If You're Over Forty You Might As Well Be Dead

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Last week in his monologue, late night host Craig Ferguson went on and on and on and, yea, on about youth and advertising and how marketers all got together in the 50's and 60's to "deify" youth, put it up on a pedestal and focus all their advertising on that particular age group.

He goes on to explain how youth became the most important thing, how everyone wants to be young and how stupid that is because, well, the young are inexperience and, therefore, stupid. And how that deification of youth made being young fashionable which, of course, resulted in a bunch of idiots running around doing anything and every thing to be young no matter how old they were.

Of course, this is still true today. Youth is glorified in pop culture and in advertising to the extent that, in the marketing world, anyone over the age of 49 might as well be living in a nursing home with snot drooling out of their nose.

It's really quite humorous when you step back and take a close look at just how much youth is glorified. It's no wonder many people over 40 feel irrelevant. Correction. Actually most "old" people don't feel irrelevant. Not at all. It's the marketers that think they're irrelevant. And it's no surprise. When was the last time you saw someone in an ad agency over the age of forty? Youth has been glorified so much, it's become pointless - even a detriment - to employ an "old person" in an ad agency becasue, well, they are uncool, socially inept and culturally clueless.

This is is why most of the few ad campaigns that do focus on "old" people seem so detached and out of touch (to the old person). After all, what, really does a 25 year old have in common with a 45 or 55 year old?

Oh sure, demographic and market research points even the youngest art director in a creative direction that, ideally, should be well received by an "old" person. The trouble is, no amount of research can replace the experience of having lived through a particular demographic segment of life. This is why we get ads that your mother looks at and exclaims, "What the hell is this ad trying to say to me. This is just dumb."

This, sadly, is why hip and cool are seen as more important than wisdom and experience.

by Steve Hall    Jul-25-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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