Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Cadillac of fairy tales.

When we’re not contributing to society in other super-meaningful ways, my business partner Bob Hoffman & I consult to advertisers and the media on the importance of marketing to the 50+ consumer. This is a lot harder than it should be.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody argues with the facts. People over 50 control about 70% of the wealth in the U.S., we are responsible for about half of all consumer spending, and we dominate 94% of CPG categories. But who needs facts when you have fairy tales to keep you warm?
One of the most popular marketing fairy tales we hear is that if you want to sell cars, you have to target young. Forget that people over 50 buy 62% of all new cars. If you’re not targeting young, you’re old. I saw a great example of this recently.
“Cadillac still suffers from more of an older demographic,” declared Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst with She was quoted in a NY Times article reporting Cadillac’s intention to up its luxury game by adding a new, larger sedan to its lineup.
Cadillac no doubt suffers from a great many things (forgettable, unsexy products for example), but an older demographic just ain’t one of ‘em. Especially as they look to secure a place in the “elite class of top-level luxury cars,” as Cadillac’s president Johan de Nysschen claims.
Here’s some news you might want to consider, Ms. Senior Analyst. The average age of a buyer of BMW, Porsche, Maserati, Tesla, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls Royce, Lexus, Bentley and every other top-level luxury car you can name is over 50.
But fairy tales have power. Especially when propagated by “industry experts” who really should know better.


  1. Why am I not surprised? Just visited my home state CA. Every car you mention is driven by one of my friends, all of whom are 60+. My sons, 26 & 27 cannot afford any of these cars. Why? They don't make enpough $$

    1. It's crazy that car companies don't get it. But they don't.

  2. It's crazy that almost no one gets it!