'Older' agencies scale down activities

Specialist agencies set up to target Britain's growing number of

over 45s are scaling down their activities in the wake of continuing

disinterest by advertisers in the market.

Prime, a creative and marketing consultancy set up to service clients

wanting to reach older consumers, has relaunched itself as a

business-to-business operation. It blames clients' failure to make

long-term commitments.

Steve Martyn, Prime's managing partner, said: "We still see the grey

market as an opportunity but we won't fall on our sword and die for


Meanwhile, Senioragency, the over-50s specialist agency which extended

its European presence to London 18 months ago in a joint venture with

Grey, has reduced its UK offering to specialist planning function.

Both agencies were set up to capitalise on what was seen as a

communications breakdown between older consumers and advertisers.

An obsession with youth was cited as the reason why the ad industry had

turned its back on more than 19 million Britons aged over 50, who

control 40 per cent of consumer spending worth pounds 145 billion a


But Prime's work has been restricted to modest assignments, including

one for the Anchor Trust, a housing association for older people, and

The Daily Telegraph, which commissioned research into the effect of the

advertising it was carrying on older readers.

Now the agency has relaunched itself under the name Seriously


Reg Starkey, its creative director, said: "We have to follow where the

business leads us - and business to business has become our major