David: I think what we do is we surface and we reframe what midlife is today and what it can be. What we’re doing is we’re saying, “This is what’s going on right now,” and, “This may be useful to you to know about this.”
If you’re a company, you may read Ageist and say, “Oh, this is why we should pay attention to hiring these kinds of people.” If you are a brand, you say, “We need to be reaching these people.”
If you are one of our readers, you may think that we have provided an aspirational viewpoint on what was previously a medicalized, and somewhat infantilized, view of people once they reach a certain age. We’re saying that’s not true.
50-plus people are vivid, vital and they’re quite powerful. They’re not done, and they have no intention of going away. We publish Ageist as a contrasting viewpoint to AARP and a lot of the pharma stuff that says that once you reach a certain age, you have a built in set of liabilities and there’s something wrong with you.
So what do the over 50s offer?
Psychologically, when people achieve a certain critical mass of life—it starts to happen in the late 40s, early 50s—they have enough life experience where they can look back and they can rationally evaluate. They can say, “This is what works for me, this is what doesn’t work for me.”
Now, what’s so different about today versus 20 or 30 years ago is that you’re able to look back, and you look forward and you say, “Oh, geez. I’m 50. I am, rationally, only halfway through my life.” The statistics are now, if you’re a 50-year-old woman, your average life expectancy is 94. You’ve got a whole do-over in front of you.
You combine those two things and that completely changes people’s behavior, across the board. This group is very powerful but it’s really misinterpreted. It’s mis-viewed by most of the brands and companies out there. There are very few that really get them.
When I look at your content, you seem to celebrate experienced creative professionals. They’ve worked in the media or creative fields. Would you agree, or do you think your editorial is broader than that?
I think it’s much broader than that. Actually, the people who have the hardest time with aging tend to be in the creative world. If you’re 50 years old and you’re a creative it’s really difficult. I think the statistic that I remember is that 40% of the American public is over 50, and 7% of the people who work in advertising and marketing are over 50.