Babita Baruah
Feb 01, 2012

Babita's Blog: Sixteen Till I Die

In this month's post, Babita Baruah, vice president and client services director, JWT Delhi, demystifies the age disconnect in advertising

Babita's Blog: Sixteen Till I Die

Vijay Shetty posed a question last evening in his blog “Advertising Ka Kamaal”.

On Aging Ad land Executives and their future.

Set me thinking. And googling. Furiously.

The Gray Hair Phobia, as the Adage mentions, does seem to be creeping in at times.

As more and more brands have 18- 22 as their "bull's eye", even though the brand franchise ranges from 30 plus  to well over 40, clients sometimes want to put faces to FTEs. Actually, age to FTEs.

Seeking a well balanced team with energy and experience.

Agency HR sometimes faces the dilemma of young and happening executives demanding more money, higher designations. Either this or else.

And at times, a few do manage to exact what they want.

Gray Haired heads better keep up with the times and the lingo. Or else they risk being put out to pasture. The industry is getting younger and we can't do without the young Turks.

Or is it really getting younger?

In fact the answer lies in the very briefs we are so good at writing every day. We describe our consumer very vividly.

About the young at heart forty-something.

Age versus Attitude

The Mindset Game

Audio visuals of the target consumer, a montage of Bollywood reels where actors, again well over 40, play their twenty something roles with ease and élan.

We are no different. We lead much younger lives today.

From the brands we like, to the music we listen to, to our gadgets and widgets.

Our relationship dynamics have changed. Dad is the new friend. Mum and daughters share wardrobe and beauty tips.Social media has sliced our age by years. Our status updates and Friends List bear testimony to this.

We dress young, act young and definitely think young. Most of us do.

Yet, in spite of our own "young" lives, we get fidgety and "iffy" and demand for youth groups and youth studies at the drop of a hat.

Segments, charts, bars diving up and down, quali studies with titles like "New Age Youth Understanding" line our digital folders.

We get in young trainees into conference rooms and take copious notes of their "theories" on the new launch. Even take them to meetings with us to show young thinking. So what if what they say comes with scant knowledge of brand and business.

Let’s face it. This perception of Disconnect With Age is our own creation.

Quite a paradox, though, when we look at those in the industry who have always managed to stay relevant. Create impact.

Who have never made mileage points on youth researches. But have enriched the screens and hangouts with contagious ideas and tremendous youth connect. Topping Ad tracks as well as conversations.

The industry poster icons who are well over the invisible retirement line.

They can definitely teach the young brigade and all of us a thing or two about what really works to get both eyeballs and market shares.

The entire debate of age in advertising is therefore meaningless.

The final yardstick is Performance.

Measured by work that raises the bar for the brand.

And not just line shelves with awards.

The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint.

Campaign India