Car ads annoy over-50 market, survey says

Car manufacturers are being accused of wasting millions on ad campaigns that fail to communicate with the older consumers who make up the majority of their customers.

New research among people aged 50 and over claims they find much car advertising silly, irritating and annoying, with Publicis' "Va va voom" campaign for Renault singled out for particular criticism.

But the intrigue of Wieden & Kennedy's Honda work is proving a hit, along with the Ogilvy & Mather "Engineered to last" campaign for Ford, which is seen as meaningful.

The verdicts came from a survey of motorists aged 52 to 75 years old, which was carried out on behalf of Millennium, which specialises in marketing to mature consumers.

The research concluded that people over 50, who account for more than two-thirds of all private new car sales in the UK, find much car advertising a turn off.

They believe too much of it is directed at young, "flash" drivers or at would-be buyers of people carriers. They hate the fashion for abstract images and want car ads to give them more actual facts.

"Buying triggers of the over-50s are value and benefit - attributes that also appeal to those in their 30s and 40s," the report said.

However, some of those questioned claimed much car advertising was so poor it was causing them to wonder if there was something wrong with the models advertised.

But Gerry Moira, Publicis' executive creative director, hit back at criticism of Renault's ads. "It is nonsense," he said. "'Va va voom' has been researched among people of all ages and the scores have been fantastic."