Older, wiser and loaded: OWLs are a marketer’s dream

fryBrands are so obsessed with wooing Millennials and Generation Zers that they are missing out on a highly lucrative market of well-healed over 60s who collectively have billions to spend and love nothing more than to eat out, shop, party and travel.

That is according to a new profiling tool from data science consultancy Marketing Metrix, which dubs them the “OWLs”, standing for “older, wiser, and loaded”.

The profile represents a group of around 450,000 people within the UK aged around 60 and over, who Marketing Metrix claims “are having their cake and eating it”. This is in stark contrast to younger counterparts who may have no access to a mortgage, incur high student debt and are regularly unemployed.

Collectively, their wealth equates to nearly £2trillion. Most have some assets, and their debts and mortgages have been paid off. Although they do have savings, they tend to spend their money on living as they want to; be that on holidays, fine dining, golf trips or parties.

Most OWLs also lead healthy lifestyles and will walk, play golf, swim and run in order to keep themselves in a physical condition that will allow them to live as they like, for as long as they can.

When it comes to attitude, OWLs have that in spades and love to have fun, Marketing Metrix states. Whether this is partying, dining out, cooking for themselves and friends or even skydiving, OWLs want to make the most of their time. Many OWLs live in London, but others reside in clusters around the UK.

If celebrity OWLs are your thing (here and abroad), think Stephen Fry, Rupert Everett, Joan Collins, Julianne Moore, Nicky Haslam and Goldie Hawn are all perfect examples.

OWLs fall into several categories, easily recognisable by those of all ages and backgrounds.

Night OWLs
Paul, Brian, Alex and Deborah often look at the “poor young things” vomiting in the street and pity them. As Deb often reminds “the boys”, once you have learnt your limits the world is your oyster. Their nights may not draw towards morning, but the foursome enjoys their re-education of London nightlife after years of hard work.

Barn OWLs
In her youth, Amanda was known as a bit of “wild thing”. Now she is happy to be known as the hostess of frequent dinner parties for her wide circle of friends. They are fabulous events that allow for the debauchery of a night out in the comfort of one’s own home.

Gay OWLs
John likes his gym dates; or rather he likes finding potential dates at the gym. Even though he is 60, he continues to exhaust his friends with hilarious late nights and John prides himself on his joie de vivre. Countless godchildren abound to keep him firmly rooted, but on occasion a little eccentricity is called for to remind everyone that life is too short to be dull.

Country OWLs
Being neither aristocracy or frightfully wealthy, Gus is still comfortable among those with whom he has shared life-forming experiences, despite a variety of backgrounds. Every Thursday, he plays golf with his old army colleagues and enjoys the “not-quite-drunk-yet” competition.

Empty-Nested OWLs
Having worked and lived in London for most of their lives, Bobby and Suzi finally embraced their need to travel. First off was Zanzibar where the serene calmness and heat provided plenty of excuses to try the myriad cocktails on offer. Bobby had chosen this; partly because he found the name rather comical but mainly because the Independent had once listed it on their top ten destinations.

And with £2trillion to spend, the real question for marketers is, what are you waiting for?

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