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What Marketing Can Do To Reframe Midlife

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Have you ever felt like you’ve become invisible as you age? It’s not uncommon for people to experience a sense of being overlooked or undervalued, especially in the middle stages of life. Even the supermodel Paulina Porizkova felt the same.

For strange reasons, ageing and invisibility often seem to go hand in hand. Research has shown that women at the age of 52 often feel invisible (they get pushed aside in lines, men don’t pay attention to them, and even shop assistants tend to ignore them) with midlife women being ignored and ill-represented in all parts of culture, including advertising, despite holding a significant portion of spending power.

A recent study conducted by MullenLowe Group UK also revealed that a significant majority of individuals over the age of 50, specifically 74%, believe that advertising fails to adequately represent their age group. 

That’s why when the British online clothing company JD Williams made a commitment to reshaping the narrative surrounding midlife we couldn’t but all rejoice. 

Building upon the success of their previous campaign that celebrated women in midlife during the SS23 collection, as well as their sponsorship of the popular midlife dating show ‘My Mum Your Dad’ hosted by Davina McCall, the brand is dedicated to rewriting the story of midlife. 

We take great pride in presenting a second campaign that once again demonstrates our unwavering dedication to accurately representing midlife women. Through House 337, we will continue to challenge society’s perception of women beyond a certain age and showcase a style tailored for them. This autumn, we will embrace the intelligence, confidence, and authentic stories of real midlife women across various aspects of their lives,” explained Esme Stone, the Head of Brand Marketing at JD Williams. 

By acknowledging and rejecting the tired stereotypes that midlife women have been subjected to repeatedly, JD Williams exhibits a genuine understanding of the audience it aims to represent. 

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In particular, the JD Williams’ Autumn Winter 2023 campaign, created in collaboration with House 337, places midlife women at the forefront, featuring stylish and powerful women who challenge stereotypes with a sense of fun and excitement. The hero film showcases a cast of women over 50 who exude confidence and fashion while modelling the new collection proving they are not over the hill.

Fortunately, there are some other examples of this positive reframing out there. One comes also from a smashing ad created by Sloggi a couple of years ago featuring an older woman, front and centre stage, and showing that granny pants are comfortable and stylish, and shouldn’t be stigmatized in a negative fashion.

And how about one of Magnum’s ads featuring Iris Apfel? At 102 years old, the legendary fashion icon and muse simply reaffirms that age is just a number and it’s never too late to enjoy the pleasures of life and to live life to the fullest leaving her ethical will behind.

Meanwhile, the 52-year-old British actress and TV personality Amanda Holden has created a collection for womenswear brand Lipsy in collaboration with Next for AW23, becoming the brand’s oldest-ever ambassador.

So, clearly, the tide is changing. Whether society is gradually recognizing the value and magnificence of middle-aged women or not is still to be determined. However, this transformation cannot occur soon enough. Middle-aged women have been misrepresented or entirely disregarded for an extended period, and we must take centre stage.


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