Life

I’m Almost Out of the Preferred Age Group for Advertisers

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When advertisers buy ads on television, there’s often a preferred age group they target. This will be my last year in that group!

Most of the time, it’s those even-decade birthdays — 30, 40, 50 and 60 in particular — that tend to worry people. A birthday that falls toward the middle of a decade shouldn’t be much of a concern. But I realize that, at least from a TV ratings perspective, this is my last year of being a golden child. That’s because one year from now, I will graduate from the preferred age group. More on that in a moment.

First, let me point out that, yes, my birthday happens to fall on Thanksgiving Day this year. Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November. That isn’t a fixed date.

Every five or six years or so, my birthday just so happens to hit on that fourth Thursday. It will next happen in 2028. I try not to overdo it with food on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll still try this year. But with a holiday and a birthday on the same day, I figure if I do over-indulge a little, I at least have an excuse.

Now, back to our story. I was telling you that this is my last year being part of a preferred age group as far as advertisers are concerned. That group, they tell us, is 25 to 54.

Why is 25-54 the preferred age group? It’s complicated

In a nutshell, it comes down to spending habits and brand loyalty. The conventional thinking long held that people younger than 25 weren’t loyal enough to target in advertising. They don’t worry as much about which brand to buy. Instead, they worry about what product will get the job done for the best price.

Advertisers claim research indicates that by the time people reach age 55 or so, they’ve made their decision about which brand they like. They’re willing to stick with that brand unless something goes really wrong.

But it’s the group in between, they claim, who’s willing to try something new if they hear a convincing argument. So they feel they can make more headway with that middle crowd than the older crowd, who already made up their minds about what they want. And they think they can make more headway with the younger crowd, who they think won’t commit to anything one way or the other.

Yes, I’m giving you generalizations. But I base those on the typical arguments I’ve heard the whole time I’ve worked in television.

I tend to be more brand-loyal than most middle-rangers, I think. I would even say I’m more brand-loyal than people much older than I am.

But in this post-COVID economy, when things are still priced too high, brand loyalty can take a back seat to the budget.

As the television landscape further splinters with various streaming services competing with broadcast and cable, it’ll eventually be easier to see who’s watching. It’ll eventually be easier to target ads to specific age groups in narrower ranges.

Until then, for one more year, I’ll try to remind myself that to some media buyers, I’m still somewhat important.

Next year, I’ll not only move up to the “older” demographics, I’ll be eligible to receive “senior discounts” at many businesses. I think I’ll need at least a year to wrap my brain around that.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.