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Whether you're setting up a business or looking for employment, make sure you're marketable over 50


Why do brands not use more models over 50 in their advertising?

advertising to the 50plus market imageArticle by Ceri Wheeldon
We are the generation with the most spending power, and yet it seems we are largely ignored or misunderstood  by companies vying for our money. I think many products and services we may well wish to buy, do exist, but they are sold to us in the wrong way.

Most clothing is modelled by women in their late teens or early twenties – hard to visualise what you yourself would look like in it. Cosmetics and skincare products are promoted by young women with flawless, wrinkle free skin. Conversely, financial and travel products aimed at the 50plus market are often accompanied by images of couples far more likely to be fabulous in their 70s and 80s than in their 50s or 60s.

I have lost track of the calls and emails I receive from marketing personnel wanting me to promote products to ‘old’ people on the Fabafterfifty website – often speaking to me with a tone suggesting I must be very hard of hearing or slow to understand their message in general!

Advertising to the over 50s

So why, at a time when you would think that advertisers would be trying to attract more consumers, do so many manage to turn those of us over 50 away from their products by failing to attract us to what they have to offer. Playtex appointed Ruth Langsford as their brand ambassador and apparently since having Lynda Bellingham front their TV advertising campaign, online retailer Isme have seen sales increase by more than 600 percent!!

So why are more brands and retailers not capitalising on proof of this success? It would appear that advertisers have a long way to go before winning hearts and minds – not to mention our hard earned cash!

What do you think advertisers need to do to win us over?

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Fi Ivin

    November 26, 2012

    INDEED!!! Taking clients shopping – even those in their forties, never mind fifties+ and they cannot see why I am taking them into some shops -“Can’t do THAT” they whisper some almost grasping onto the door lintels to avoid going over the threshold! And there is the other extreme of clothes for “older” women that are patently for those who have given up on life! It would make the job of people like me who are encouraging our clients to purchase easier with a realistically targeted marketing approach. Thanks Ceri

    • Chloe Jeffreys

      February 25, 2014

      I see many women get stuck in the past. They decide that the hairstyle they loved in thier 20s is the only one right for them. Or they show their gain fears from yesteryear to dictate their choices today.

      It really bothers me that so many women over 50 limit themselves and are afraid to take fashion risks. But it is hard when you are constantly feeling like you are straddling the fence of fashion. Nobody really wants to be accused of letting themselves go, but the charge of “trying too hard” is really almost worse.

  2. Jan King

    December 11, 2012

    Anyone who sees the fashion pages in the Saturday Guardian will be forgiven for thinking that older women are miscast and mis-dressed by fashionistas. The beautiful older women so often look woefuly badly dressed. And as for the clothes stall at the 50+ Show — so dispiriting I felt like howling with frustration.

  3. Jo Carroll

    February 25, 2014

    I wonder if ad agencies are full of bright young things who believe that 40+ = old (like most of us did when we were 15), and nobody has sat them down and made them think about it?

  4. Boomer Tuber

    February 25, 2014

    When I was looking for a car last year, the salesman really turned me off when he commented on my phone. I still use a flip phone rather than a smart phone. He said, “wow, I can’t believe you’re still using one of those phones” I would never buy a car from him. I understand what you mean about them talking to you as if they know you are deaf or stupid.

  5. Chloe Jeffreys

    February 25, 2014

    It truly is frustrating. I shared your article on my Facebook wall about choosing a over 50 role model, which I think is excellent advice, but not so easy in the US because there are so few.

    A recent sideshow on HuffPo50 about fashion after 50 was replete with models in their 20s. And you are so right about the ads for travel.

    I suspect the reason is because the ad agencies employ the young. Not only do the young have a natural bias towards over-valuing youth, but I also think they themselves don’t want to think about their own parents as separate people outside of being their same olé predictable parents who aren’t interested in anything other than them.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      February 27, 2014

      Thank you for sharing and commenting Chloe. Interestingly I have had a number of companies contact me recently wanting to discuss why they cannot seem to connect with the 50plus market. They seem to lump us all together in one big group. I have to stress that we are as individual at 50 as we were at 30. A lot of work to do still!

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