Category: Advertising and boomers

Clothes for 50+: Where are they?

Okay, clothing retailers, listen up.

I don’t care if you create clothing for the office, the beach, the gym, the couch, or any other use…for women or men…you have some explaining to do.

Why is it that an average-sized woman, let’s say a 10 or 12, goes to the store to try and find something and discovers that suddenly, even the extra large does not fit her?

Or a man who is a bit taller than average and maybe has a normal physique plus a few extra pounds finds himself having to check out the big or “hefty” section?

Half frame003bWhere are the clothes that fit us…those of us who are not size 2? Are there really millions of people so pencil-thin they can wear skin-tight clothing and smile?

Odd. I sure don’t see them at the movies.

Or in the grocery store.

Or walking their dogs.

Or in a business meeting.

What I do see is a whole generation of people over 50 who are healthy, active, and yes, probably have a mid-section a bit larger than when they were 25.  Guess what. It happens.

And it’s perfectly okay.

We still need to wear clothes. We’d still like to look nice…attractive…even sexy at times. And we’d like to do it all and still be able to exhale.

So where are we supposed to go for an outfit?

I find it most annoying when I’m trying to find so-called “active wear” that actually lets me be active without passing out from strangulation. You know, loose pants for yoga. Soft, breathable materials for T-shirts that have actual sleeves. Exercise shorts that don’t cut off circulation.

I mean, like many boomers and beyond, I’m trying to tone myself and be stronger…so why are there no clothes that understand this?

Excuse us for living. We’re over 50. We’re a major force when it comes to retail sales.

And we’re getting tired of being ignored.

I have no desire to try and look 25. I don’t have the energy. I celebrate my wrinkles, gray, and extra rolls that come with normal aging. But I also am not ready to cut holes in a gunny sack and head out the door. And sorry, but I know I’m not an extra extra large. And even if I were, I would expect you, Mr. Clothier, to want to help me look as good as I can.  And quite frankly, I think you’re failing.  Because most of the clothes I see that I guess are aimed at me are  either unwearable, or flat-out ugly.

And this whole skinny jeans craze is not a healthy message to women or men….to look so thin that you disappear. To be ashamed you can’t get in a size zero. (Now if you are very thin naturally, or you are struggling with an eating disorder, God bless you. You also deserve to look as good as possible. But that’s not the point here.)

wi9yf7kTQxCNeY72cCY6_Images of Jenny Lace Plasticity Publish (4 of 25)I call upon all the brands….Nike, REI, Liz Claiborne, Charter Club, Everlast, Prana, and others, as well as men’s fashions…don’t ignore us. Don’t ask us to be something we’re not.  Go out on a limb and come up with some “active boomer” clothes….and I don’t mean what June and Ward Cleaver wore. I’m talking comfort.  Style.  And realistic sizes.

Help us want to be seen. So we can exercise. Travel.  Laugh.  Live.  And yes, spend money on your products.

We’re rocking the wrinkle.  You can too.  And you’ll be glad you did.

“Never wear anything that panics the cat.”

     P.J. O’Rourke

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Boomers are buying—are advertisers selling?

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Americans over 50 control 77 percent of the total net worth. By 2013, half of the populations of Germany, Italy and Japan will be over 50.

We travel. Buy more than 65% of new cars. Dine out in restaurants several times a week. Own computers, cell phones and surf the web. We like convenience and appreciate quality. We value things that make our lives less complicated.

.wi9yf7kTQxCNeY72cCY6_Images of Jenny Lace Plasticity Publish (4 of 25)

Yet when we turn on the television or flip a page in a magazine, we rarely see any advertising aimed at us—except for messages that remind us we’re getting older. Or that poke fun at how out-of-touch we supposedly are.

Aging is fine. I’m more than okay with that. In fact, I have no desire to be 25 again. Because if I were, I would not have been around to see The Beatles arrive. Experienced the thrill of seeing John Glenn climb out of Friendship 7 after orbiting the earth. Or violated copyright laws by sitting on the floor with Silly Putty and copying comics from the Sunday funny papers.

Older, yes, but not old. Inside, most of us haven’t changed that much.

Bob Hoffman, author of 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising, has some sage observations about marketing to those of us over 50 in a recent issue of AARP Bulletin. He says, “Older people want to be youthful, but they do not want to be like young people. The way to influence older consumers is to take the time and trouble to understand them. But marketers are too lazy and too obsessed with youth to bother with this.”

Interesting. Especially when you consider that we boomers and our parents watch more live television than younger adults. We tend to read more as well, whether it’s an honest-to-goodness newspaper in your hands or a three-page letter imploring us to save the whales. And more than 27 million people over the age of 55 are engaged in some form of social networking.

 

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So if we’re the ones willing to take the time to take in the information, why is no one talking to us?

A few are. Mostly, they are the ones that realize that once a person passes the 50+ mark, he or she doesn’t suddenly lose the ability to know what’s hot or cool. And more importantly, the boomer consumer continues to be interested in pursuing a life that’s rewarding, enjoyable and free of stress—and, with considerably more disposable income than the average millennial—is a target that marketers should acknowledge.

There are a few advertisers and advertisements that I think do a good job of reaching out to multiple age groups without making us feel like we aren’t invited to the party. For instance, GAP’s ad showing Angelica Huston. REI’s television spot featuring a multi-aged group of hikers caught in a rainstorm. Harley Davidson is a 100-year old brand that knows its market and successfully keeps them connected over the years through events, reunions and rallies.

What do you think? Do you feel forgotten by mainstream advertising? Have you remained loyal to specific brands? We have the numbers, the interest and the clout to shake things up a bit…or as I prefer to say, rock the wrinkle! Maybe it’s time we put our mouth where our money is.

 

 

 

“Any fool can know.  The point is to understand.”     Albert Einstein 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 things boomers shouldn’t have to deal with anymore.

We made it. We’re older. More mature. More experienced. We’re 50 and better and we’ve earned the right to not have to waste our time with certain things, right?

Right!

Here’s my take on what we should not have to do anymore:

Show our ID every time we do anything. Hey, we’ve been here, don’t you know us? We lived here before this store was even built. Seriously do you really think we’re giving you a stolen credit card or bad check? Don’t these gray hairs get us anything?

Eat boiled turnips. I consider these an element of torture, invented by an angry Mayan society that lived under rocks and only came out when the smell of boiled turnips was more than they could stand.

tEREUy1vSfuSu8LzTop3_IMG_2538Be embarrassed about going to bed on a weekend before 10 p.m. We know we can stay up. But why? We’re tired. We’ve lived a long and exciting life. Now we relish in the joy of extra rest. Nothing beats it. And besides, we get up earlier than you and see all kinds of things you never see cause you’re sleeping in.

Be polite when you’re acting like a jerk. Enough already. We’ve gone through our years when we plastered a smile on our face and endured rude clients, inappropriate jokes in the workplace, disgusting comments from service station attendants (look it up), and off-color remarks at the game. It’s not funny. It never was. And now, we can just give “the look” and go on.

Travel with people we don’t want to travel with. Sorry, but no more. Life is short. There’s so much to see. A good night’s sleep is precious. So it’s okay if you snore, gargle too loud, complain all the time, and snap at waiters. But don’t expect us to share a room with you for even one night. We’ve learned the joy of experiencing new cultures, and we cherish our adventures. You’ll get there some day.

 Prejudice, racism, intolerance, or just plain stupidity. You have the right to your opinion as well as the right to express it. But we don’t have to listen, much less agree. The longer you are on this planet, the more you will realize how we are all spirits, more alike than not, and inventing reasons to hate one another just doesn’t cut the muster. Trust us, there’s really nothing new under the sun. Read a book. (PLEASE.) Watch PBS. Turn off the crap that passes for news on certain channels and deal in facts, not bizarre opinions. We all can step back and take a moment before rushing to judgment about anyone, no matter the situation.

Humidity. Really! Don’t you think it should be a law that wherever we are, the humidity should be lower? Haven’t we sweated enough?

Be served boxed macaroni.  Enough said.

Drive behind people who don’t know how to drive.  Don’t start with us.  We’ve been behind untold numbers of people who signal a turn and then drive 35 miles, never signal, swing out to make a left turn, and brake for no apparent reason…scores and scores more than  than you have.  One day, you can complain.  Not yet.

Be ignored.  You see us.  You know we are here.  So be civil.  Acknowledge us.  Look us in the eye.  Talk to us like we’re an actual person.  Show us some respect.  This goes for individuals, advertisers, waiters, and anyone else we run into.  We might have something you want, like a pearl of wisdom.  Or a really great tip…if we get great service.

I’m sure your list is just as long, feel free to share. It’s time we boomers and beyond asserted our rights! Rock the Wrinkle!!

“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

     Confucius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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