Aging and advertising

Adam Krátký

Communication & Mass Media Department

The world of advertising agencies is an ever-changing and intriguing one. Many of us have watched Mad Men, and while this series is not a documentary, it does give us an insight into what the advertising world is all about – challenges, deadlines, and the pressure of knowing that "you must deliver and deliver on time!“

The world of advertising agencies is an ever-changing and intriguing one. Many of us have watched Mad Men, and while this series is not a documentary, it does give us an insight into what the advertising world is all about – challenges, deadlines, and the pressure of knowing that "you must deliver and deliver on time!“

To me, advertising has always been a world that carefully balances business and art. Lean too much to either side, and you will fall and fail. During my years in advertising I've learnt two rules that always work: Be simple, stay relevant. 

Simplicity is something that I would not stress about too much about in this day and age — oversimplification is a greater risk. However, remaining relevant seems to be harder. Your ad must be relevant to the brand, and to the target audience. While respecting the personality and style of a given brand is generally not too difficult, becoming relevant to the target audience seems to be the greatest challenge of all. 

One aspect in particular deserves close attention. Local ad agencies, in my experience, still tend to employ young, skilled, and trendy individuals. Yes, they are eager to prove themselves, do not mind working insane hours (no families yet) and can be true trendsetters – but our population is aging, and will continue to do so. How difficult is it for a person aged 25-30 to relate to someone 50+? How can these young guns create relevant messages for aging consumers? It is surprising that so few ad agencies have picked up on this. 

However, some agencies and individuals are rising to the challenge. Ogilvy & Mather is slowly building an international reputation as a serious and skilled agency. For example, they prefer business wear for their employees, even the creatives. In Melbourne, Evergreen Advertising and Marketing specializes on targeting the older population, and this is reflected by their corporate identity, and the age and experience of their staff. So far they have been very successful. 

It will be interesting to see when this trend of specialized ad agencies picks up here in Central Europe, and when the brands themselves realize the need for this. After all, winning a new customer costs approximately ten times more than retaining a current one.

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