19 May 2022, 09:11

Saga appoints first ‘Head of Experience’ to challenge stereotypes of Ageing

London – 19th May 2022: Saga, the UK's specialist in products and services for people over 50, today announces the appointment of Danny Clarke, aka ‘The Black Gardener’, as its first ever Head of Experience – initially a 3-month new role that will see him work with the business to challenge stereotypes of ageing in business, the media and society.

Despite starting out with a career in sales, following a round-the-world trip, Clarke decided to bid farewell to his traditional career path in favour of following his passion for gardening.  Danny shot to fame at the ripe age of 58 when he was crowned BBC’s Instant Gardener. His career is going from strength to strength in his early 60s as he continues to make a name for himself as one of the nation’s leading garden designers, on a mission to make horticulture a hobby for people of all ages. As a regular contributor to Saga Magazine, Danny is living proof of the value of life experience and that starting a successful new career should not be the preserve of the young.

In his new role as Saga’s Head of Experience, Danny will consult with Saga’s marketing team, to add his perspective on the diversity of lived experienced for people over 50, and the People team, to help build Saga’s recruitment and retention efforts around ‘experience in the workplace’. As part of his role, he will also meet colleagues at Saga HQ for an open discussion on what it means to be ‘experienced’ in the workplace. 

Saga aims to understand and serve older people in the UK better than any other brand and Danny’s appointment complements its recent acquisition of the Big Window, a behavioural insight specialist with a focus on people over 50, and the appointment of Dr Emma Kirkby-Geddes, a chartered psychologist who is an expert on people over 50 in the UK.

Danny will document his journey via his Instagram channel where he will share anecdotes on the value of his own personal experiences, why breaking stereotypes around aging is so important and the lessons and people he encounters through his new Head of Experience role.

Challenging stereotypes of ageing

The appointment is a key part of Saga’s wider data, digital and brand strategy, which champions what Saga is calling “Generation Experience” – the discerning, sharp and savvy people over 50 who bring a wealth of vibrant life experience to society and represent over a third of the UK population.

Saga customers feel on average 14 years younger than they are, and most people over 50 feel (71%) feel that representation of them in the media is unfairly focused on age. Contrary to stereotypes, the majority lead active lifestyles and feel they have a lot to give. For example:

  • Not quitting the day job: 71% of people aged between 50 and 64 remain in work
  • Adding value: 63p of every £1 will be spent by people over 65 in 2040
  • Defying definition: 82% of Generation Experience don’t want to be defined by age
  • New friendships through work: 24% of 65-74year olds and 31% of 75+year olds have made valuable friendships through voluntary work

People over 50 are the fastest growing demographic in the UK, and one that holds the most spending power comparatively. 28.2 million people will be over the age of 50 by 2031 in the UK, and 63p of every £1 will be spent by people over 65 in 2040. Saga aims to make people think differently about age, ensuring people over 50 are not left out of the debate about the need for greater cultural representation.

Danny Clarke said: “I found my passion later in life and now in my 60s, I truly feel like I’m just getting started. I’m proof that it’s not about age but experience, and I think millions of my fellow over-50s up and down the country will agree.

“I am excited to work with Saga, drawing on my belief that following your passion and taking up new hobbies such as horticulture can be accessible to anyone without judgement or preconceptions, and that we should all experience new things and live life to the full, regardless of age.”  

Stuart Beamish, Chief Customer Officer of Saga Group, said: “Too often, decision-makers in big businesses take a one-size-fits-all approach to thinking about age. This does not reflect reality, as Danny’s experience of a career change at 53 shows.

“Our new Head of Experience programme will shed light on the diversity of ‘experience’ for people over 50 in the UK and help ensure we can continue to attract and retain colleagues and customers alike.”



Jemma Savage

Notes to editors

For further information, contact saga@headlandconsultancy.com

Notes to Editors

About Saga

Saga is a leading provider of products and services carefully developed over the past 70 years to become one of the most recognised and trusted brands among UK consumers over 50. The Saga brand has been Saga is synonymous in the UK with the over 50s market and is recognised for its high-quality products and services. These include cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing and the UK’s award-winning Saga Magazine. Saga has also recently updated its Equity Release service which will now see customers benefit from Saga’s Money Back Guarantee and the Saga Service Promise.