Advertising group Grey London put its name to good use last month
when it became the first major UK agency to target the over-50s.
Launching an offshoot dedicated to the older sector, chief executive
Steve Blamer said: ’The opportunity has been created by a gap so wide
you could drive a truck through it.’
The UK advertising industry spends less than 10 per cent of its total
budget targeting the older sector, but advertising groups are waking up
to its potential.
The over-55 age group is growing so fast that by 2020 it will make up a
third of the population, according to government forecasts. As the
advertiser’s favourite growth sector, the 15- to 34-year-old market,
begins to wane, the ’greys’ will take over as the fastest growing
audience. By 2025, 36 per cent of the population will be over 55, while
the 15-34 category will fall back to just 23 per cent.
Research by French group Senioragency, which is teaming up with Grey to
launch the division, shows that this older generation is also a
lucrative one. They have more money than younger consumers, more time to
spend it and are active consumers of media.
In fact, in terms of television viewing, this sector watches for longer
each week than any other. The graph indexes the age groups’ average
number of minutes viewed each week against all adults viewing, which is
indexed as 100. By this index, the average number of minutes viewing by
the all adults category is 1,624 per week. The only age categories to
watch for longer are the 55-64 age group and the 65-plus age group.
Their viewing habits are traditional: last year the over-55s spent 31
per cent of their total viewing time watching BBC 1 and 33 per cent
watching ITV; only 7 per cent of their viewing went to cable, satellite
and digital, compared with 17 per cent among the 15-34s.
This loyalty has prevented advertisers from targeting the sector in the
past but could work in favour of the BBC and ITV as the fragmentation of
media continues to threaten their audience base.