Cultural Age and Seniorism in Advertising

Age and ageing are topics with immediate interest. The reason why, is that many western countries are facing a situation where people live longer and have more elderly in society than ever before. This issue has been noticed in very different contexts, mainly with a worrying tone. In a marketing context ( journals, seminars, advertising agencies) the born of a lucrative market is announced and e.g. different ways of segmenting the usually 50+-market has been developed. In a market communication context the lack of representation of older models in advertisements has been discussed mainly in academic journals ( e.g. Szmigin&Carrigan) but also in popular magazines. The starting point for the study in this article, was to find out stereotypes about old age and this developed into the search for patterns in peoples talk about an older person. How people talk about older models in advertisements and how old age is constructed through this talk is the main aim of this article. 143 accounts about older models in advertisements were gathered during the autumn 2003 and the accounts triggered by one advertisement for bras is analysed in this article. Age is here seen as socially constructed and the role of advertising is seen as important in this social construction. The contribution is mainly in consumer gerontology and consumer culture.


Maria Suokannas (2005) ,"Cultural Age and Seniorism in Advertising", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research.


Maria Suokannas, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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