Ageism in business

I’ve written about this subject a number of times but it’s worth repeating, ageism is the last ‘ism’. It is rife in our world today and it’s having a direct, negative impact on business.

This excellent article titled The Ageism in Advertising, should be required reading for all consumer marketers and advertising folks as they roll-up their sleeves for work in 2019.

The article cites various research to support its case but I’ve summarised some of the findings for impact;

Ageism in Advertising

  • People over 50 years of age represent just 6% of the advertising industry workforce compared with 22% in finance, 28% in medicine, 30% in science and 35% in law
  • 42% of advertising, marketing, media and PR employees have witnessed ageism towards a colleague
  • 32% have experienced ageism themselves
  • 79% of industry employees agree that the industry is ageist

Ageism in Marketing

To put it bluntly, the over 50s are the most valuable generation in the history of marketing.

The ageism in advertising

The over 50s account for the majority of value in many categories. Reflecting similar ratios from other developed markets, in the UK the 50-plus market accounts for:

The ad industry treats those over 50 as creatively exhausted, yet they dominate the world’s most coveted creative awards.

In his article Why Do Marketers Hate Old People?, Bob Hoffman put it beautifully; “Marketers, it seems, would rather pander fruitlessly to young people than make real money selling things to old people. The idea of people over 50 driving their cars, drinking their coffee, eating their hamburgers, and wearing their sneakers is so appalling and such an embarrassment that they wilfully ignore and disparage the most valuable economic group in the history of the world.”

With so much talk these days around the injustices of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination, isn’t it about time we confronted the last ‘ism’?

Morals aside, from a purely business point of view, it would be reckless not to address the issue of ageism among your customers and employees.