“When I was young, we were burning bras, we were getting high all the time and we dated all the time,” says Lyn Slater, a 64-year-old clinical associate Fordham professor.
Slater hates the concept of age and notes:
“Why do you think we would accept that our life ends when we turn a certain age?”
But with close to 500,000 followers on Instagram, Slater deals with the subject more than most people typically would.
And from luxury labels like Valentino to fast fashion brands like Uniqlo, Slater has been hired by them all, advertising campaigns and collaborating on both her blog and Instagram.
Slater originally began blogging back in 2014 but never expected to become such an icon.
And within just a year after her launch, Slater gained a following of 21,000 followers. Today she is close to hitting the 500k mark.
But that was just the beginning of the “Greynnaisance” era.
In 2015, trend-watchers declared the new era when Joan Didion, an 80-year-old author, became the face of not only Céline but Saint Laurent as well.
Despite driving 42 percent of spending in the US, baby boomers have been pretty much non-existent when it comes to advertising, especially in high-fashion.
Millenials and Gen-Z consumers drive at least 13 percent of spending in the US, according to a 2017 report from Moody’s.
But even with that statistic, companies still tend to gear most of their marketing initiatives towards the younger demographic.
The assumption is that that the ads will also appeal to parents.
But now, companies are reversing the approach.
For example, Diana Puig, communications director at Mango, notes that Slater was hired by Mango to tap into a new audience, going beyond their mostly young customer base.
Puig tells BoF:
“The impact of the campaign was excellent, [because] Lyn influences not only older people but also millennials.”
With that, older influencers have the ability to be more than a face to sell a garment, they can become storytellers.
Take Maye Musk for example.
Musk is a Canadian/South African model and dietitian as well as the mother of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.
Musk started her Instagram account about three years ago because all of the models were doing it and notes:
“I started posting pictures, people loved it and photographers contacted me saying they’d love to shoot me. Suddenly I’m an influencer, and I’m going to be 70 in a week!”
Musk is now a CoverGirl ambassador and happens to be the first face of the brand above the age of 65.
In addition to that, Musk has done covers for New York Magazine as well as Elle and has walked in runway shows — most recently at Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda in New York.
Musk mentions that the level of exposure today is simply not the same.
Ten years ago models would have had to rely solely on their agents for work, today, social media has the ability to open up so many opportunities.
With that, Musk says:
“After 50 years of modeling, I’m an overnight success.”
CoverGirl senior vice president, Ukonwa Ojo, says the beauty brand looked to Musk in order to appeal to older women.
The brand attempted such tactics when trying to appeal to different ethnicities.
Musks CoverGirl campaigns featured “ageless” products from the CoverGirl + Olay collection which include:
- liquid foundation
- and “smoky eye” makeup to appeal to millennials
But while older generation represents important revenue and publicity for these brands, managing director, Max Stein, does still mention that older models are still relatively rare.
Slater is the first client over 60 at her agency, Brigade.
Stein notes that her “voice, style and community” that led the company to sign her, “not because of her age.”