Grace Creative LA was started 5 years ago by Kathy Sjogren and Susan Colby to fill the gap that exists in marketing to the 50+ demographic. Both women have worked in advertising and marketing since the 80s for companies like Disney and advertising disruptor Chiat/Day. Over the years as they aged out of agency life, they decided to found a creative agency of their own focused on an overlooked audience they knew well - women over 50.
“A lot of younger people have a tendency to think if you are 50 you look 80,” said Susan.
Since this demographic is largely invisible in marketing, it may be that society doesn’t have an honest grasp on what this age demographic looks like. Thus, Grace Creative LA has been pushing out campaigns to make this demographic more visible and to embrace a booming market of consumers that are being overlooked. For example, they have a campaign around what 45 looks like as large portions of society seem to forget this is often their parents age not grandma’s age.
One of the reasons the duo cites for this disproportionate focus is that advertising is usually not representative of the 50+ market and often there is limited input from that demographic.
“It's very difficult for younger people to reflect our experience through the lens of age if you haven't been there. I've been your age but you have never been mine. It is not to say we are better - but we have been there,” said Susan.
Focusing on this niche market that was overlooked is a perfect fit for those who are living the experience as consumers as well.
“You get to a point when you are 50 and you have got all these skills and talents and you think - 'Now I want to use them towards something I care about.' Plus when you look at the numbers - women over 50 hold the buying power and make 87% of the household buying decisions. They are the most empowered consumers in history, and companies spend very little time talking to them,” said Susan.
Grace Creative LA is striving to educate brands about this audience and their potential from a perspective that knows how to truly speak to that market. Not a company trying to make them either into some Wonder Woman in a bikini or a Granny. Companies have been slow to catch on to the market potential, but women over 50 have been enthusiastic!
In an effort to revamp their website during the pandemic, Susan and Kathy decided to create an Age Anthem that has turned into a movement.
According to Susan, saying “age is just a number,” discounts the value of age and can be a way of downplaying your age (fudging it a little bit). Grace Creative LA wanted a battle cry so they created a video entitled, #AgeisNOTjustaNumber. In it real women ages 45-70 who filmed themselves talking about lots of great experiences, wisdom, and accomplishments that make these women a FORCE! It includes amazing stories of diverse women as they stop underselling themselves.
Unfortunately, ageism is one of the last ‘isms’ that still hasn’t really been talked about. It’s just another form of discrimination.
“It is very deflating for anyone who has accomplished so much to suddenly be reduced to a number. Like what they did doesn’t matter. You are discounted so much of the time," said Kathy.
The campaign has grown to highlight female founders over 50 who pledge to own their age and commit to portraying women respectively, creatively, respectfully. That's why a rally and battle cry to change the narrative is essential!
You can join this campaign by Grace Creative LA to show that age is NOT just a number, it is full of powerful knowledge, experience, and achievement!
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Here are the steps for you to become a part:
Step 1: Post an empowering photo, or a short video of yourself on your social media channels, using hashtag #AgeisNOTjustaNumber.
Step 2: Follow the prompts below to tell your story in the post caption or video:
Step 3: Tag three women 50-ish and over who inspire you and challenge them to join you in posting. This is a social media movement to let the world know that Age is NOT just a number.
Step 4: Be sure to follow @gracecreativela on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and @girlsgone50 on Instagram and Facebook.
Fighting ageism isn't done on social media by everyone, but no matter how you chose to address this issue be sure to join communities that respect age and the wisdom that comes with it!
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