Why is this perfectly age-neutral product focussing on younger consumers?

It’s hard to get excited about shoe insoles, but I recently spotted this ‘age-neutral’ print ad for Dr Scholl’s GelActiv™ and I thought “how clever that they’ve designed a product for older people but kept it age-neutral”.

That would make perfect sense, right? After all, age brings with it a combination of the 25 effects of ageing* including painful afflictions of the feet, legs and spine. Have you noticed that older people are increasingly wearing to gym trainers and Sketchers to solve their foot pain issues without appearing to be ‘old’?

The headline “Feel comfort in every shoe” is clever in many ways and appeals to a wide audience without singling out an ailment or specific benefit other than comfort.

As we live in an era of unprecedented demographic change where the fastest growing and often the wealthiest segment of population is over 50 years, you’d need to have a really good reason to actively exclude them from any marketing effort and focus on a specific, younger age-segment.

Neither can we ignore the younger consumers, but it should not be an ‘either/or’ choice.  If an ‘attitude’ or ‘customer need’ transcends age, there’s no sensible reason to exclude customers of any age.

Designing the customer experience to accomodate adults young and old, is an art called ‘Lifetime Customer Experience‘.

Old folks need not apply

Excited by this rare find of age-neutral marketing, I did a bit more digging. Sadly my search revealed the typical, out-dated thinking in a TV commercial for the product from Scholl Australia that seems to go out of it’s way to say ‘older folks need not apply‘. See the TVC below.

Furthermore, the supporting website seems to feature many lovely young executive types yet only one person over the age of about 30! That’s Dr William Mathias Scholl, the founder!

Why NOT age-neutral?

All I ask is “why?” Why would you actively exclude older customers? Is this a deliberate ‘ageist’ policy or just pure ignorance of the demographic and economic realities of our time?

Apple sells over 50% of all it’s computers to customers over 50 years of age by simply not excluding them from the design of their products, advertising, website, or in-store presence.

So why not design an age-neutral Lifetime Customer Experience that embraces the consumer needs of young an old who share the common ailment of sore and tired feet!

Wake up Scholl! You have a great product that meets an age-neutral consumer need. Older consumers of today were your younger customers yesterday. They have money, the time to spend it and the physical need for your product. Why are you repelling them?

*As described in our book ‘Marketing to the ageing consumer‘.  Download a free cheat-sheet of the 25 effects of ageing here.