Are ‘grumpy old men’ actually grumpy?

Lucid recently did our own research to follow up on non-brand-specific things we’d been starting to hear in research for clients, and wanted to explore further Men 55+ were a key part of our sample, and it was a real eye-opener. We did see evidence of ‘grumpy old men’ syndrome – loving a good moan about the traffic, the weather, the kids, the government, the aches and pains…. But here’s the thing:  

Even though they seemed grumpy they didn’t actually feel grumpy

Beneath the exterior they were generally happy and satisfied with life – enjoying working less (or not at all), having paid off the mortgage, being at home more (even if the wife doesn’t like it), doing more – new friends, places and experiences, discovering stuff (technology has expanded their worlds) and having time to do the things they’ve always loved, but couldn’t do often enough   And they didn’t recognise images of ‘grumpy old men’ as having anything to do with them  

Even when they were actually in the process of moaning

It was an object lesson in not judging a book by its cover And our lightbulb moment was this: Moaning and grumping, for older men, isn’t like moaning and grumping for younger people. It looks like it on the outside, but inside the behaviour, something else is going on. Far from being a negative thing, what they’re doing feels good from the inside – satisfying, motivating and intellectually stimulating; an activity they enjoy like some people get a kick out of a good debate This puts a whole new spin on connecting with these people, and has clear implications for how to portray them: from the inside out And the next time you tell your partner, Dad or Grandpa to stop grumping and they say (maybe even in a grumpy way) ‘but I’m not grumping!’ remember: as far as they are concerned, very likely they’re not To hear more about this and insights from other age groups included in our research (like the surprisingly home-loving side of millennials, the role of dad versus mum in the home and how dads shop differently, the supremacy of impact over engagement in advertising, and increasing emotional conflict around social media, even among millennials) contact 07710 946493 
or 07801 945439

Maddy Morton

Maddy is Director of Lucid. She has been described as a 'maestra' with groups of people and is appreciated for her passion and commitment as well as the clarity of her strategic thinking, insight and expression. Maddy began her career in advertising at Ogilvy and BBH and then worked at the Arts Council, English National Opera, AEA consulting and Stimulating World Research before setting up Lucid.

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