I'm proud of the age I am (34 FYI) and I'm proud to be part of a growing movement of men and women representing a vast spectrum of ages within the bloggersphere. I wrote in my post here why diversity is so important: "there are so many incredible women out there doing incredible things, but if they don't fit the traditional mould they're practically invisible; I'm making an effort to show there is more than one type of blogger out there..." With this growing group, there's an increasing opportunity for brands to partner with relevant, engaged and high spending demographics - but I've been noticing that increasingly many are turning their nose up at those in their 30's and beyond in favour of beautiful 20-somethings who need little else than a slick of mascara and a dab of lipgloss in the morning. And I'm kind of at the end of my tether.
I can't tell you how many times I've recently seen girls in their early twenties professing to love an anti-ageing cream aimed at the 40+ market, or endorsing the use of expensive laser treatments developed to target deep wrinkles. I'm all for taking care of your skin at any age (prevention is better than cure after all,) but when it comes to products that can potentially do more damage than good on young skin it's just a big fat STOP IT from me. Exfoliating toners, replenishing night creams and hydrating serums are one thing, but super rich and powerful formulas just aren't necessary when it comes to prevention - just slap on some sunscreen daily and you've fought half the battle. Dr. Elizabeth Hale, vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation and a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, interestingly told IntoTheGloss: "There’s a statistic that 90% of women have very sensitive skin or think that they do, but a huge chunk of those women don't have conditions such as eczema or rosacea; they're actually doing it to themselves, often through over-exfoliating, using glycolic acid or Retin-A in inappropriate amounts." Told ya.
In my opinion it's ethically unsound, promoting anti-ageing products to those inevitably ten years off actually needing them, via digital influencers that they know and trust; way to build people's insecurities even more folks. Telling impressionable young women they need to be spending an absolute fortune on expensive products (and worse, invasive treatments) can be incredibly damaging to their self esteem: in a society where our self worth is measured by how many likes a selfie got, it's just another way they're potentially being told they're not good enough. There's such a difference between helping a woman in her 30s/40s/50s to replenish her skin and enable her to rekindle lost radiance, and encouraging someone young enough to be her daughter to do the same. (On a side note, of course they love the products and see such amazing results - they've got 23 year old skin FFS! You could probably give most a pot of baby lotion and they'd rave about it.)
From a business perspective working with these youngsters doesn't provide any return on investment for the brand, as the blogger isn't even relevant to the product in question - let alone their readers, who are often up to ten years younger than them. Unless they're being measured by how much stock they're shifting over the next decade, in my opinion eyeballs on a page is really not a sufficient measure of success. The fundamental issue here is that brands are often in denial about who they are and who their customers are in turn; they may think their customers are the hipster kids looking for something cool, but the reality could be very different. Case in point is MAC, whose average customer is actually 35 years old. (Bet that surprised you!) Brands: just because you use a pretty 20-something to promote your £30.00 foundation, it doesn't mean that 20-somethings will be falling over themselves to swap up their Rimmel for a bottle of Estee Lauder.
Just for reference, I have nothing against 20-somethings - in fact I used to be one. I still read a shedload of blogs written by those ten or fifteen years younger than me and I'm continually astounded by their skill-set and ability to create something so powerful; but this is about anti-ageing specifically, not their ability to showcase a new lipstick or help us create the perfect cat-flick. (My generation just can't compete when it comes to cat flicks; we're still recovering from the K-Middleton khol eye of the early 2000's.) With so many bloggers, digital influencers, models and celebrities out there representing a diverse age range there's simply no need to turn to a completely inappropriate list that wouldn't know a fine line if it slapped them round the face. They'll have their turn, so in the meantime let us have ours - and be proud of our age, not embarrassed that we don't look like that 23 year old that apparently has seen amazing results from the newest face cream.
Are you fed up of seeing so many 20-somethings endorse anti-ageing products? Are you a 20-something that's been made to feel insecure or worried about your skincare regime because of these endorsements? Or are you not bothered at all and happy to slap on the Protect & Perfect?
*FYI, this isn't a dig at The White Company - I just liked the photo!
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.