Marketing to Women: There’s A New Attitude to Age in Fashion Advertising

July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

76e060497e162287b020886ac51d2ef5What happened to fashion’s love affair with youth? Are we finally acknowledging the beauty of older women? There seems to be a new attitude towards style at any age. Cher is the latest in a string of new celebrity endorsers for brands like Marc Jacobs that include interesting older women in their ads like 93-year-old Iris Apfel, 69-year-old Helen Mirren, 65-year-old Jessica Lange, and 63-year-old Angelica Huston. It seems that brands are embracing the buying power of older women.

Kate Spade featured 93-year-old legend Iris Apfel in her recent fashion campaign. Fashion house Celine launched a flare with their Spring 2015 campaign using 80-year old author Joan Didion. Helen Mirren, 69, and Twiggy, 65, are brand ambassadors for L’Oreal. Catherine Deneuve, 71, models for Louis Vuitton, Jessica Lange, 65, for Marc Jacobs and Angelica Huston, 63, for Gap.

Millennials seem to have a fascination not only with vintage clothes but with the older woman and her style. My daughter introduced me to the blog and documentary Advanced Style that has become a bit of a phenom among younger women. The work focuses on sartorially adventurous women who are fashion plates of a certain age.

Why are major brands betting on these faces? There is a universal acknowledgement that wealthier older women are more likely to purchase high-end goods. Just like Baby Boomers have changed culture at every age, they continue to have an impact as they enter their older years. Baby boomers control more than 80% of all financial assets and account for as much as 60% of consumer spending. Brands are embracing the buying power of older women. Consumers of a certain age like to see the “best” of their generation and aspire to look as good as Helen Mirren or Jessica Lange.

The 55+ set have their place in all types of shopping including the television shopping channels.  Iris Apfel has her own line of jewelry on HSN, Iman has her unique fashion line on HSN and Joan Rivers, even after death, continues to have a presence on QVC. Not surprising, HSN reports their average buyer is someone who knows what she wants. A lot of the women who are frequenting these television retailers are professional women, buying while they’re at work, browsing online at the office. QVC and HSN shoppers are more affluent consumers, and they are also repeat buyers. Most of them buy about ten times a year, so they’re loyal.   Our postman told my husband that once a QVC package lands on a doorstep, there are many to follow.

While brands may not exclusively rely on older style mavens, some reported they are instituting a multi-generational approach, while they also embrace a multi-size approach.

Age seems to be relative these days.  It’s more about how we feel than our chronological age. Maybe we are now accepting age as a sign of confidence and self-assuredness. It is a good thing to have matured into an interesting and beautiful being.

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