Data: Marketers missing a trick as over-60s make up just 4% of people in ads

Brands and marketers are failing to represent consumers in the over-60 age group, leading them to miss out on a lucrative audience, according to the latest research from creative data platform Creative X.

The report – which examined more than 126,000 global ads released in 2022, costing a total of £97.3m ($124m) – reveals that only 4% of people featured in the adverts were over the age of 60, despite this age group making up almost a quarter (23%) of the UK population.

With a higher disposable income than younger generations, the over-60s demographic represents roughly 25% of global spending power, despite only 3% of digital media budgets being allocated to ads featuring this audience.

In addition, even when older adults (over-60s) were shown on screen, almost two-thirds (65%) of them were featured in family and domestic settings, while less than 1% of older adults were cast in ads that placed them in professional or leadership environments.

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The data echoes previous research by Creative X that reported even worse figures for women over 60: women in this age group accounted for less than 2% of all people in ads.

While 10% of women aged 26-59 were shown in leadership or professional situations in ads, this dropped to under 1% for women aged 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,” said Creative X founder and CEO Anastasia Leng.

“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 an 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.”

The news follows brands like JD Williams revamping their marketing to include older women in campaigns that call out the stereotypes surrounding over-60s.

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