In a recent research report, our friends at Ketchum PR reminded us that sociologists are right about happiness: the surest way to gain is it to turn 50.

In their “ReMovement” Study, Ketchum shared results from a large-scale study of women 50+, who reported that each decade after 50 is the best decade of their lives.

Women aged 50-59 said that their 50s were the best decade of their lives; women 60-69 said the same thing about their 60s; and women 70-79 say the same thing about that decade, too.

50And they don’t just report this after the fact; women seem to know that they will feel this way even before it happens.  Ketchum reported that 82% of respondents aged 50-59 said that “life will only get better” as they age.

I’m excited to be sharing the stage with Ketchum’s Chief Global Strategy and Creative Officer Karen Strauss at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next month (on June 24, to be specific) when I’ll share IMC and Vibrant Nation’s perspective on marketing to women 50+ with some of the world’s best marketers and brands.  Together with Kirsty Fuller, Co-CEO of Flamingo, the global brand consultancy, and marketing strategist Hélène Côté, our panel is called “Whatever You Do, Don’t Call Them Grey (or Silver)”.

New data like Ketchum’s is always welcome, and is confirmed by the growing field of happiness research describing life’s “U-curve.”  In our 20s and 30s and 40s we tackle life’s big challenges; happiness suffers as a result.  But somewhere around age 50, a weight lifts and people uniformly describe a feeling of lightness – a form of happiness that keeps growing as they age.

Why the Disconnect?

While data on happiness and age remain consistent, the message doesn’t seem to have reached marketers.  When ads do target women 50+, they usually imply that consumers wouldn’t be happy unless they buy the marketer’s product or service.

Who wants to be told – at any age – that they can’t be happy without a new product or service?  And who wants to be told, at a time when their own age is making them demonstrably happier, that they have in fact become so unhappy that they need this new brand more than ever?

This should not be so hard.  It is a lot more fun to tell people that your product or service will make them more happy than to tell them that it will reverse their sad lot in life.  And it is even more fun to let other women – like the women in our Vibrant Influencer Network – tell their peers the same thing.  They can celebrate their renewed happiness, and the way a brand enhances it, better than anyone else.

If you want to support happiness-development among women 45+, greet them on the upswinging U-curve they’re actually on, not on the downward path of your own imagination.  And, wherever possible, greet them with (and through) their peers. They aren’t just happy; they are happy together, and (as Ketchum’s research reminds us) the support and information they get from women like them is an important source of that great new feeling.

Whatever you do – as I’ll be reminding others at Cannes – don’t call them sad.

Group of Woman Toasting With Wine Outdoors


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