I got a great laugh from a recent The Daily Show segment featuring comedian Kristen Schaal's take on older women as cougars trying to snare younger men. I thought it was even funnier when she labeled older men doing the same as Redenbachers. But really, isn't this all about headlines, stereotypes, and people trying to define some new space in their lives?
As the AARP (client) points out, we are enjoying a longevity bonus of almost 30 years, so can a cougar be an 80-year-old woman with a 60-year-old man? Could she be 50 and him 30? Are they committed to each other? Have fun together? I have great friends who are happily married with a 20-year age difference, the lady of the house being older.
Gawker ran a piece on the segment, and the comments provided interesting fodder. One said, “I think cougar celebrates the power of female sexuality and signals that society has finally accepted that women over age 35 often want the same things that men over age 35 want.” I say that goes for women and men over 50, 60, and 70.
Marketing to empowered women – especially older successful women – requires respect, authenticity, and appealing to life stage and mindset rather than typecasting based on age. Our research shows that a 50-year-old woman living an urban life has more in common with her 30-year-old next-door neighbor than with a grandmother of the same age in middle America.
Eileen Marcus, senior partner, Fleishman-Hillard, and chair of FH Boom, a global practice focused on marketing to Boomers