IACE Hall of Fame Repository


How older persons are portrayed in television advertising: Implications for Educators

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This article describes an examination of recent television ads, primarily in respect to the treatment of older persons. The purpose was to analyze the ads to determine if older people and images of aging are portrayed in negative or stereotypical ways. A total of 136 commercials were selected for content analyses. The sample of older persons and people of other age groups were viewed and coded by a minimum of two judges. The most significant finding was the absence of the elderly in television commercials. Only 11 of 358 human characters were judged to be 60 or older, only 41 were 50 or older. Of the 130 human characters judged to be central figures, only 6 were thought to be 60 or older. Several implications for educators were determined. They center around the notion that the educator must become assertive in helping both the older person and the Madison Avenue executive take steps to portray the older people more positively and realistically.


Nancy (Ziegler) Gadbow

Maureen Goodman

Mary Ann Middlemiss

Richard Vosko

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