While editing my biography on this site recently, I noticed that the Google ad block in the middle of the page had an ad about “senior dating”. Google obviously knows my age (it’s not mentioned on this site), so I rather took offence at what it was insinuating. Â Senior? I’m Â not a pensioner! Looking closer at the ad I noticed that the rest of the text refers to “people over 40”. People over 40? Senior? Surely they mean “mature”. And then it hit me – the ad text was for a website aimed at Israelis. Could it be that whoever wrote the ad text obviously thought it up in Hebrew and then translated it into English (possibly using a dictionary or even Google Translate)? Â In Hebrew, the word “senior” Â is almost interchangeable with “mature” when it comes to being the opposite of “minor”.
So there are two options:
Whoever wrote this ad text got the translation wrong, using a word that is technically right but culturally inaccurate.
Whoever wrote this ad text believes that lumping people in their 40s and 50s in with those in their 60s and 70s is a good business strategy for a dating site.
Either way, the result is an alienating ad that made me (a potential customer, obviously, as I’ve recently gone into my “senior” years) less interested in the product.
How could this have been prevented? Better research into cultural implications of words in the language you’re advertising in, better demographic research about what people in their 40s and 50s are looking for (hint: probably not being thought of as being as old as our parents / grandparents when we’re trying to put ourselves out there). While it’s true that many older daters are looking to date younger ones and may be encouraged to see a significantly younger age range listed on a site, I doubt that many people in their 40s would want to date specifically on a senior dating site.