Talking ’bout our generation Experience! Saga celebrates the savvy over-50s who don’t want to be called old fashioned
He’s the star of stage, screen and TV, wowing audiences with his rendition of Horatio in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet, as Brian Green in Torchwood and with memorable roles as the Queen’s press secretary Michael Shea in The Crown and as Airey Neave, the conservative MP who was blown up by the Irish National Liberation Army, in The Iron Lady.
Now Nicholas Farrell will be hitting our small screens in a role much closer to home – playing himself as the face of Saga’s new brand campaign celebrating Generation Experience, the savvy over-50s who are the fastest growing demographic in the UK.
In the ads, which air from Friday 29 October, 2021 as part of the ‘Experience is Everything’ campaign, the 66-year-old actor plays a suave James Bond-esque figure, enjoying the finer things in life from a ‘revered’ bottle of ’76 Bordeaux, ‘vintage’ leather jacket and ‘classic’ car. ‘Don’t call me old fashioned,’ Nicholas says. ‘Just pour me one.’
He and the campaign are imploring Britain to look at age differently as Saga, who offer cruises to the over 50s, seeks to accurately reflect its audience, who hold the most spending power comparatively (a staggering 63p out of every £1 will be spent by people aged over 65 in 2040), and who like the idea of growing older disgracefully.
Nicholas Farrell, the face of Saga’s Generation Experience, doesn’t want to be called old fashioned – he just wants you to pour him one
Let’s Talk About Generation Experience
‘People are living longer than ever before, they are working longer, they are helping their families, they are contributing to society,’ said Euan Sutherland, CEO of Saga Group. ‘We know our customers do not feel old – they feel as if they are experienced. They have lived full lives, have so much to give, and fully intend to make the most of each and every day.’
That’s why the company, who launched boutique ships Spirit of Discovery in 2019 and Spirit of Adventure this year, are championing Generation Experience, for people who feel younger than they are and embrace new things while enjoying an active and healthy lifestyle.
‘I met one couple who have spent hundreds of thousands with Saga and take 13 suitcases with them for a week’s cruise. They want to travel and explore and are living their best lives’
‘Our ships are very busy – I went on the first cruise after cruising returned following the pause due to the pandemic to touch base with our customers and I couldn’t keep up,’ said Euan, 52. ‘I met one couple who have spent hundreds of thousands with Saga and take 13 suitcases with them for a week’s cruise. They want to travel and explore and are living their best lives.
‘It’s time for businesses and organisations of all sizes to have a conversation about age. As a purpose-led business with over 70 years’ experience, it’s one that we think Saga is ideally placed to lead.’
Stuart Beamish, Saga’s Group Chief Customer Officer agrees. ‘Despite the significance of this group – and rising awareness of the need for greater cultural representation of gender, race and disability – age is often left out of the conversation and either invisible or marginalised in cultural content. Only 29 per cent of TV adverts feature characters over the age of 50, with just 12 per cent in lead roles.’
The move has come after Virgin Voyages debuted the adults-only Scarlet Lady this summer as the ship designed by people who’ve never been on a cruise to much fanfare. With pleasure packs, festival-style entertainment, Studio 54-inspired nightclub and Michelin star-level cuisine, Sir Richard Branson’s foray into the industry has turned cruising on its head.
Saga spoke to 2,000 over 50s before launching the brand, and recognised there could have been resistance towards the brand revitalisation from their existing customers.
Boutique Cruising With A Touch Of Luxury
Speaking exclusively to Cruise Blondes, Euan said: ‘A lot of our customers and guests have been with us for a long time and know a lot of the older ships. We now have two new ships which are bigger, modern and bring boutique cruising to those who want a touch of luxury. We want to also attract a new, younger audience as well as retain our loyal customers.
‘We have fantastic food, service and entertainment on board and our British Isles cruises gave us a new focus and many people who might not have ever cruised gave it a try. The level of first time bookers peaked in August and we have already seen repeat purchases from those new to cruise so our offering is popular.’
‘We have 72-year-olds telling us they feel young, and want to try new things, while most people don’t feel old until they are well into their 80s’
‘Of course it was a worry [to rebrand with a focus on Generation Experience] but our existing customer base loved it. We have 72-year-olds telling us they feel young, and want to try new things, while most people don’t feel old until they are well into their 80s.’
During research to gain insight for Saga’s transformation strategy, which they hope will revitalise their brand, the cruise line discovered that 38 per cent of the UK population is over 50, which will equate to 27.9 million by 2030.
But the majority – 82 per cent – of Baby Boomers don’t want to be defined by their actual age, and only 25 per cent of them think of themselves as old. On average, most feel 14 years younger and 70 per cent believe old age starts in your 80s or later.
Rather than be grey-haired ‘OAPs’ sat at home watching TV with a cup of tea or knitting, most over 50s enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, with a staggering 91 per cent desperate to try new things.
Two thirds (67 per cent) of the research group said they were more likely to spend with a brand that embraced a positive view about life over 50, focused on experience rather than age.
Stuart said: ‘What we hear from customers is that they don’t see their lifestyles reflected in films, TV, adverts or wider society. This isn’t about pretending to be young again but about valuing their experience on its own merits both for themselves as individuals and for wider society.
‘Saga should be a super brand. We have to adapt to serve Generation Experience – these are the ones going to music festivals, getting married again and are often – like my parents – far more active than the younger generation.
‘We are delighted to launch a campaign that celebrates the positive aspects of ageing, built with new and existing customers in mind. It’s time to change the conversation about age in the way we have seen recent positive progress on the debate around gender and race representation. Every member of society should feel respected and valued for their worth.’
Let’s Go! Generation Experience loves trying new things
Generation Experience: The Facts
27.9 million will be over the age of 50 by 2030 in the UK
- They have spending power – 63p our of every £1will be spent by people over 65 in 2040
- 82% don’t want to be defined by age
- Only 25% think that they’re ‘old’
- 70% say old age starts in your 80s or later
- On average, most Saga customers feel 14 years younger than they are
- 11% of people over 65 still work
- Marriages among couples aged over 65 increased 46% between 2002 – 2014
- Only 22% of all adults believe ‘old people shouldn’t wear fashion designed for young people’
- But only 29% of TV advertising features people over the age of 50 with just 12% in lead roles
- Two thirds (67%) are more likely to spend with a brand that embraces a positive view about life over 50, focused on experience rather than age
- View the new ad here