Advertising treats us like we’re sixteen

I came across an interesting term today while writing part of my thesis: ‘Aspirational age’.

This is a marketing term that indicates advertising to one age group can have an impact on a wider range of ages. By targetting 16-17 year olds they get those that are younger and long for percieved maturity and older people who long for the time of youthful freedom and health (even if these are false ideals).

I find this especially interesting, because the whole idea of teenage years being any different from any other time is a relatively modern concept, only really coming about with rock’n’roll in the twentieth century. Is it a coincidence that advertising was really getting into the swing of things at around the same time? We invent a concept of freedom, tell people they have it until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, then tell everyone else that it was the best time of their life to market products to them.

It’s a Möbius strip of marketing logic, and I find the idea fascinating!

‘Aspirational age’ definition here.

2 thoughts on “Advertising treats us like we’re sixteen”

  1. Being 16, i find this fascinating. Does this have to do with marketing of all products or just of products that would relate to being 16? I’m slightly confused with the concept.

  2. I find it fascinating as well. What is interesting to note is that the majority of advertising is directed at teens, but there are some things that don’t market specifically to teens, but are still desired by that audience because they also denote maturity. Also, I think it would be interesting to compare advertising in different countries in order to see what culturally defines these markets. Yeah, I didn’t study this at univeristy or anything.

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