Athleta catalog shoot: older models need not apply

Gap chooses its generation, though not wisely

Mark Gardiner
Jan 3, 2014 · 4 min read
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When the median age of your customer is 40-something. You hire only 20 something, size 1 models. With the result that even *this* 40-something woman doubts she’s fit enough for your brand of activewear. What’s wrong with this picture?

Although the company doesn’t release demographic info, I can guarantee you that the median age of Athleta customers is at least double the median age of Athleta’s models.

I don’t need access to Gap’s proprietary shopper demographics to know I’m right. Tess Roering, Athleta’s VP of Marketing & Creative told Advertising Age that the brand had, “dug in deep with… what media [our consumer] is spending time with.” After doing that, they bought magazine ads in:

  • Sports Illustrated (39)
  • Runner’s World (40)
  • Fitness (40)
  • Shape (41)
  • Real Simple (46)
  • Yoga Journal (47)

So, here’s the question: Does anyone at PMH or Athleta really think that casting one or two gorgeous, fit, mature women would have hurt the Athleta brand?

I don’t think so. My guess is that it simply never occurred to them to cast a model who is actually representative of Athleta’s customers.

  • There’s a big difference between not alienating a market, and positively attracting it.
  • Diversifying the age of your models makes long-term strategic sense. Either Athleta can establish its bona fides with mature consumers, or someone else will look at those Yoga Journal demographics, and realize that there’s an opportunity to pitch a brand specifically to women with hips. (60% of yoga practitioners are over 35, and nearly 20% of them are over 55. As the Baby Boomers age, it’s inevitable that the number of older yoginis will increase.)

Boom, baby.

Insights into the Baby Boomers, now that they’re eligible…

Mark Gardiner

Written by

Helping brands connect with mature consumers as @BrandROI. Author, “Build a Brand Like Trader Joe’s”. AKA @Backmarker. Gardiner@RevolutionaryOldIdea.com

Boom, baby.

Insights into the Baby Boomers, now that they’re eligible for Social Security

Mark Gardiner

Written by

Helping brands connect with mature consumers as @BrandROI. Author, “Build a Brand Like Trader Joe’s”. AKA @Backmarker. Gardiner@RevolutionaryOldIdea.com

Boom, baby.

Insights into the Baby Boomers, now that they’re eligible for Social Security

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