Let’s be honest here.

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Women over 40 have seen and heard a lot. They’ve been bombarded by messages from advertisers, Hollywood, magazines (because women over 40 actually read magazines!), men, mothers and mothers-in-law. They’ve received criticism masquerading as advice. Advice sold as a must-do. And opinions laid out as fact. 

They’ve been told if only their hair were shinier, their skin smoother, their waist smaller, their breasts bigger, their ass rounder, their house cleaner, their glasses sparklier, their colors brighter, their bodies fresher their life would be more fulfilling, their kids less cranky, their husbands more attentive, they’d have more fun, better sex, and wake up well-rested, completely fulfilled, and 25 years younger.

We all know it doesn’t work like that. 

But here’s the thing

Women over 40 aren’t rejecting brands—even as they are feeling completely rejected by brands themselves (we asked them and they told us)—they actually (and actively) want relationships with brands. They understand how a brand that aligns with who she is as a person, understands where she is and what she’s experiencing in her life, as a partner, a mother, a daughter, an employee, a boss, an activist, a person, that brand will have something to offer her that’s real.

The most powerful brands move people in a positive direction. They encourage them to think, to laugh, to grow, to connect, to let go, to become. And those things can look and feel very different to different people. This is not a rose-colored gel, draped over the world. It’s an understanding that though the process may be hard and the road may be rough, culture can be moved forward, and we can make it better. 

So how do you do that? How do you show her that you are on her side? That you “get” her and that you value her?

Start by telling her the truth

Does your moisturizer work to combat the effects of declining estrogen? Let her know. She’ll understand you recognize her intelligence by trusting her with the science, and she’ll know you value her because your products work to address what’s happening in her life. 

Speaking of what’s happening in her life, bonus points for being upfront about it

It’s no secret to her that perimenopause has sent her hormones into a tailspin, but companies (and really, people) who cover their eyes to this basic fact of biology aren’t doing anyone any favors by repressing, shaming, and stigmatizing something that happens to 50% of the world if they’re lucky enough to live long enough.

Acknowledging the real-life road of perimenopause and menopause reinforces the fact that she’s not alone, that it’s important enough to have products that address it, and reminds us all (men included) that this is a normal aspect of everyday life.

You know what else is a normal part of everyday life for women over 40? Sex

Alone or with a partner women getting up in age are getting down. Brands that acknowledge that fact not only reflect that they’re in touch with reality they again remind us all that sex and pleasure have no expiration date.

It’s funny how little humor is used to engage these women

There’s a lot about aging that’s funny. And a lot that actually sucks but you still have to laugh. I remember working on a beauty brand and presenting a comedic campaign to my boss. She wasn’t having it. “Katie.” she said, “skincare is serious.” Seriously? Says who? What’s serious is the need to get on the same page as your target, understand what she sees and feels when she looks in the mirror. And around the room.

Recognize there’s a really good chance she is happy with who she is

When we surveyed 500 women over 40, we found that the overwhelming majority felt stronger, cooler or sexier than they ever imagined they’d feel. (And therefore probably way more than advertisers - especially ones staffed predominately by people who are not women 40+ - imagined they would). Acknowledge that and she’ll want to hang out with you. After all doesn’t everyone want to spend time with those that make them feel good about themselves not (however gently) offer opportunities for improvement?


Life Between the Bread: Women Over 40 Are the Sandwich Generation


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