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Gendered ageism: the new sexism in advertising

28 Oct 2022
View article on Creative Brief
or read below
“As soon as I turned 50, advertisers suddenly stopped telling me I should buy Chanel and started telling me I smelled of wee.”

Earlier this year at Creative Equals’ Rise conference Havas’ Vicki Maguire aptly put into words the shared experience that older women face when it comes to representation in advertising. 

If not absent from communications completely, older women are used to reinforce lazy, damaging stereotypes reserved for the likes of anti-aging products. Where women hold around 80% of the purchase power, dismissing them is lazy at best and at worst bad business strategy.

Lack of representation on screen is reflective of an industry with a working environment where older women are also dismissed. With the pandemic having disproportionately affected women and 85% of the industry lacking a menopause policy, simply not enough is being done to retain older women.

Some campaigns are already working to shifting the dial toward greater representation and fighting against taboos such as the likes of Tena’s #LastLonelyMenopause and Prodigious and VivaWomen!’s #BreaktheBias but there remains room for more representation especially in campaigns that aren’t centered around stereotypically ‘female’ issues.

We asked industry experts, should brands be doing a better job of representing and reflecting the experiences of older women in advertising?

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