that chronological age is becoming irrelevant.
Universal Design – designing solutions that empower Flat-Agers.
CHAPTER ONE: 50+ CONSUMER’S DESIRE FOR WELL-BEING
In 2050, there will be 2 billion people in the world aged 60 and above. This is more than a triple the number of people in the world 50 years earlier. (Huber and Skidmore, 2003, p. 17) According to UNDESA, Population Division, (United Nations, Website, 2013) in 2013 the number of older persons is 841 millions, which is four times higher than the 202 million that lived in 1950. The older population will almost triple by 2050, when it is expected to surpass the two billion mark. Population pyramids of the more developed regions (see fig.1) reveals shocking facts – amount of 60+ consumers in 2050 is three times higher than the youthful cult of consumer market aged 15 to 34. This demographic phenomenon will conduct to 34% of population being 60 and over.
Andrew Scott, professor of economics and deputy dean at London Business School, suggests start making 100-year-old plans, as one-third of children born in the UK today will live 100 or more years. (Rowland Manthorpe, online video, 2014) Plans for 100 years sounds believable, however Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine scientists are growing over 30 types of tissues and organs and manage to print 3D bio body parts such as kidneys, blood vessels and even spin, which may let human being to replace body parts that have broken down in the future. (Wake Forest School of Medicine, website, 2014) Forthcoming age will be with a large population of consumers over 50 in order to lead to sensation of innovative and thrilling designs, which will elevate everyday tasks and needs without isolating them from other generations. The concept of universal design is making products accessible to everyone at variable age, therefore, brands, which will embrace a generation-less, eventually will succeed.
ACCESSIBLE DESIGN SOLUTIONS
For this reason, The Yellow Loft, graphic design studio is focused on print and packaging design. Owner, Katrina Luong, revealed secrets of how to create un- isolating and universal package design for Baby Boom audience. ‘Legibility does become of utmost importance, during designing process. There are many ways design can hinder or heighten legibility other than front size, such as colour contrast and relationships, the choice of typeface, printing finishes, or determining alternate ways to communicate’, Katrina said. There are many manners of how to engage with older consumer in print and package design, for example ‘designing an icon to explain to a consumer how to twist off a cap of make-up applicator rather than express it in text’.(Luong, interview, 2014) Larger established companies withhold packaging design studios to create an obtainable new product line for older consumer, as designers has to stay in pre-existing directions, what leaves them in a tiny frame of creative possibilities and prevents full of thrill packaging designs. Even thought creative direction is very narrow and many design studios agree to take on board provided conditions of huge companies and believe that collaboration will success and leads to additional fame as well as industry honour. Truthfully, only the brave and forward-looking packaging and branding studios could agree to design for upcoming two billion consumer audience – Flat-Ager by 2050.
Finally, Entrenched well being companies seldom re-brands existing marketing direction for another target market. It is important for new companies to see this market gap and begin to design products and provide service for older consumer. Impressively, there are few new companies embracing age and making it absolutely flat by great services.
LUXURY SERVICES WITH TASTE OF NEGLIGENCE
In addition, Pillpack are calling themselves ‘a modern pharmacy with old-fashioned values’ by executing definite message to over 50 customer, who wants to be to informed, indulged and feel safe whilst stepping into new brand experience. Pillpack does just that by keeping it old-fashion and future focus at the same time. Product of Pillpack is remarkably simple – pack of medications sophistically pre-sorted into personalised packets and labelled clearly by date and time for everyday dose (see fig. 2, fig. 3, fig. 4)
After signed up the company will take care of everything for consumer including contacting doctor, life insurance provider and previous pharmacist to make a switch. Luxury side of service is the negligence it provides to user in essential parts of their life such as health and longevity. ‘We’re trying to create a more positive brand, which is about elevating your everyday and improving your moments of joy in life,’ says founder of Sabi Assaf Wand. (Stephen Johnson, online video, 2012) Sabi creates pillboxes and canes using sleek designs and high-quality materials together with Pillpack shares similar opinion of universal design. Referring back to United Nations report of World Population, United Kingdom’s female age group 85-100+ in 1950 were only 784 thousands, while in 2050 same age group will be 1447.9 thousands. The picture of Pillpack future becomes crystal clear – they will have huge consumer market, which approach their product.
Moreover, Telemedi.co is offering doctors’ consultations via computer and mobile app. The service lets users leapfrog queues and drastically reduce waiting times for patients by giving them access to doctors and specialist from their home. As it is written in website of Telemedi.co, it promises five minute waiting time for doctors, and three hour wait for specialist such are physiotherapist, dietician or physiologist. Average consultation cost 35 Polish zloty or about £6.60 and as founders Piotr Slomian, Pawel Sieczkiewicz and Paulina Nowak told the biggest misconception about their business is ‘that medical consultation mostly can’t be done remotely, as data shows, more than 70 per cent of medical consultation could be done remotely’. (Europe, website, 2014) Telemedi.co success depends on how Flat-agers’ are well informed about technology and eventually these consumers are not technophobes. Over 30% of baby boomers in the 50-64-age range own tablet computers like an iPad (Zickuhr, website, 2014) and are the rapid adopters of social media networks. Usage of internet between over-65’s has risen up to 43% in 2013 (fig. 5)
Furthermore, health care sector never had a luxurious side of it, which allowed to consumer to feel special and relaxed during unpleasant and stressful visits related with health issues. Flat-agers’ should engage in shaping a new direction for luxury wellness centres, such as Dental Club in Lucerne, Switzerland, which looks more like first-class airport lounge. The concept of Dental Club is positive atmosphere, unique combination of modern dentistry, innovative technology, the inviting ambience and a serving of entertainment. Primitive health service frequently used by 50-year-old consumer being elevated to luxury experience without forgetting to solve problems finally will be the most wanted subject for Flat-agers. On the other hand, various generations including Baby Boom and Gen Y/Millennials are moving away from conventional medicine towards alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage and herbs. Consumers are simply sick to death of ridiculous claims and unbelievable images, so they are going back to basics, searching for functional products that really make a difference. Both generations – Baby Boom and Gen Y/Millennials – agree that maintaining mental sharpness is very important. (Prakapaite, questionnaire, 2014) This topic will be analysed in chapter four along with other various luxury lifestyle sectors, where both generations have many links with each other.
To sum up, jumping numbers of adults are creating ageing consumer market, which should be considered as tantamount to young audience and eventually could take over the cult of youth in luxury segment. Generation-less approach will be the main success key for new health and well being related companies, as established companies rarely re-brand themselves and introduce excising product for additional consumer audience, in this case 50-year-old person. The main target in the market should be fighting with age discrimination through excellence in design – forgetting about isolation from older society and thinking it is cool to have 50-plus people as the main consumers in the market. Entirely new brands must be aware about making packaging design universal – easy opening, correct choice of typefaces, printing finishes and colours relationships finally will allow 50-plus consumer to feel connected and thought about. Baby Boomer generation grew up at a time when the economy was at it’s most prosperous point ever, their parents wanted to indulge them, so they were indulged. And even when they do not have money, they still are going to do that. But money spending for Flat-Ager does not mean squander money, it means thoughtful purchases for pleasure of life, sustainable luxury experience or self- improvement courses, due to ostentation is not in this generations’ minds. Eco- friendly, sustainable and attentive lifestyle is the new definition of luxury, which will be further developed in following chapter two.
CHAPTER TWO: GOOD LIFE INSTEAD OF HIGH LIFE
Clever and thoughtful packaging, designer pharmacies and problem solving designs might look as enough attention for ageing consumer. The truth is – these types of services and products are only the beginning of what 50-year-old Flat-Ager really desires. Previously mentioned products are like an escort – they lead and encourage already brave consumers to the new obscurity, which might highlight to signing up for 7-days per week yoga classes, experiencing adventurous and fearless travel hot- spots in order to raising their passion for knowledge in various subjects. Luxury and eco-friendly travel destinations are as meaningful as universal design to Flat-Agers. (The Future Laboratory, online video, 2014)
Firstly, the majority of 50 and above luxury consumers have money to spend on meaningfully connecting to themselves, their friends and relatives, and the world around them – including travel that combines comfort and adventure. Ikea’s has recently introduced red chair commercial (TvAds2014, online video, 2013) featuring old man that walks up to his usual bench, which was full and there was no seat for him, therefore he have brought red folding chair for the next time and as the story evolves, he was travelling to different countries utilising his chair in all sorts of interesting locations and experiencing new cultures, which represent the new upcoming Flat-Age society, who is enthusiastic for traveling and learning. American Baby Boomers alone are spending £94.7bn on traveling every year. For this reason, boomers stand for 80% of the market in luxury segment, according to Forbes. (Gerber, website, 2013) “They want to have a memorable experience of fun and romance, but they also want safety, security. Luxury, all the things that make them feel comfortable”, says Dychtwald. (Dychtwald, 2003, p. 74)
Moreover, luxury tourism for 50+ travellers are no longer about Silversea cruises, sunbathing on white beaches in Fiji Islands or lazy trip to New York on the Black Friday. An Adventurous tourism does not mean zip lining through the jungle or observe a wild nature behind high fences. These two travel tendencies are merging together creating definition of ideal Flat-Ager holiday destination – an eco-luxury tourism, which enriches the local economy and gives luxury relaxation experience in the most exotic countries of the world. Nihiwatu, which is in Indonesia, appeals to the majority of Flat-Agers as an eco-lodge that represents the opportunity for guests to enjoy greater involvement by visiting Sumba Project, which teaches more about Nihiwatu country activities, in order to attract money inflow for local village communities. Likewise, Terra Incognita Ecotours that not only specialises in wildlife tours but also focus on endangered species. A nice twist: Terra Incognita makes a donation, on behalf of every guest, to charities in each area visited and donations up to date are more than £80,000. (Halpert, website, 2013)
Furthermore, Praveen Moman, founder of unique eco-luxury lodges in Uganda and Rwanda named Volcanoes Safaris can offer something really special and authentic. Luxury lodges were conceived and constructed by Praveen Moman himself, while James Ssemanda led a team of African builders and Ross Langdon led Australian architects. By respecting the culture of local community, the creators of project are teaching locals to become travel guides, entertainers or any other valuable member of staff. Moman had created hundreds of new work places for Uganda and Rwanda community. Simple elements like supplying electricity and renewable power by solar panels to ensure that fossil fuels are not required in order to create Volcanoes Safaris desirable destination for 50-year-old travellers. As Moman has told, ‘Someone has said the next big thing is people on the ground. Using your staff to tell your story can never fail if it’s a good story, whatever the medium.’ (Moman, interview, 2014)
People who come to lodges in Uganda or Rwanda had already travelled and seen many corners of the world. Therefore, people who came to adventurous safaris to receive unforgettable experience is starting understand the community, culture and importance of protecting wilderness spaces. Median age of traveller at Uganda lodges according to John Ord, marketing consultant of Volcanoes Safaris is 52,
“We regularly welcome explorers from western countries in their mid 50’s, who already seen a lot in their lifetime and came to Africa with intention to learn and satisfy their passions. Boomers have a drive for self-improvement; they come from a work-centric era. The natural extension of this is, ‘How can I grow, learn more, expand my knowledge?’”(World Travel Market, visit, 2014),
In addition, Flat-agers really begin to question themselves “Is this true to my values? How do these goods and services help me achieve happiness?” (Business Wire, website, 2007) They want good life rather than a high life and as The U.N. World Tourism Organization predicts there will be 1.6 billion eco-inspired trips taken by 2020, which makes Volcanoes Safaris really appealing to 50+ traveller, who are the main eco-luxury travel spenders. (World Tourism Organisation, website, 2013)
Furthermore, Flat-Agers agree that eco-luxury must exist not only in travelling services but also in wellness-stores. Referencing back to well-being trend, few ambitious individuals have envisioned gap market for one-stop-store of wellness, where beauty, medicine, spa treatments and raw food meets all in one place. Young brands, which have relevant stories to excite consumers with, will become rivals for heritage ones, as Flat-Agers’ are looking for new sensations, which meets with their lifestyles.
Pür wellness shop & pharmacy in Helsinki is the greatest example of remarkable packaging design, branding identity, Scandinavian interior, products and services, which are met together under same roof. Onerva Pekkonen, founder of Pür since 1964, talks about re-branding her pharmacy into modern wellness shop,
“A year ago a huge catastrophe stuck us when there was a fire at our premises. We lost everything. It was really awful and I now wonder how I didn’t completely lose my mind over it. The worst thing was that I had to let go of all my employees. Although I was old enough to retire I decided to continue with new adventures. Age isn’t a number but an attitude; with mine I cannot imagine stopping yet. My two daughters decided to join me and so we started PÜR together.”(Iisalo, website, 2014)
Pür store has a wide range of ecological products and promotes alternative medicine such as homeopathy, phototherapy, Ayurveda, anthroposophy and aromatherapy. It has a small clinic that provides services of professional homeopaths, osteopaths, dieticians and doctors of Pür cleverly cover every aspect of wellness and draws 50+ consumer’s attention with great branding solution. Exploratory icons (see fig.11, fig.12, fig.13) and bold san serif typeface expressly displays important information for consumer and as Katrina Luong said, “Flat-Ager wouldn’t be fooled by beautiful packaging and a mediocre product.” (Luong, interview, 2014)
Baby Boomers are widely seen as a vanguard generation; they have not just experience various social transformations as they have passed through different life stages, but also have actively instigated them. That’s why self-improvement and self- growing are extremely important trough out their lifetime, likewise Pür has created vision of one-stop-store, which includes in-store experience combined with selling knowledge of well-being as well as having relevant products under same roof, which are exactly what Flat-Ager desires. Same principles apply for premium retail and beauty industries, which will be covered in the next chapter.
All in all, eco-luxury is the main feature, which attracts Flat-Agers attention and money. Eco-travels, which involve rising third word countries communities’ life quality, are good example of making happy travellers over 50 as well as improving prosperity of travelling companies. For this reason, travelling agencies will follow Flat-Age society wishes and create more pleasing travel destinations specialised in eco-luxury.
CHAPTER THREE: CELEBRATING 50+ FASHION CONSUMERS
Moreover, there are more important things to discuss about Flat-Agers. As it was mentioned at the first and second chapters people over 50 are more likely to buy into eco-luxury travel destinations, universally designed packaging and non-discriminating Flat-Agers services. Therefore, human beings, who are over 50 year-old, are rapidly becoming a majority of retail consumers. Luxury fashion and premium beauty industries always had main focus on cult of youth. Unfortunately, these aspirational luxury products are rarely affordable for Millennials; de facto luxury consumers are Baby Boomers as well as generations, which will eventually come to this age group. David Walker-Smith, managing director of Fenwick, added his own personal opinion on marketing towards 40-50-60 years old consumers, “I think 50 is a new 30, I’m heading towards 50, I want to be timeless, but in my head I am still 30-something. And that is how I want you to talk to me”. (Future Laboratory, online video, 2014) Many marketers are squeezing Flat-Agers out questioning: is it cool to target forwards this audience, the question back will be: ‘it is a reality isn’t it?’
SPEAK TO ME, NOT AT ME
Baby Boomers were born into a period of prosperity – experiencing the consumer- spending boom of the 1960’s. And now talking to Boomers in the retail space has to be substantiated by high level of personal service: it’s 50% product, 50% customer service – It is that kind of value that appeals to Boomer consumer. As mentioned in previous chapters, 50-plus audience’s biggest retail fear is being isolated. Older consumers relish personalised shopping experience, being informed and advised about the latest trends and on the same hand, they like to feel that they making their own decisions. Communication with consumers is the success key of correct marketing towards Baby Boomers. Historically, brands used to sent out beautiful book, gorgeous card to their home. Now, looking to the rise of instagram where the fastest growing age group is 50+ women, brands must communicate as they would to anybody. (Future Laboratory, online video, 2014)
In addition, one of many retail strategies are bricks versus clicks; no matter how hard marketers are trying to warm up a click it’s harder. The warmth exists in a bricks environment, where consumer can touch, feel and most importantly talk. “I will research or replenish online, but you cannot get the heart and soul of a retail brand online”, says Walker-Smith. (Future Laboratory, online video, 2014) Curated retail is very important for Flat-Agers; these customers care more about an experience than a purchase. But how can brands infuse Baby Boom consumers interest to their product? It all refers back to celebrating age-less approach. Generation Boom ladies are bright, spiritual and knowledgeable and as Michelle Feeney said: “We know we worth it, we do not need to be told that”. (The Future Laboratory, online video, 2014) Requirement for brands is to embrace them for who they are and change the language of advertisement to very energetic, very focused, very accomplish and very cool 50- year-olds. Brands need to address the fact about Baby Boom generation grow of influential women and if marketers are not going to speak in the rightful language, then somebody else is going to catch this generation’s attention and also get their money. Correct and sincere advertisement will be seen as somebody that Flat-Ager could relate with, not with their granddaughter’s age model.
Bernhard Wilhelm’s Spring/Summer 2014 lookbook (see fig.14, fig.15, fig.16) featured professional actors and producers of Baby Boom generation. Designer’s collections were always quirky and fun, but Spring/Summer 2014 presentation has been upraised by featuring aged models and advocating age-less approach. These models do not look like nowhere and tired of life, vice-versa they have immortal bodies and self-confident, which show that they are equal to 20-something consumers. Furthermore, another good example of celebrating 50+ consumers is advertisement in H&M Group retail store & Other Stories. Recently opened flagship store in London of premium segment fluently blends Millennials and Baby Boomers’ taste for fashion and express their comprehension of target consumer in fashion campaigns and advertisement. Even tough, target consumer is described as young, affluent, metropolitan female shopper, however Baby Boom generation representatives have filled-up the majority of store space. (&Other Stories, visit, 2014) Additionally, & Other Stories released one of many campaigns targeting and celebrating 50+ consumer in February 2014. (see fig.17) From the first sight of viewer wouldn’t be able to notice a disparity between two models featured in brand’s campaign, due to both brands are trendy, stylish, and confident.
However, there is a tiny difference between them – age range, which admittedly has no negative impact on brand’s financial triumph, whereas & Other Stories identify visual definition of Flat-Age Society, which no longer divides personalities by generation. Likewise, Anna-Marie Solowij co-founder of BeautyMART said about true desires of Flat-Age women, “people are starting to talk more about psychographics rather than demographics. The idea of a mind-set rather, than an age or number, something that is more broadly quantifiable”. (The Future Laboratory, online video, 2014) Bernhard Wilhelm’s lookbook idea and & Other Stories campaign fits with Solowij’s age-less description just perfectly!
Cindy Joseph, CEO of BOOM! Pro-age skincare and cosmetics brand, explained what was ageing few decades ago,
“It’s no more either do everything I can to look as young as possible for as long as possible or let myself go. That used to be a choice. You can see when women say, ‘ok, that’s it’ they go to elastic pants, the comfortable shoes, the sort little haircut that’s done at the hair salon everyday. And a lot of women over the age of 50 or 60 started looking alike, because they decided to let themselves go and not care. Well, not anymore. You look at women between ages 50 and 80 and some of them are just dressed up to the nines”. (Future Laboratory, online video, 2014)
FASHIONISTAS AND STYLE DICTATORS
Advanced Style blog as well as recently released documentary film under the same name about real life heroes of extraordinary fashion sense and positivity in age 60 and above. Women appearing in this documentary accurately illustrate Cindy Joseph’s expression ‘dressed up to the nines’. Writer, blogger and photographer of Advanced Style Ari Seth Cohen once said, “these [blog participants] were incredible people and I had to share them with the world”. (Macdonald, website, 2014) While youth has always been synonymous with beauty and style, Cohen has proved that aging has got nothing on some women. Baby Boomers as a demographic group have a heck of a lot to offer as according to Lynn Dell Cohen, one out of seven main characters’ from Advanced Style documentary, “people are living longer and we’re not going to hide in the bushes”. (Sauers, website, 2014) Joyce Carpati, who is frequent subject in Ari Seth Cohen’s blog, has also made appearance at Parisian high fashion house Lanvin Autumn/Winter 2012 campaign. Legendry fashion photographer Steven Meisel involvement gave an extra kick and media’s attention for campaign, nevertheless the most talked subject was about 81-year-old Joyce Carpati, who was wearing deep toned emerald Lanvin dress. (see fig.18) Joyce described her model debut as an unplanned turning point in hers administrative assistant maths professor career in NYU, “I’m not afraid. That’s what age can do for you. It gives you a freedom! I don’t care. I must sound outrageous to you, do I? I’m free”. (Sauers, website, 2014)
In addition, Lanvin campaign was not the last modelling role Carpati had a change to participate. In 2013 she made appearance in another fashion campaign, this time it happen to be Karen Walker’s Forever eyewear. Along with Carpati campaign have involved three Fashionistas from Advanced Style too, Lynn Dell Cohen, Ilona Royce Smithkin and Linda Rodin. (see fig.19) Designer Karen Walker explained why she have chosen to turn spotlight on these ladies, “what I’ve always loved about Ari’s images, and his ladies, is the sense of looking to the future rather than the past. There’s an optimism and excitement for the moment in his women that I applaud.” (Gilles, website, 2013)
These sharp-dressed Fashionistas might look slightly over-the-top for certain members of our society and have just a few 50-plus women, who would dare to dress analogously.
Cindy Joseph considers herself as a little more natural.
“I don’t do the whole changing and dressing-up. I feel like if I did, I would be in the costume”, she said. Notwithstanding, Joseph added, “ I love seeing other women do it. So we all pick and choose.” (Future Laboratory, online video, 2014)
Linda Rodin is the greatest example of effortless chic style. Maybe this is why designer twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsens’ chose her to adorn The Row pre-fall collection. Ari Seth Cohen once again complimented Olsens’ decision and told Elle magazine,
It’s wonderful to see them taking a further step in celebrating age and timeless style by casting the effortlessly cool and classic Linda Rodin. Hopefully one day brands will realise that their customer bases reach beyond the young and thin and open their advertising and marketing plans to more diversity.”
From many previously mentioned campaigns featuring 50-plus models it could be perceived that fashion industry is aware and observes ageing consumers’ trend as well as moving faster than health and travel luxury industries. What about beauty brands? Are they aware enough and speaking with aged consumers in truthful language? Michelle Feeney, former CEO of PZ Cussons Beauty, expressed her opinion about beauty industry marketing,
“We’re a powerful group of women, not just because we have the spending power but we know ourselves, we kind of happy with ourselves and we happy with the place we at. But nobody is speaking to us in beauty industry apart from quite patronising manner.” (The Future Laboratory, online video, 2014)
In beauty industry 50-plus women are seen as consumers with skincare problems and they are always getting messages about anti-ageing. Cindy Joseph made a crystal clear expression about anti-ageing message in the media,
“This anti-ageist message that life goes up-hill to a certain point it hits some imaginary crescendo called prime of life and the it’s down-hill from there. And that starts around 30 years old? So the average life length 76, we’re over 30 years old a larger percentage of our life then we’re under 30. And it’s down-hill from there for most of our life? It’s an absurd notion!”
Nowadays media is crowded with anti-age slogans, which are promoting and spending enormous amounts of money on advertising in order to send a message that nobody wants to hear. It could be suggested that many beauty brands representatives, from creative directors or marketers to sales advisors, see themselves as a group of people, who make decisions and direct consumer to do whatever it is useful for them. Yet, it is different – consumer will always be the person, who make a decision, for instance Baby Boomers are the least expected to be influenced by advertising. (Huber and Skidmore, 2003, p.36) Branding in cosmetics and skincare industries has to be changed in order to attract headstrong, their own decision-making generation of rebels – Baby Boomers. As mentioned before, fashionista Linda Rodin is not only known as a model, but also is prominent for launching skincare line, which was a natural extension to her own lifestyle. The most popular product is face oil Olio Lusso invented in her bathroom for own consumption, while she was mixing essential oils, which were purchased in healthy food stores. Rodin began handing out small vials of the oil to models, photographers and celebrities on the photo shoots she had styled. That is how skincare brand called Rodin originated. Linda has never made any false claims about her products, “It makes your skin radiate naturally,” she said. “It’s not going to take away wrinkles. There’s no miracle cream – if there was, we’d all have it.” (Adams, website, 2014)
Rodin is not only one, who have established beauty brand less than six years ago, but there are also competing brand-pioneers of organic and eco-friendly skincare products in beauty industry delivering correct messages and speaking in the right language with 50-plus consumers. Aesop is one of them. Even though, cosmetics brand have been founded in 1987, however it have only received his recognition just a few years back by introducing shorts videos about culture, know-how-to videos featuring Aesop products and most importantly drawing in consumers into the process. According to official brand’s webpage description about values and sustainability
“Committed to using both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients of the highest quality and proven efficacy – particularly those with the greatest anti- oxidant properties.We value all human endeavours undertaken with intellectual rigour, vision, and a nod to the whimsical. Every Aesop product is made with the same attention to detail we believe should be applied to life at large, taking into consideration a diversity of needs as well as seasonal and environmental conditions.”(Aesop.com, website, 2014)
Iain McCallum, head of Press and PR in Tiger Aspect Productions, who is also a Baby Boomer and regular shopper as well as an outstanding example of Aesop target customer. “My bathroom cupboards are filled with Aesop bottles, from shave creams to bath oils and beyond”, he said (Prakapaite, focus group, 2014) Moreover, McCallum admires brand’s aesthetics and packaging design, “It hits all the boxes for me. From professional PR side view, Aesop branding agents do remarkable work combining fantastic skincare range with chic pharmacy-feeling packaging design”, he admitted. (Prakapaite, focus group, 2014)
To sum up, fashion and beauty industries are the same as before – still obsessed by youth. For a few decades older consumers were invisible and rarely chosen as target audience in retail. Industry has to wake up and smell the coffee! Flat-Agers are alive as well as they earn money and spend money. Targeting and selling to 50-plus women, should not be questioned and look at it as unattractive branding idea. Advanced Style blog and documentary proof that chronological age is becoming completely irrelevant and passion for beauty and fashion exists beyond 20-years old hipsters. Baby Boomers love customer service, a shopping space where they could receive fashion advice and feel like they are making their own decisions too. Brick will always be warmer to them, than a click as well as celebration of age without squeezing this huge audience out. Advertisers and marketers often forget fact that quarter of United Kingdom’s population is people over 50 and this age group will continue to grow within next two decades. At the moment 50-plus women are bombarded with negative anti-ageing messages in beauty campaigns. What really costumer want is experiencing age-less approach and be treated the same way as everyone else. Flat-Age Society is a group of people that ignores exterior signs of ageing, and sees a broader picture of endless possibilities. Finally, Royce Smithkin had expressed brilliant point about Flat-Age society,
“When you get older, you don’t have to have everything. You don’t have to go to every party. Life goes on just the same. When I was younger, if there were six parties, I thought I had to go to every one or I’d miss something. But now, every day living is a party.” (Sauers, website, 2014)