Ketchum launches practice targeting consumers 50 and older

Nearly 90% of consumers ages 50 years and up are open to try new brands.

Photo via Ketchum
Photo via Ketchum

NEW YORK: Ketchum has launched a specialty unit called 50+ to help clients engage with consumers aged 50-years-old and up after finding that this segment is often overlooked by marketers.

The Omnicom Group agency found from its 50 ReMovement Study, which includes online responses from 1,000 people ages 50 and older in the US last December, that 89% of this generation is open to trying new brands, despite misconceptions of being resistant to change.

"The well-known trend that the target audience is a Millennial has escalated. On a good day, if the target is not a Millennial, then the cut off is 54 [years old]," said Ketchum partner, chief strategy and creativity officer Karen Strauss.

Two of the reasons cited for this demographic’s openness to new brands are changing priorities (33%) and lifestyles (29%), the study shows.

Andrea Barish, SVP of strategic and creative planning at Ketchum, who co-leads the 50+ practice with Strauss, said the 50-plus consumer segment usually goes through a lot of personal change, both physically and emotionally. These changes cause men and women to reevaluate their needs and values, which is why they’re prone to introduce new brands and products into their lives – a trend that Ketchum has coined as the 50+ ReMovement.

"We were looking at how brands react to that, how or if they are fulfilling these needs, and what we can do to help our clients connect better with this target audience," Barish explained.

To help companies connect with ReMovement, Ketchum 50+ is working with, an online community for women 45 years and up, as well as consulting firm maslansky + partners, which has expertise with the 50-plus segment.

Ketchum is working with a number of clients on the ReMovement trend, including Pfizer for women’s health issues and Liberty Mutual, said Strauss.

Another key finding from the survey is that only 26% of 50-plus Americans claim to be loyal to specific travel and hospitality brands or consumer packaged goods, with even fewer devoted to energy companies (24%) or fashion brands (13%).

Also, less than half (45%) of this segment, which AARP says is comprised of 109 million Americans, are part of a brand loyalty program, while 27% say they’re always looking to try new brands.

Strauss said most campaigns in the US are targeted at either old or young people, while in Europe, initiatives have more of an "ageless mentality."

"We took that as one more reason to build this competency now," she added. "We predict there will be an explosion of awareness on the part of marketers that they’re leaving money on the table by ignoring this group, and we want to be ahead of the curve."

Through the study, Ketchum has identified 10 key ways for brands to authentically engage the 50-plus segment (see infographic).

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