Founded in 2016 by a former journalist, OHH Dear Communications is a social enterprise and the first silver-aged and young old (age 50 or above) modelling agency in Hong Kong. The agency trains elderly in modelling and lines them up with advertisements where they can demonstrate their abilities and improve their confidence, and thus promote active aging in society.
Like many other well-developed cities, Hong Kong is encountering aging population. According to government statistics, the population of the elderly increased from 1.02 million in 2013 to 1.27 million in 2018, and the number is expected to rise to 2.44 million in 2038, which means that nearly one in every three people will be elders (Office of the Government Economist, 2019). The longevity of people rises but not the retirement age, so people with the energy and passion to work are put off by the retirement age. According to a survey, retired elders mostly spend their time sitting, and are worried that they had lost their value and recognition after retirement (Lam, 2016). With these thoughts, they are prone to experience loneliness and poor psychological well-being (Lam, 2016). This results in a waste of manpower, as they are greatly experienced in their industries.
OHH Dear Communications aims to train the elderlies as models and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), as well as line up elderly models for advertisers and marketers to sell their products to silver-age audience. OHH Dear recruits interested elderlies and trains them in modelling and how to become KOLs. They employs these elderlies after the training period if they find them suitable for the job. OHH Dear then offers advertising and marketing one-stop services for companies to advertise among the silver-age and the elderly market. Its clients include Standard Chartered, Nestle and Bioderma. Also, OHH Dear owns a website called 50 Plus HK which targets people aged 50 or above. The age-specific content cover topics such as health, food and people, demonstrating to the audience that they can enjoy their lives despite their age. The website is managed by OHH Dear’s members, such that the topics can intrigue their counterparts.
The idea of elder modelling is well-received, as there have been hundreds of applications for modelling, although not all of them are accepted. As of 2019, the agency had trained more than 50 elderly models aged above 50, with the eldest aged almost 100, who did a photoshoot for a US cosmetic brand which used to employ young people for promotion. There had been over 150 advertisements made with models from OHH Dear, even for businesses which do not specifically target elderlies, such as household goods, and food and beverage services. One remarkable example would be a model from OHH Dear featuring in the advertisement of renowned fashion brand with other Hong Kong celebrities. The social enterprise has also been invited to attend the 8th Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India in November 2017. Apart from business development, there is also a positive effect on elderlies’ mentality. Some semiretired models have their confidence improved and are employed for their energetic and zealous characters. They redevelop a positive attitude towards life and modelling goes beyond employment, but becomes a hobby and interest.
Lam, J. (2016, October 5). Hong Kong near bottom of world ranking for psychological health for the elderly. South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/2025413/hong-kong-near-bottom-world-ranking-psychological. Accessed 23 July 2021.
Lam, J. (2016, October 24). How retirement syndrome is hurting Hong Kong’s elderly. South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/2039583/resting-and-sitting-becomes-major-preoccupation. Accessed 23 July 2021.
Office of the Government Economist. (2019). Population ageing trend of Hong Kong. https://www.hkeconomy.gov.hk/en/pdf/el/el-2019-02.pdf. Accessed 23 July 2021.