Toyota Venza – Marketing to 50+ in a positive and insightful way

December 27, 2012


Giving some consideration to what age you start to be considered ‘old’ is pretty revealing when it comes to looking at who’s doing great comms for ‘older markets’. Most ageing products and services (denture creams, stairmasters, funeral plans etc.) are intended for the ‘very old’. This can leave anyone between 50 (the magical cut-off point for many marketers) and 65 being targeted by communications that rarely use anyone visibly older than 45.

Toyota's Venza Campaign

By contrast, the Toyota Venza campaign shines a light on the powerful positives of being in a lifestage where one is still fit and healthy, no longer responsible for kids, and with enough self-knowledge and resources to have figured out what one wants in life and be able to get it. 

Their executions of the spot

In a couple of different executions, the parents’ behaviour is interpreted by their children, one through their teenage daughter who is at home on her computer and berating her parents for not being connected enough with their friends and life, cut with vision of the parents using their Venza to take their bikes and go trail riding with friends. The parents don’t play a speaking role, they don’t have to justify themselves, they’re out there living their lives, not at home by themselves just talking about it. 

In a second execution a man in his 20s comes home late from work, he’s moved back in with his parents to ‘keep them company’, but is clearly craving their society and vitality in his own life. The beeps on the microwave provide the lonely soundtrack. Assuming they have already gone to bed early he tiptoes past their room with a pitying glance, but turns out he’s actually at home by himself, they are on their way to a concert with their friends, singing together, windows on the Venza down, and living the life he aspires to have. 

The insight - Maturity to go your own way

The beauty of the approach is the genuine insight about the older generation. With their maturity and experience they know that younger people think they have it all figured out, but at their age they have the wisdom to know that you have to take your own path and that their kids will figure it out eventually. The parents aren’t childlike or reckless in their choice of pastime, but neither do they revert to a conventional view of activities appropriate for the mature market (how often do we see golf, yachting as the activity of choice for the silver-haired?). They’ve fulfilled their obligations, and are out there making the most of what life presents them. Far from a stereotyped assumption that old people are either really old or are striving to be young again, this campaign demonstrates the richness and potential of a more nuanced and insightful perspective.

More than that, it takes a witty and insightful approach to the intergenerational tension so frequently espoused. Simultaneously flipping the traditional parent/child relationship, whilst speaking to the non-i-generation’s ironic sense of technological development and where it is leading their children.