Founded Blog, Founded Thinking | January 31, 2019

Middle aged ‘til I die

By Maria McHugh, Planning Partner

Middle aged til' I die

“Middle aged ‘til I die!” This was a direct quote from a 58-year-old man in our research, who rather neatly summed up the defiance of today’s 50 somethings, who are defying the stereotypes that our industry still peddles about them.

Founded has conducted over 100 hours of ethnographic work with the younger end of the over-50s demographic (50-64s) who total 12.5m. Seven in ten of them are working. Facing later state pension age and inadequate private pension pots, many will need to sustain longer working lives. Staying in the game is everything and they are redefining this stage of life as they go. They are no longer the young old. They are the extended middle-agers.

We believe that marketers are leaving money on the table by failing to make meaningful connections with them. Leaning into existing desk research with this cohort is particularly dangerous, because they are so rapidly re-writing the rules of what being 50-64 looks and feels like.

Founded’s ‘Middle aged ‘til I die’ report exposes the disconnect that can happen when marketing and communication strategies take a blanket 50+ approach, lean too heavily into 50+ stereotypes, or ignore this audience altogether.

There are implications here for two types of marketers: those with brands that have a specific focus on more mature consumers, and those with broadly appealing brands that are ignoring this demographic.

With things changing and being redefined so rapidly for this audience, the tectonic plates are shifting, and opportunities for brands to play new roles for this generation are going to continue to open up. This presents an exciting opportunity for brands to consider the role that they could play for a new middle-aged generation that is trying to negotiate unprecedented challenges and opportunities.

Want to know more? if you want to learn more about Founded’s study and how we can help you make your brand more relevant to today’s extended middle agers.