Brands love to piggyback on the days. On Doctors Day, a plethora of brands – not just pharmaceuticals but all industries – greeted our doctors. On friendship day, brands went out of their way to celebrate friendships. This Rakshabandhan, everyone from Amazon to Spicejet, injected marketing rupees to promote sibling love. But on World Older Persons Day, August 21, there were only a few weird campaigns celebrating the over 60s.
It is an age-old lament. Why are brands ignoring our seniors? Or even if they weave them into advertising narratives, why is the screening mostly of dependent, lonely and sick people?
“It is true that seniors continue to be viewed from a declining perspective,” says Saumyajit Roy, CEO and co-founder of Emoha Elder Care. “However, the new elder has arrived and arrived in style. Our newest eldest is consuming more e-commerce than ever, spending more time online than ever, and having more disposable income than ever. There is no shortage of these megatrends for brand managers in all segments, from pharmacy to banking, ”he says.
Sanjay Sarma, founder of SSARma Consults, who has been involved with an elderly care brand, agrees that there has been a rather cliché projection of the elderly in pop culture. “Seniors are often relegated to a passive presence where they are only an accessory or portrayed as the epitome of sacrifice and suffering that must always be attended to. “
But as he points out, today’s senior is no longer the predictable, boring and incapable senior who needs assisted living and nothing more. “The current money generation is charming and demanding with specific choices and requirements. Much of it is financially independent with substantial purchasing power, making their own life decisions, ”he says.
However, Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Creative Director of Bang in the Middle, is bluntly honest when he says, “Seniors are generally not a traditional catchment area for brands, unless you have specific products or solutions for them. “
He delves into the reasons why brands don’t see them as their TG (target group). “One – Seniors are very careful. They are not gullible. Especially those who are retired and live off their savings and pensions. They are very careful about spending their money. And they will only spend on the products and services that they really need. “
Also, he says, they will whip their broken products and durable goods until the products stop working. “By default, people’s needs and wants decrease with age. They are no longer famous buyers and customers. They have lost their urge to brag or flash.
In the image portion, Suthan highlights two campaigns that show the elderly in a playful and romantic light – the first a Malayalam campaign by the Payyannur Eye Foundation which shows banter among the elderly in an adult learning classroom. , and another an SBI Life campaign that shows an elderly couple billing and cooing.
But it’s only when a sustainable consumer brand or foodservice brand incorporates seniors into their narrative in fun ways that the narrative will change. Sarma says this is starting to happen. “For example, an elderly person who orders gulab jamun on Swiggy and savor it in one of their advertisements is a positive application of the needs and wants of this group of consumers in our minds,” he says.
But there is certainly more that can be done. As Roy d’Emoha puts it: “A senior now lives between the ages of 15 and 30 past 60 and it is natural to get dressed rather than retire. It is high time that we, sons and daughters, re-imagine our parents and bring a new alternative perspective so that they have a life full of commitment and support. One way to do this, suggests Sanjay Sarma, is to design traditional senior products in a modern and contemporary way. “Audientes is one example: they make DIY hearing aids that are extremely fashionable. The other is to be inclusive in communication – as M&S uses older models in its lingerie ads. Which is very cool. The third is to use the collective wisdom and experience of older people and build more general conversations with the younger generation, whether through commercials, movies or shows. “
Part of the narrative shift actually comes from the busy elderly care segment. Outfits like Emoha, Evergreen Club, Columbia Pacific Communities, project older people as active, independent and fun people – although they also talk about their loneliness. But more general segments need to be inclusive in their approach to older people. Especially since projections indicate that there will be more than 319 million elderly people in India by 2050 according to the Longitudinal Study on Aging of India, compared to 120 million currently. But Roy is hopeful. “I was fortunate enough to be part of an expert committee from the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, responsible for setting up a 100 crore fund for senior care startups . ” The fact that there were over 500 submissions is encouraging.