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The Drum Show: tackling the industry's age-old issue with ageism


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

November 8, 2019 | 4 min read

On the back of Getty Images' decision to launch The Disrupt Aging Collection, this weeks episode of The Drum Show tackles ageism and the representation of older people in advertising.

The Drum Show: The industry's age-old issue with ageism

The Drum Show: The industry's age-old issue with ageism

Host Stephen Lepitak, The Drum's editor, is joined by Lara Crisp, editor of Granset and Jacqui Kavanagh, senior vice-president of Revenue at Refinery29.

Earlier this week, in a bid to shatter stereotypes of ageing, Getty Images created a collection of 1,400 images that represent the over 50s category. The move worked to tackle the issue of ageism.

Established eight years ago, Gransnet is an online community for the over-50s that includes a discussion forum where users offer each other advice and support.

Crisp said the community "feel that they are still are invisible for the most part in ads and that they're just not represented at all."

And she said when they are, its a really bad representation. "In their own words in the forum, they feel they're either represented as 'banal old crones' or they have this glossy pensioner with white teeth look. And the reality is most of them are in the middle - they're just normal real-life looking people and those are the people that they want to see in ads. They just want to see themselves."

Earlier this year, for one day Refinery29 changed its name to Refinery59, as part of an anti-ageing initiative that aimed to shift attitudes surround society's view of ageing. But Kavanagh said, even before then, the publisher has a rich history of shining a spotlight on the issue and focusing on it editorially.

She noted an article written back in 2016, written by Caryn Franklin about the unexpected upside of the menopause.

"There's a line that stood out which is 'ageing without compromise is one of the most deliciously subversive things that a woman can do.' We've been having this conversation for a long time. Part of refinery's DNA is representation and finding those areas where they have been underrepresented and speaking to them directly is important for us."

Kavanagh spoke how 15% of Refinery29's audience is actually over the age of 50. "Part of our strategy as a business is to continue to grow and scale our audience but to do it in a strategic and smart way. So we wanted to speak to, and grow this community of 15% over 50s," she said.

Elsewhere, Debbie Morrison, managing director at Ebiquity revealed her bullshit buzzword. While Unilever-owned brand Unox took The Drum's Work of the Week crown for an animation that celebrated the launch of its vegetarian range in the Netherlands.

The Drum Show will be hosted on LinkedIn and Twitter each Friday afternoon, bringing together voices from across the industry to talk about the top stories of the week.


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