Germaine Greer’s recent comment that advertisers were not interested in selling to a 61-year-old woman certainly does not hold true in direct mail, where in the past year almost 2000 companies targeted the 60-plus age groups with campaigns.

Germaine Greer’s recent comment that advertisers were not

interested in selling to a 61-year-old woman certainly does not hold

true in direct mail, where in the past year almost 2000 companies

targeted the 60-plus age groups with campaigns.

Although some mass-volume mailers (particularly credit card firms) may

target older age groups to find niches which are not saturated with

advertising, most direct marketers are savvy enough to recognise the

potential of the grey market.

Some 18% of the UK population is of pensionable age, and over the past

few years the fastest-growing population groups were the over-85s,

whereas there has been a fall of 11% in the 16 to 29 age group. And far

from being treated as a homogeneous group, direct marketers are

targeting the older age group’s complex consumer requirements in


For the year to May, DM to the 60-plus age group accounted for 31% of

mailing volumes, with an estimated spend of pounds 430m. Charity mailers

topped the list of those targeting older people, but companies such as

MBNA, BCA, Saga, Barclaycard and Britannia Music are among those who

consistently target this market.

Interestingly, the companies most targeting older groups over the past

year remains fairly constant across all age bands, with MBNA topping the

list of the 1293 mailers targeting those aged 70-plus, as well as the

518 firms mailing those aged 80-plus.

Jeremy Ridgway is an associate director of ACNielsen MMS.

A weekly analysis of the direct marketing field in association with

Royal Mail

Direct mail and the grey market

Company                          Estimated spend         % of all direct

                                 targeting 60-plus            mail spend

                                 age groups year

                                 to May 2000 (pounds m)

MBNA                             13.36                              25.3

Cornhill Direct                   9.33                              62.4

Readers Digest                    7.84                              35.8

BCA                               7.59                              26.0

Damart                            6.95                              56.0

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter        6.89                              31.6

Saga                              6.80                              63.0

Barclaycard                       6.29                              23.1

Capital One                       5.42                              19.8

JND                               5.13                              57.4

Lloyds TSB                        4.71                              29.2

Telegraph Group                   4.37                              26.3

Empire Stores                     3.94                              33.5

GUS                               3.71                              24.1

JD Williams                       3.68                              40.5

Goldshield Healthcare             3.55                              33.1

Bradford Exchange                 3.44                              39.9

Britannia Music Company           3.32                              17.0

Liverpool Victoria                3.26                              34.6

Publishers Clearing House         3.09                              27.9

ACNielsen MMS monitors direct mail activity and spend using a panel of

10,000 people profiled and weighted to be representative of the UK

population. Spend is estimated by multiplying grossed-up mailing volumes

against average post and production costs for mailpacks in each area.

Data does not include requested items, door-drops or inserts. Detailed

information on direct mail is available via


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