Not Your Grandfather’s Advertising

Throughout the Asia Pacific region, brands are understanding the need to diversify their content and smash stereotypes. To that end, here’s a fun look at four “oldvertising” campaigns that celebrate the experiences unique to Baby Boomers and beyond.

Not Your Grandfather’s Advertising

by Nikki Majewski

Posted on 10-09-2017

This article is part of’s October series about creativity and design-led thinking. Click here for more.

Throughout the region, brands are understanding the need to diversify their campaign content and smash stereotypes. One such typecast that has experienced a revamp in advertising is that of the senior citizen.

But this time around, characterising Grandma and Grandpa as frail, old, or forgetful won’t cut it. Nowadays, “oldvertising” campaigns that celebrate the experiences unique to Baby Boomers and beyond are gaining traction.

“This demographic is at the top of their game, and we want to acknowledge who they are, how they are challenging themselves, and what it means to age,” Terri Meyer, co-CEO and founder of creative agency Terri & Sandy, told Ad Age earlier this year.

Here, we take a look at four brands that have creatively and inclusively targeted this more mature demographic in their 2017 APAC campaigns.

1. China’s Fittest Is A Reebok-Wearing Silver Fox

Eighty-one-year-old Wang Deshun, also known as “China’s hottest grandpa,” was featured in Reebok’s “2017 Be More Human” campaign—a piece of creativity that marked the rebirth of the global athletic footwear and apparel company in China.

The story of Wang using fitness and discipline to become an artist and performer at a late age demonstrates Reebok’s ability to target fellow octogenarians in an appropriate yet inspiring way.

“Only seriously getting into fitness at the age of 70, Wang’s example has helped reshape China’s views on aging and shown you’re never too old to pursue your goals,” Reebok told WWD.

2. Global Muse, The Rebel Granny

In December 2016, cosmetics brand Urban Decay released its Monthly Muse campaign via its YouTube channel, featuring none other than 89-year-old social media sensation Baddie Winkle.

With more than 3 million Instagram followers, this one-of-a-kind granny puts fellow social influencers’ experience to shame with this line from her bio: “Stealing your man since 1928.”

Urban Decay’s customers span the globe with multiple stockists throughout in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong. So what do all these consumers think about an 89-year-old fronting a global brand’s social campaign?

“I think they saw a great-grandmother that didn’t care what anybody thought about her,” Baddie Winkle told online news forum NPR. “Here’s a rebel and we like her.”

3. Sexy Senior Fronts Lingerie Campaign

Campaigns for lingerie brands typically feature someone hot, young, and Victoria’s Secret model-esque. But not New Zealand-based lingerie brand Lonely, which earlier this year featured 57-year-old Mercy Brewer front and centre of its autumn/winter campaign.

“Evidently, there are some fabulous older men and women are out here. … Forget stereotypes: If someone looks good in your gear, shine a light on them,” Brewer told Vice.

4. Granny Featured In Startup’s Inaugural TV Spot

Airtasker, an Australian app that facilitates the outsourcing of everyday tasks, launched its first-ever TV ads in September 2016 in true oldvertising style.

The startup introduced Cynthia in its “Like A Boss” campaign—a sporty, tech-savvy granny in need of help setting up her ping pong table. The spot serves as a great example of a progressive brand creatively and inclusively connecting to an older market.

“This group has challenged every stereotype of aging and does not see themselves as old or relate to that type of advertising. They are keeping up with technology, and they want to be spoken to and see themselves in an aspirational way,” Meyer said.

In recognising the needs of its older audience, Airtasker’s website at the time of the campaign also featured character profiles, including one for Cynthia that demonstrated all the ways Airtasker assists people like her. This personalised and integrated component of the campaign worked to educate and inspire senior users to take charge and live life like a boss.

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