A lack of ATD could lose you access to the “Grey Pound”

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Attention to detail (ATD) is a common enough phrase, but when it comes to the Grey Pound (over 50’s) it really can be the difference between success and failure. Let me explain:

Success versus Failure Black and white street signs with words Success and Failure isolated on white

You can request large print versions of many things these days, from menus to council information flyers, but how often do you get the option to request a large print version of a web page? One might argue that the web features a zoom feature at all times, but due to the fonts used by the internet, this isn’t always an option. But nobody considers this a problem because they assume the elderly don’t use the internet. This might be true in many cases, but it’s surprising how many elderly people are actually very eager to make use of things such as the internet. In terms of advertising, marketeers could be missing a trick.

One might argue that, in terms of basic advertising, this isn’t a relevant factor. Adverts don’t need to (and when they do, pretend they don’t) rely too heavily on small print. You don’t need to provide detail to shove a big image in somebody’s face as they browse, with a short strap-line – easy advertising. And while this may appease the younger generation, older people aren’t interested in this. They like detail. And, as the online world of advertising ignores this, it is ignoring them.


Maybe advertisers have recognised that older people may be being excluded, however, as they have, it seems, adapted advertising for them to reflect the younger generation. This isn’t the right idea. You can find such examples flicking through ITV3 on a daytime. Ridiculous examples of elderly people content with their products and saying so, often with a voiceover so they don’t even get a voice. And this voiceover, usually a younger person, will state the obvious and expect you to buy their product. I’ve watched such adverts with my Grandparents. It doesn’t work on them. They just feel patronised and I don’t blame them. And now I’m starting to see these adverts in newspapers and magazines that come through their door. They are interested in detail!

First, the internet should recognise that the elderly are interested in what is has to say. There are simple solutions, such as changing fonts and backgrounds, to do this. And marketeers need to recognise that older people are interested in the internet, but not in the same way as younger people, and adapt their advertising with this in mind.


Did you know that in the UK:

  • 20 Million people are over 50
  • Over 50’s represent 25% of the online population
  • More people are over 60 than under 16
  • Over 50s are growing by 30% and in 2020 will account for 50% of the population
  • Adults under 50 are declining by 5%
  • Over 50’s represent 40% of spending power at >£205 Billion a year
  • Over 50’s hold 80% of the nation’s wealth & 60% of all savings
  • Each month 50,000 people turn 50
  • 86% of elderly people do not relate to the advertising they see

Do don’t ignore the “Grey” pound.  Here’s a few tips to consider next time you are designing an advert, brochure or website aimed at products for the over 50’s:


Eyesight deteriorates with age; at 50, the eyes receive half the light of a 20 year old, so colour and font combos can either enhance or inhibit an ability to read a message for example colours such as red, orange and yellow are easy to distinguish and can be used to create impact, whereas Older eyes find it harder to distinguish between blues, greens, and purples.  When using type over colour, older eyes favour sans-serif font typefaces and high contrast colour combinations.