A New Age for Ageing

By Charlotte Hurd, on 13th July 2018

In a series of posts we consider buzzwords ‘inclusivity’ and ‘diversity’ and how they are affecting todays consumer 

One of the many interesting things about Iris Apfel (and there are many) is that before she was a fashion icon – or, as she calls herself, a “geriatric starlet” – the former interior designer was 83 years old and over a decade into her retirement when she shot back into stardom featuring in a variety of huge fashion and advertising campaigns.

And with age really becoming nothing but a number – we consider how the boomer generation will affect the retail of our future and what ‘age’ really means to the consumer in its most modern form.


Generational shifts have always had an impact on the consumer and more recently there has been a shifting attitude towards age and ageing as a whole. This shift, which has roots in how brands began to target their advertising, has ultimately been driven by the overwhelming spending power of older consumers.

Compared to their younger counterparts, older shoppers now drive nearly 60% of growth – this is pushing demand for services, products and experiences which address older individuals with both intelligence and creativity.

L’Oréal were one of the first brands to recognise the need to widen their appeal to specifically target this consumer. In May 2016, they teamed up with Good Housekeeping to offer inspirational women over the age of 50 the opportunity to live life to the maximum with skydiving and triathlons.

In the advertising world, Citroën and the late Kate Spade, chose 96-year-old Iris Apfel to front their campaigns proving that both style and beauty have no age limit.

J. Crew also stepped up, introducing their celebratory campaign ‘Style at Any Age’, featuring 65-year-old model, Pia. This campaign created experiences and services which were tailored to this older customer in a credible and effective way encouraging brand loyalty.

A key to satisfying this demographic is good customer service. This increasingly means hiring staff within this age group and with an appetite to spend, businesses should acknowledge this powerful and changing consumer group and ultimately include them.


Click here to read on about diversity and why the zeitgeist for activism has changed the advertising world for the better.

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