Advertising for grown-ups. (Like us.)


If you’re as fed up as we are about how advertising overlooks more mature women (unless they happen to be called Jane Fonda or Helen Mirren), you’ll be as cheered as we are by research carried out by beauty company Look Fabulous Forever, which proves definitively that advertisers are missing all sorts of tricks when it comes to targeting – well, people like us. (And maybe you.) The glorious tag-line ‘Do I Look Like I Need A Stairlift’ makes us smile. (And trust us: even when one day we may need a stairlift, we’ll be wanting one with a leopard-print seat, not beige wipeable leatherette, thanks.)

Basically, Look Fabulous Forever’s research was carried out by researchers at the London College of Fashion. Of the women polled, 91% revealed they feel represented inaccurately and insufficiently - or downright ignored by advertisers. In an echo of our own feelings, ‘97% said they liked seeing older models or celebrities in adverts, 97% wanted to see older models routinely used in all types of advertising, and 98% wanted to see them used in adverts for beauty products aimed at their age group.’Like us, they’re completely fed up with ads. for – say – anti-ageing creams in which the closest the model’s got to a wrinkle is when she creases her skirt. But it’s not as if we’re all chasing rainbows and desperate to look younger, meanwhile: when asked why they wear makeup, 53% of the women polled reported they wear it to look good and only 2.8% reported wearing it to look younger.

To quote Look Fabulous Forever, ‘The women surveyed commented that they often feel invisible when it comes to advertising. Some said that if they are shown in adverts, it is usually for products they feel they have no need for or that represent negative stereotypes linked to old age, such as stair-lifts, incontinence pads, or hearing aids. The reality of many of today’s older women - engaged, fashion-conscious, digitally savvy, and ageing in a totally different way to the generations before them, is not yet being reflected to them by advertisers.’

And to quote the founder of Look Fabulous Forever, the very-fabulous-indeed Tricia Cusden, ‘When I set up the brand at the age of 65, I had a hunch there would be a lot of older women who felt similar to me –ignored and overlooked by the traditional beauty industry. This hunch has been confirmed, not only by the results of this research, but by the success our brand has had with its positive pro-age message. The survey shows that there is a mismatch between how older women see themselves and how the advertising industry speaks to us.’

Hurrah for Look Fabulous Forever, for putting statistical weight behind the hunch we've had for years. And if you’d like to join us in a little celebration, put the kettle on and take a few minutes to watch the discussion below, on YouTube.

There’s not a Stannah stairlift in sight. Just a bunch of inspiring, wonderful women, voicing thoughts we’ve had for a long time.