When you think of influencers, what comes to mind? For many people, they are hipsters who are obsessively photographing their meals and constantly seeking new ways to get clicks and views on their social media platforms. And most often, we think of them as millennials, Gen Xs or Gen Zs. A new TikTok campaign is changing the influencer landscape. A trio of 70-somethings in Quebec is turning it on its head by becoming the hottest new stars of Tiktok with videos that have gone viral in a big way.
It began with the Government of Quebec, which was looking to create an awareness campaign around healthy practices related to COVID-19. Reaching young people was a challenge to convey this sort of information, so through its advertising agency, it started at TikTok account called Restepépé, featuring the videos of 15 ground-breaking new influencers – Gab, JR or Dan – ranging from ages 70 to 75. They dance, they cook, they put on makeup and they primp for the camera just like their younger TikTok counterparts.
The approach has struck a chord with a wide range of viewers, including younger TikTok users. The video series has garnered an enormous amount of attention with the most popular video, How to Find the Perfect Outfit for a Herbal Tea Party, racking up four million views and more than 1.2 million likes. Though the footage has an organic homemade feel in keeping with the culture of TikTok, there was a group of professionals in the background working their magic with deft editing and scripting to make them attention-grabbers.
Most importantly, the clever videos have helped bridge a gap between diverse age groups by connecting them through a common visual language using ingenuity and humour. They enforce the we’re-all-in-this-together messaging around COVID and serve as reminders that everyone has been affected by the pandemic. By using older influencers, the campaign took a fresh point of view to current events. The men and women featured have become a powerful, unifying force at a critical time in our history.
Their popularity also shines a bright light on current assumptions about who can be an influencer. It’s a world that has definitely been dominated by young people with just a handful of exceptions like the Pasta Grannies, including Dora Marzovilla, an 83-year-old expert handmade pasta maker, Shauna Robertson who runs the ChicOver50 blog and social media accounts, and 50-plus fitness model Angelique Miles. And UNICEF in Vietnam has also used older influencers to reach young people via TikTok. The success of the Restepépé account has prompted the Quebec government to extend the campaign into other media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube over the next few months.
Though it might be news to some people that older people are just as cool, or cooler, as anyone else, it is not news to us at YouAreUNLTD. Since our inception, we’ve advocated for older Canadians to be viewed as strong, powerful, and dynamic by presenting a wide range of information around healthy aging. We salute those vying to disrupt the space with new ideas and fresh perspectives that break stereotypes around what it means to age and to live life as an older person.
Influencers? The age boundaries around them are coming down. Older adults are taking a place front and centre and shattering stereotypes. And we’re glad to see it.