Older Adults Make Up Just 4% Of People Featured In Ads

Brands are still significantly underrepresenting the large, affluent audience of people over age 60, according to a new analysis from CreativeX. 

The creative tech company analyzed more than 126,000 global ads released in 2022, which were supported by $124 million in ad spend. 

The study found just 4% of people cast in ads were over age 60. That age group represents 16% of the U.S. population alone. 

The 60-plus demographic has a higher disposable income than younger generations, and represents 25% of global spending power, yet only 3% of digital media budgets are allocated to ads featuring this audience, according to CreativeX. 

When older adults are shown in ads, nearly two-thirds (65%) of them were shown in family or domestic settings. And although the average retirement age is now 66 and rising, fewer than 1% of older adults were cast in ads that showed them in professional or leadership environments.

When older adults were shown on screen, almost two thirds (65%) of them were featured in family and domestic settings. Despite the average retirement age standing at 66 and going up, less than 1% of older adults were cast in ads that placed them in professional or leadership environments.   

Previous research by CreativeX found under-representation of females in general, and older women in particular, in advertising. Women 60 and over accounted for under 2% of all people in ads. While 10% of women ages 26 to 59 were shown in leadership or professional situations in ads, this dropped to under 1% for women over 60. 

“Today’s ads continue to paint a picture of our society that’s not representative, or inclusive, of what we see in the real world,” sums up Anastasia Leng, founder and CEO of CreativeX, who adds that the ability to analyze these practices at scale represents a first step toward implementing more inclusive campaigns.

3 comments about "Older Adults Make Up Just 4% Of People Featured In Ads".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, August 22, 2023 at 6:17 p.m.

    As a daily watch of ads of all kinds, I think it's even worse. Example, medicne ads that the target market should be for Seniors, the actors are played by younger people.  I guess one could jokeinggly say that older folks don't get sick.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 23, 2023 at 7:46 a.m.

    Yes, but to be fair, what percentage of these ads feature at least one older person? If a commercial shows a crowd of happy mostly younger people---say 10-20  of them and only two old folks, then the latter's percentage will be very low. But the older  folks were still represented. Also, what does represent mean? To what extent were the older people shown or given more important roles? How many commercials featured  older people in prominant roles? Do we really expect advertisers to go by a quota rule and make 16% of the faces seen to any extent in their ads people who seem to be 60+?

  3. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment replied, August 23, 2023 at 8:32 a.m.

    Research also shows that most elderly people don't want to identify as elderly and still have aspirations for youth - so showing grandma rocking an iPhone doesn't necessarily motivate a 30 year old to go out and get one either.

    Is there a petition from AARP to have more seniors represented in ads?

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