In this edition, I attempt to highlight businesses and brands catering to an older adult population while also engaging seniors as influencers and actors. While traditional products (mostly around healthcare and finance) have been popular among older adults, a new range of aspirational products and specialized services are being tailored for various customer cohorts within a highly heterogenous population group.
The 2016 article by senior brand executive Ambi Parameswaran has one of the earliest references to this consumer group in mainstream Indian media – the silver generation. Referring to ads featuring elders, he writes,
So, what is happening here? Is it that the aged of India are all on road trips? Are they living a life of leisure, travel and no care? Or is it just wishful thinking by brands? The truth may lie somewhere in between. Brand marketers are waking up to the enormous potential being offered by the affluent aged. The first set of products and services to jump on to this bandwagon are the insurance and financial product marketers. But this is just the beginning.
One can see forward-looking brands projecting an image of a new elder as ‘stylish and confident’. With social media proliferation and WhatsApp providing distribution virality, we are likely to see the rise in such campaigns in the years ahead. While not comprehensive, I have highlighted a few brands offering products and services catering to the senior population to make the case.
Nobel Hygiene, India’s leading adult diaper brand, launched an Instagram Reels campaign to raise awareness around incontinence, by using senior influencers. This article details the campaign #AzadiMubarak and its reach.
In the Reels, these senior influencers asked their viewers to comment on the reels with their own experiences/reviews of how their conversations with the elders at home went. Friends then reposted the content on their page and re-circulated the posts through WhatsApp.
In a more fun and quirkier ad for the Payyannur Eye Foundation, a super speciality eye hospital in Kerala, the ad firm inquiLabz uses two elders helping each other out in an examination hall.
India Post’s senior citizen savings scheme is one of the earliest and most progressive banking products, and open for anybody over the age of 60 with a minimum deposit of Rs 1000, and continues to be very attractive for its high interest rate.
While maternity and child benefits are common among many companies, Intuit, a US-based IT company, through its Maya Program, provides comprehensive care for its India-based employees with elderly dependents who need extra support.
Caravan, a portable music player with pre-loaded collection of songs from Saregama, one of the oldest music labels in India, has evolved over the years and today offers over ten different products, and comes in at least six languages (Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi and Malayalam). Known for its retro design, it is now on a path to chalk out its post covid growth journey.
Club Mahindra, through its Bliss memberships, offers holidays tailored to a segment they call Empty Nesters or Seenagers. The proposition is quite broad, and while not clear how such stays will be senior-friendly or take into consideration medically dependent members of a family, it recognizes the need to cater to 50 plus whose preferences may be quite different from other generational cohorts.
Tata Sky Seniors, an exclusive channel for seniors, is another interesting addition focused on health, education, financial planning and relationship management.
An ageing population, and particularly seniors, are looked at as those with needs and support. While this is true for some of them with medical and financial dependencies, they are also increasingly seeking convenience, experimenting with technology, exploring new products, active online and seeking tailored experiences that meet their aspirations (and wallet size).
To say that they will not spend is to literally say we have nothing to offer them, and some of these brands have shown there is an opportunity. One is likely to see progressive brands crafting new narratives, sharpening their proposition, investing in R&D, understanding consumer preferences and personalizing product experiences to cater to the many consumer cohorts spanning entertainment, education, travel, insurance, payments, etc.