The Bay just aged you by a few decades

11 Dec

Hudson's Bay Company founded in 1670

Seniors’ Event Now On!

The Bay’s latest radio commercial invites all 55+ shoppers to enjoy a Seniors’ Discount of an additional 15% off their holiday sale prices.

It wasn’t the discount but the age that caught my ear.

I don’t know of a single 55-year old who considers him/herself senior. Heck, I’ll be there in 5 years myself.

Is this promotion likely to get 55-year olds to skip their spinning class and dash into The Bay to collect the Seniors’ Discount?

The Brand Interventionist Recommends

This campaign is really out of touch with where Canadians are physically and mentally. Sure if this was 1912, 55 might be considered senior. But increasing life expectancy and the Boomer generation’s exuberant attitude towards the second half of their lives have pushed senior status much further down the track. The Stones are rocking their 50th anniversary concert tour for pete’s sake!

If The Bay wants to show it understands its customers, I would suggest they go in the opposite direction and hold a Youth Sales Event that extends to everyone up to the age of 100.

Race ya there.

Rolling Stones 50 years

It’s alright now. In fact, it’s a gas.


11 Responses to “The Bay just aged you by a few decades”

  1. maureen December 11, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Why, bless you, young man….pardon me while I rest these old bones here by the fire and pat the old sheepdog, Shep. I know he died years ago and this is just a broom with a blanket but I’m old and foolish.

    Yes, the perception of “old” has changed a lot. The other day I was listening to a 1940’s radio drama (Johnny Dollar or Pat Kelly’s Blues…can’t remember which) and a quavery voiced old lady was blathering on about a ne’er-do-well in the area. A cop asked her age, just for the report, ma’am…and she was 57! Crap, I’m 57 and pretty sure I don’t sound like Granny Clampet. (obscure cultural reference, I’ll pause while you young kids go look up “the Beverly Hillbillies” on the googles..)

    I know, you remember that show, Doug, but what about watching “Petticoat Junction”? When it was prime time? Ha!

    But let me just say, while I don’t consider myself senior or silver or these to be my freakin golden years, 15% is 15% and I’ll take it. I can’t wait until I get my BC Ferries seniors card (okay, I can but it is inevitable).

    I think I’ve gotten over the shock of edging into this territory. It starts with getting addressed admail for life insurance without any medical exam…you know, the one advertised on tv with the old fart on the phone, “It’s Tom, dear, he says I can get life insurance without seeing a doctor” And their rheumy eyes light up at the prospect of having some value now to their distant children and grandchildren. Unspoken is the ‘maybe they’ll come visit, if only to feed us arsenic laced pudding…’

    Then it’s the 1st memorial funeral planning admail – not the flyers, I’m talking addressed admail…you’ve been targeted….And don’t let me get started on Facebook target ads, I’ve had nightmares about some of the thumbnails that pop up in that column.

    In London this summer, I almost always got to sit when riding the tube because young men, the kind I used to flirt with, were getting up and offering me their seat….No!…sit back down, you presumptious little…ah, never mind, it’s a long ride….

    Once the wheels start falling off the bus, my dear, the perks are few and far between. The downside of being between 55 is all the really good discounts don’t start until you’re 60.

    The Bay, you say,…speak up, sonny, into the trumpet, and don’t step on the dog.


    • Jason December 11, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Sorry Doug, I love your posts – but Maureen’s comment is fricking hilarious!

      Back to the point of your post – I think the Bay has got an interesting dichotomy going on – the gravel-voiced maven hawking her wares, while trying to bring new tech to an old medium. Every spot the Bay is running includes a brief blurb about Shazam – allowing the listener to follow along with their smartphone.

      It’s like they’re hedging their bet – we’ve got something for the old fogies (and we’ll give them a discount because apparently that’s the only way to get them to visit us) and we’ll lure the little whippersnappers in because we’re so hip.

      Sitting on the fence is rarely a safe place to be…

    • Doug Brown December 11, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      There’s a Seniors Centre on Douglas near Fisgard that advertisers services for 50+, so I feel I’m already in the club Moe, if only on the curb paying the taxi driver.

      Petticoat Junction? I have no idea what you’re talking about. (Of course I remember when it was prime time, but don’t tell anyone. It’s our secret.)

      Thanks for the belly laughs Moe!

      Wipes tears from eyes. Exits.

  2. Doug Brown December 11, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Jason – Moe’s comments are truly the best reason to read my posts! I get where you’re coming from with The Bay sitting on the fence. Apparently it’s a rickety fence out of Petticoat Junction and it’s not going to be standing for much longer. Time for this retailer to fall off on one side or the other. Thanks for the comment – great to hear from you!

  3. Terrance Lam (@kinematicdigit) December 11, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Ageism in advertising has always been an issue. Something I discussed at great length with several other ad execs in NY and also the demographics I did for Columbia Fuels was 55+. We also knew that there were at least three categories that we identified in that group (transitional, active retiree, and collectors).

    Transitional were those that generally were 55+, nearing the end of their working lives, looking at strategies to slow down (retire), or find alternatives to their lifestyles. Of the Boomers, excellent financial positions that are ready to enter into the next stage of their lives, with smart invested money to spend.

    Active Retiree were those that generally were 55+ that have retired from working, are actively spending their money in pursuit of active lifestyles. Willing to spend money on adventure activities and also partaking in larger risks.

    Collectors, are those 55+ that have accumulated a level of wealth, items, and status where they are no longer seeking to add to it, but are looking at options to either share it, divest it, or trade it for things that matter to them most. Travel is often one of the big draws for this group, with small risk but maximum experiential return.

    Surprisingly, the hundreds of ad execs that I’ve met over the years in NY, were also ignorant of these differences in that demographic. Many choose lazy advertising, and everyone is obsessed with chasing the smaller, less affluent demographic that spends far less, and is even less informed than the boomers as consumer.

    Advertisers that are savvy to the money that is available in this evolving demographic will be conscious of the various segments in this group, but also to not allow ageism cloud their marketing by using a label that does not describe the types of lifestyles that each of the segments live by.

    • Doug Brown December 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Great value in this comment Terrance, thank you. I think there is added incentive for advertisers to scoop the younger adults into the seniors net because of the disposable income – nowhere more so than here in Victoria.

      How badly advertisers target will eventually show itself at the cash register though. “Seniors” comes with the unspoken connotation of “old”, and no 55 year old – or 65 year old – I know wants to wrap their arms around that label.

  4. dongrgic December 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Earlier this year I was labelled as a senior and was… I guess disturbed by the comment, however I can understand, to a younger person greying hair puts me into a simple category of old. I hate that.

    • Doug Brown December 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      But The Bay is not some navel-gazing teenager Don. It’s 342 years old after all!

  5. Lynne DeCew December 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    As much as I loathe being called a senior prematurely, I’m willing to swallow my pride for an extra 15% off. Still, diplomacy counts. In her mid-50’s, a friend of mine was asked by a young clerk at the Bay if she was eligible for the “seniors’ discount”. She was so insulted by this tactless question that she tore a strip off the poor cashier and refused to shop at the Bay for months afterward. (But yes, she took the discount.)

    Maybe the Bay could simply call it the “boomers’ discount”?

    • Doug Brown December 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      It’s all about the optics Lynne! We can all enjoy a 15% discount on the one hand, but not when they’re offering us assisted living with the other. 🙂

      When you have kids, you get called “old” all the time, so it’s not like we’re not used to it. At least The Bay is offering us a discount along with the insult.

    • Doug Brown December 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      Oh and Boomers’ Discount? LOVE IT.

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