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What Upsets You Most About Marketing for Seniors?

Ok, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Marketing for seniors is tough. For starters, the term “seniors” covers a huge age range. You could argue that 20 years ago most people over 60 had similar lives. No more!

It’s not just that people are living longer. People over 60 have vastly different experiences and perspectives. I know 80-year-olds who still go to the gym every day and enjoy canoeing with their grandkids. On the flip side, I know women in their early 60s who want nothing more than to sit in from of the TV.

In addition, seniors have a huge range of passions. Some of us like to engage in activities that are traditionally associated with older people, like knitting or playing bingo. There’s nothing wrong with these activities, by the way! At the same time, many people over 60 are skydiving, going back to school, starting businesses and traveling the world.

All that said, it occurs to me that not all mistakes, when it comes to marketing for seniors, are excusable. I’d like to share a few of my own personal pet peeves. Then, I’d love you to share your own in the comments section.

Hopefully, we can give some useful feedback to the people who are designing advertising campaigns for our demographic.

What Drives You Crazy When it Comes to Marketing for Seniors?

I’ll get the ball rolling with a few of my pet peeves. One thing that I absolutely hate is when an advertisement uses tired stereotypes about people over 60.

The great majority of us are not forgetful. We don’t need our grandkids to show us how to use a keyboard and mouse. I often wish that marketers would represent us as the vibrant, complex people that we actually are.

Another thing that drives me crazy is when advertisers insult our intelligence. You’ve probably seen the online ads that say “Doctor’s hate her! Discover the one weird trick this grandmother used to look 20 years younger.” Really?

Of course, we care about looking and feeling our best, but, we’re not stupid. We know what a 60-year-old body feels like. We live in one every day! No cream is going to make you look 20 years younger. I’m not even sure if most of us would like to look 20 years younger, but, that’s another story.

Finally, I wish that more advertisers would feature realistic looking seniors in their print and TV campaigns. In my opinion, we are more likely to buy something when we can relate to the person in the ad anyway!

I’d love to get your feedback on this.

What do you hate most when it comes to marketing for seniors? Are you annoyed by pictures that don’t represent “real” seniors? Do you dislike being talked down to? Do you think that advertisers treat us like we are stupid? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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