Mike Hosking: It's time the focus was put back on over 50s

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Mar 2020, 4:26PM
Overs 50s account for 34% of the population, they have 59% of the private wealth and access to 49% of the disposable income.

Mike Hosking: It's time the focus was put back on over 50s

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Mar 2020, 4:26PM

One of the oddest things about this industry in which I have played my trade for 38 years has been the ongoing obsession with the 25 to 54s.

That’s called a demographic and the 25 to 54s are your demo gold mine. Occasionally, you’ll see a number like 18 to 39s or 18 to 44s, but 25 to 54 is where the real action has always been at, and I have never understood it.

Because it’s always struck me as patently obvious that people over 50 are where the money is. So why were they so obsessed with 27 year olds?

And every time I enquired there was some far-fetched white board backed pie graph of some BS justifying the 25 to 54 obsession.

Well, blow me down - a report released this week at last exposes the myth.

A company called WPP has done the work in their Secrets and Lies - Ageless and Booming report, and what have they found? 94% over 50s say they don’t like the way brands communicate with them. Overs 50s account for 34% of the population, they have 59% of the private wealth and access to 49% of the disposable income.

Why have they taken this long to work out what has been staring at them in the face for decades? Why have they never, as indeed I have, simply looked at their own personal circumstances and figured it all out?

Why is Newstalk ZB the biggest most successful station in the country? Because it skews 50 plus, it deals with an audience that is involved in news and ideas, and an audience that has money time and comfort.

I sit here at 55 and I look at my circumstances compared to when I was 25. It could not be starker.

I am an advertisers or marketers dream. Not for everything, obviously; I’m not into gaming or drinking coke. But the people who have the money, buy the cars and the trips and the investments and the insurance and the houses - what part of that has been a mystery to the advertising industry?

Why have they been chasing what essentially are kids with nothing but debt and a Friday night to look forward to?

And the reality is being 25 today is not same as being 25 in 1990 when I was that age. In 1990, I was onto at least my second house if not third. I had debt, yes, but was fluid, well paid, going places and had plans.

That part of your life has shifted for many well into their 30s. Just making ends meet is one of life’s major skills and challenges these days.

The luxury of marketers bombarding you with lifestyle choices products and temptations is fantasy. If you go where the money is, go where the money has always been. And that's the part of life when the mortgage is gone, the kids are gone, the savings are growing, the car is a nice one, the holidays are slightly exotic, and the wine is more than 7.99 a bottle.

Extraordinary it needs a report to reveal the bleeding obvious.