Coral Cripps
Aug 22, 2023

Over-60s make up just 4% of people in global ads

Brands are overlooking a lucrative audience, according to CreativeX.

Ageism in adland: less than 1% of ads depict older adults in professional or leadership-based settings
Ageism in adland: less than 1% of ads depict older adults in professional or leadership-based settings

Only 4% of people appearing in global ads are over the age of 60, according to a study from creative data platform CreativeX. 

An analysis conducted by the company assessed more than 126,000 global ads released in 2022, which featured in excess of 25,000 people from ads for FMCG, food, beverage, healthcare and alcohol brands. The ads in question represented $124 million in adspend.

While just a single-digit percentage of over-60s appeared in ads, that age group accounts for nearly a quarter (23%) of the UK population. The study also found that only 3% of digital media budgets were being allocated to ads featuring older adults. 

Additional findings from the analysis determined that the ad settings featuring older adults was limited. When shown on screen, almost two-thirds (65%) of older adults were shown in “family and domestic settings”, while less than 1% of older adults were depicted in professional or leadership-based environments. This, according to CreativeX, is not an accurate representation of global spending power.

Citing a 2019 Barclays report, which found that the global spending power of over 60s was set to reach $15 trillion by 2020 – and coupling this data with current global consumer spend (which is $58 trillion, according to Statista) – the company said that brands are overlooking older consumers and therefore missing out on a lucrative audience.

Anastasia Leng, founder and chief executive of CreativeX, said: “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.”

The analysis follows a previous study conducted by CreativeX, which analysed data from more than 10,000 ads released between 2021 and 2022. 

It found that representation of women over 60 is extremely low, accounting for less than 2% of women in all ads. Also, while 10% of 26- to 50-year-old women were depicted in professional or leadership roles in ads, this number dropped to under 1% for women over the age of 60.

Leng added: “While these findings may not be a shock to many, our ability to measure at this level of granularity and track our casting and storytelling decisions in near real time, is a technical feat: we finally have the tools in place to analyse something previously opaque at unprecedented scale. This is the first step towards ushering in greater creative inclusivity and making ads that represent us in our many multi-dimensional ways.”

Campaign UK

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