Madison Avenue Wake-Up


Madison Avenue Wake Up - Felice Shapiro from Better After 50You may have heard that Oprah just abandoned BA50’s with her announcement this week that “O’s” message will now be directed at the 30-something market.” Ms. Winfrey said she would like to attract women “in their 30s or perhaps their 20s, to be able to reach people when they are looking to fulfill their destiny.” She added, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”

I think Oprah is running in the wrong direction. The 50 year old market is ripe for the picking.   According to “Selling to Seniors,” a monthly marketing report, people 50 and over control 77 percent of all financial assets in the United States, own almost 50 percent of all credit cards, and account for more than 50 percent of discretionary spending power – 2.5 times the average per capita.

Wow – that’s a huge market.

You would think Madison Avenue (I am referring to the media buyers) would be so excited to embrace women baby boomers who have the spending power, but that does not seem to be the case.  In fact it’s just the opposite.   It’s not just Oprah.  More magazine has also trended “downward” in age since it’s launch catering to a younger mid-40’s market.

So why isn’t there a magazine just for us?  It turns out Madison Avenue doesn’t think we’re worth investing in. HUH?  Oprah’s not interested in “bleeding money” and she can’t get Madison Avenue excited about embracing the 50 year old demographic. It turns out her shift to a younger market isn’t just about shaping destiny but bottom line.

“Her magazine, in particular, has experienced a decline in advertising revenue and newsstand sales since the talk show finished.”

No problem, I get it.  None of us like to “bleed money.”   But we at are betting on the 50 year old target market. We are married to the message that aging is an “attitude” and we are better after 50 because “we choose to be.”   Our mission is to become the homepage of every woman turning 50.

Recently, I was interviewed by Jean Chatzky for a segment on her TV show Money Matters on RLTV and she opened with a great question:

“What makes different than other magazines you can buy at the newsstand?”

I wanted to say “What magazines for 50 year olds?” but I didn’t want to be impolite. I wanted to say – we’re an on-line magazine and not print- but hey, it was my first TV interview and this is a learning process.  I wanted to talk about the void in the marketplace for magazines for women ages 50 and up that are relevant.  I know there’s Oprah’s “O” Magazine and “More Magazine” and there are plenty of us who read Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.   But there is nothing exclusively focused on turning 50 and entering the next half of our lives.    Although AARP is working on getting our attention – many women turning 50 feel disturbed when their first copy of “that” senior magazine comes in the mail.

Our writers speak with authentic voices and are not cowed by Madison Avenue. Our language is honest and direct and BA50’s stories are picked up every week on the Huffington Post, and AOL. The Boston Globe has discovered us and now NBC too–we have over 40,000 readers every month and the numbers are doubling each week.

Our writers are touching lives with stories about aging parents and adult children, shifting relationships, our next steps over the 50 threshold into work and play, adventure and survival.  Our curated YourCity  is becoming the go-to link for BA50s looking for goings-on tailored to our demographic.

Our BA50 resource guide will list every resource BA50s want to share with our readers. We are hoping to pack it with where to donate “stuff” from our purged closets to support for aging parents to great BA50 getaways. This section will take time to develop but we all need it.

So, who’s catering to BA50s?  Our tried and true go-to places are opting out and have decided to go for the face-lift, so it looks like we’d better do it ourselves.  We respect us–we value us. We’ve earned our smile lines, our fallen arches and our ability to laugh out loud at ourselves. We’re having fun.

So Madison Avenue–when you’re ready to wake up and see what 50-year-old women are talking about–we welcome you to the conversation. But in the meantime we’ll take care of our own and embrace the buzz of women sharing with women. There’s no question that the magic of social media’s organic explosion is a runway we are happy to be on.



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Madison Avenue Wake-Up was last modified: by


Felice Shapiro

Felice Shapiro Felice Shapiro loves figuring out what's next. Felice writes with honesty and humor about real life events, romance, tragedy, reinvention and family not to mention — fashion, beauty & travel. As a serial entrepreneur in the publishing space, she launched to meet the needs of women entering their next phase at 50. Inspired and armed with her love of publishing, writing, start-ups and women’s issues, Shapiro launched an online magazine for 50-something women to share personal stories, successes and relevant issues. She is proud of BA50 which is in its 4th year and has over 7 million unique visitors. 

  18 comments for “Madison Avenue Wake-Up

  1. Cathy Chester
    December 4, 2012 at 7:40 am


    Right on! I, too, was disappointed and a bit angry at Oprah for ignoring the very group that put her where she is today. I, too, was interviewed by Jean Chatzky (airing tonight at 8pm on RLTV) about being a smart shopper – I nominated the best shopper (my husband) and we discussed our techniques on being smart about spending. The show is geared for those over 50, and where we spend our money is now very important to companies, marketers, pollsters and analysts.

    I look to print media and online magazines for resources about living a life of quality over 50 – agh – where are they? I picked up MORE magazine for the plane ride home from Florida and saw this is not the magazine for my demographic. BetterAfter50 is exactly what I look to!

    So, Felice, thanks for your article. You talk about the same ideas I am thinking, living, feeling and discussing among my friends and myself.

    Cathy Chester
    Author/Admimistrator for An Empowered Spirit blog

    • felice
      December 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Yes indeed Cathy – we are on the same page — it’s so clear once you reach this BA50 frame of mind – speaking about what’s so obvious feels natural – the topics just flow – i am glad you agree and so glad you are writing.

  2. December 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    One step forward, two steps back. I still think we will reach a place where women over 50 are valued in American society and it seems your newsletter is a great step in THAT direction! Kudos to you!

    • felice
      December 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Allison — well we are all trying to wrap our heads around this next place
      it feels quite organic and natural –
      glad you are part of our BA community

  3. Cheryl Joyce
    December 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Continue on….we will support you. Go BA50’s.

    • felice
      December 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Thank – you — thanks for being part of this movement

  4. D.A. Wolf
    December 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Yes, yes, yes!

    I think Oprah’s repositioning is a bit of a shame. You can be inclusive in your targeting without walking away from your base. Perhaps she’s feeling uninspired in the same segment, which would be us?

    Nonetheless, losing a powerhouse spokesperson with her reach and assets is truly disappointing.

    We are a massive market, we are constantly reinventing, and even the remark about by “40 or 42 you’ve figured it out” is untrue since by 45, millions of us are having to figure it all out once again – and quite likely 10 years later having to do so one more time!

    • felice
      December 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      yes indeed DA – millions of us are “figuring it out” once again
      but this time we’ve got a whole new set of tools.
      thanks for your comments – so articulate and insightful

  5. December 5, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I believe our continued presence as bloggers, writers and public speakers provides us and the media with a visible reminder of the power of the over 50 woman. I often write about sexuality as I don’t see enough valid information for our demographic in that area either.
    Personally, I didn’t spend years struggling to define myself (an ongoing process) only to be swept under the rug as just another ranting menopausal old lady by Oprah or anyone else!

    • felice
      December 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Walker –
      You so clearly have not been swept under the rug and your voice – clear and strong and provocative is essential for baby boomers to make their worth heard and felt.
      thank you for your consistency — you are walking the walk (ha your name) – we welcome your voice here on BA50 – you help to empower women who are in their next phase as a cheerleader as well as a trailblazer

  6. Nancy Leeser
    December 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    You hit the nail on the head! The Baby Boomers in sheer numbers is not a demographic to be overlooked let alone our buying power. I applaud your efforts. I am new to your site and I’m really enjoying it so far – keep it up!

    • felice
      December 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      welcome to BA50
      please feel free to share the site with your friends- that’s how we spread the movement

      we maybe massive in numbers – that’s the good news – staying informed and having a voice is what makes us powerful

  7. December 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for an insightful essay that’s totally in sync with what I’ve been feeling lately. (How many women over 50 *don’t* feel ignored by the media?) And while I am enjoying midlife, I’m baffled at Oprah’s comment: “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.” Huh? I resent that comment. As I recall, it was Oprah who kept reminding us that “life is a journey” and that we should keep learning as we go … right?

    So many women I know have expressed disappointment in More magazine, too. Even the 40-year-old models in the fashion spreads never honestly reflect what 40 looks like. All said and done, More’s message to us: “Aging is shameful unless you don’t look your age.” This does nothing to improve a mature woman’s outlook and self-image.

    • felice
      December 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Cindy – just read your blog – it’s awesome – thank you for your comments – of course we are likeminded on this but it takes a village to make an impact – guess we’re part of that village
      you have a great clear voice and are speaking about honesty and age and celebration of this phase – love it all

      • December 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm

        Wow — thanks so much for reading my post, Felice! Next month I will be participating in a forum (with other journalists) on this very topic. I will print out a copy of your essay today and bring it along. Thanks for welcoming me to your village 🙂

        • felice
          December 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

          i would be honored – where is that forum? love to learn more about it

          thanks for spreading the BA50 message

          • December 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

            Will keep you posted. It’s for a fashion magazine in Detroit.

  8. Diane_Lutz
    December 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I read this last week and I can’t stop thinking about it. I am dissappointed in Oprah. Next week I give a presentation to my graduate class at UMass Boston on women in midlife finding fulfillment. It focuses on the career changes and choices women make due to the profound turning point we experience at about age 50. It also points out that longevity today is increasing to a point where it will not be unusual to live to 120. I want to raise awareness to midlife women who want to make career changes and help them turn away from an attitude of “it’s too late now.” Leading by example, I am 51 and going back to school to learn a new profession.

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