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Oldies are killing the world economy, but don’t worry Dame Helen will save the day!

by on October 27, 2014

In a cheery Monday morning headline, the Telegraph proclaims that ‘Oldies are killing the world economy‘ but before we can draw breath to protest also suggests ‘they’ could also come to the rescue.  In fact the article provides a rather useful run through of global demographic trends, accompanied by the now-ubiquitous ‘info-graphic’ summary of key trends.  There are of course some rather broad brush generalizations here: “not only are the over-65s living a lot longer than previous generations, but they are more active and, as a cohort, have an awful lot more money. The challenge for business and, indeed, economic policy is getting the blighters to spend it.”  The term here to use is apparently “Japanification” which describes the tendency of older people to ‘hoard’ rather than ‘spend’.  Here the article highlights a challenge for those in marketing who have traditionally targeted younger consumers since they are apparently easier to sway than more brand-loyal older spenders (or should that be savers).

Enter, Dame Helen Mirren.

According to the Daily Mail, the much heralded pin up of the older women, is the new face of L’Oreal presumably to tackle exactly this problem and convince us that we are all really ‘worth it’.   I have to say I am sure that my mum’s long-standing ‘need’ for a weekly blow-dry appointment – something I would never consider myself – probably does more for the local economy than her switching shampoo brands.

Sadly the Daily Mail go onto describe how to get Helen’s ‘ageless’ look – a term I am not sure I would endorse and suspect she may also question.  They also suggest that “Helen is the perfect poster girl for a new breed of older women, showing it is possible to maintain looks, vitality and energy levels whatever your age”.

Is there a “new breed of older women” – that sounds a bit too much like genetic engineering to me.  While (especially as I approach a reasonably significant birthday myself) it is great to see more images of older women, I am concerned that these notions of ‘ageless’ perfection will put more pressure on us to age in a certain, acceptable (energetic and vital) way.  (And I from what I have read elsewhere Dame Helen it seems might share this concern.)  But of course we will undoubtedly spend more to achieve it – thus world economic crisis solved.


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