Those of us who are middle-aged or even older increasingly are being left out of the mindset of most of the rest of the population.

We increasingly are being shunted aside; ignored by most of our politicians and by economists’ calculations about the future of our economy.

It should be noted that approximately 12 per cent of Canada’s population is at least 55 years old. That compares with about the same percentage of our population between 25 and 34. Hence, it is surprising that so much our attention is focused the younger categories.

Marketers nowadays have decided that they must be more inclusive so the media attention increasingly is on minority groups of every description.

The aging boomers no longer are millennial. The research firm Nielsen reported that boomers, even the older ones, had enormous spending power; about 50% of the spending is on packaged goods, but only is targeted by 15% of advertisers’ budgets .Too, the household income of the older segment was above that of the millennial.

While some advertisers have taken notice of older people – mainly those involved in health care and financial services that always targeted older people – marketing firms are waking up to a new group and recognizing those older, would-be consumers.

Furthermore, brand loyalty appears to be fading in favour of genetics products, so there is an opening for advertisers to try to lure all elements of the population.

It is inferred that nearly everyone wants to look younger, even the older segment of the population; that explains the obsession with younger people. Most brands want to be perceived as youthful. Yet, older people still control much of the economy’s spending power.

Our youth-obsessed advertisers are beginning to let older people creep into the picture. It has seemed that advertisers forget that older people want to have fun. Older people feel that they been considered as invisible, but that is changing.

Furthermore, politicians have started to broaden their appeal. Ontario is considering a supplementary pension plan and the election of Justin Trudeau, to an important extent, reflected our youth obsession. We seldom hear about older candidates.

Yet in Europe Chancellor Adenauer was 69 when last elected, De Gaulle became president of France when he was 69, and Ronald Reagan was re-elected at 74. Mitchell Sharp became a close adviser to Prime Minister Chretien in his late 60s.

In other societies older people are treated with great respect. It is to be expected that our fixation with youth will fade as all of us age.



Bruce Whitestone