Granfluencers – marketing built on authenticity and trust

Published: March 28, 2023

min read

When you think of influencers, you almost automatically conjure up the image of a twenty-something peddling beauty products or clothing. Not someone who is almost 100 years old.

Well! Think again.

There is a new breed of influencers, all silver-haired and fabulous, who are making waves on social media and even striking deals with large brands like Amazon and Liquid Death.

The Granfluencers are here. And how!

Helen Ruth Van Winkle or @baddiewinkle, who according to her Instagram bio has been “Stealin Ur Mans since 1928” is known for her bright colored outfits and her devil-may-care personality. She has worked with Smirnoff Ice, NYX cosmetics, etc.

You’ve heard of Retirement House, right? Reatha Grey, Jerry Boyd, Gaylynn Baker, Chuck Lacey, Patti Yulish and Monterey Morrissey star in scripted comedic skits and TikTok trends. Each of them are between 70 and 85 years old and in less than a year and a half, have taken social media by storm, with nearly 5 million followers and over 100 million total likes, and have worked with brands such as GoodRx, Snickers, Virgin Voyages and CeraVe.

The Old Gays - Mick Peterson, Robert Reeves, Bill Lyons and Jessay Martin – four men in their 60s and 70s known for their wild mix of TikTok choreography and dance routines, extravagant fashion with fun flashy outfits and LGBTQ+ activism, have over 10 million followers and have partnered with the likes of Walgreens, Amazon and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty.

Pia Quaglieri, 85, better known as Nonna Pia is everyone’s grandma. She has over 3 million followers who watch her videos of her classic Italian cooking and who think she reminds them of their grandmothers. She has worked with ShopRite, Nutella and even the New York Mets.

Joan MacDonald is 76 and a fitness granfluencer who uses Instagram and YouTube to document chronicle her quest to improve her overall health and well-being. Her content ranges from exercise routines to nutritious recipes and other health and wellness tips. She has her own app now – “Train with Joan”.

And there are many others … for whom age is just a number – but you are showing others, who’s the boss!

Granfluencers are a real thing and brands are taking notice of them.

Marketers and Granfluencers

Age is just a number when it comes to influencers – when it comes to signing on an influencer who you hope will bring his / her/ their followers to you, it does not matter how old or young the influencer is. What matters is that there is a fit between your brand and the influencer.

A large section of the population is now over 50. They have buying power and they are a target group that cannot be ignored. That group of people may appreciate what an older influencer endorses, rather than a tween.

And the impact is considerable. A couple of years ago, Aura Frames partnered with Charlotte Simpson @travelingblackwidow to create their best-performing ad for the year. It racked up nearly five times more conversions than any influencer ad, with six times more engagement than any ad creative.

Granfluencers are not popular only among their own age group. Gen Z and millennials follow them too – as they find them to be authentic, different, honest and true. So it is a smart strategy to partner with an older influencer who has an impact on various age groups.

And in a sea of tween influencers, Granfluencers stand out – they are different and they bring a different take to the table. And that is something that brands cannot ignore. Their authenticity and the trust that they build is something that brands would do well, to ride on and enjoy.

It is good for brands to ignore any age-related stereotyping and start to see Granfluencers as a great way to drive authenticity and relevance through meaningful collaborations, build their audience’s trust and generate a huge payoff.


Jasmine Jackson

Jasmine is a social media maven with a talent for building engaged communities. She's a natural storyteller and has a way of making complex ideas accessible to everyone. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and exploring new cuisines.


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