Transport for London (TfL) has put itself in the driving seat of efforts to better represent the elderly in advertising after hosting a Diversity in Advertising competition to address inauthentic and one-dimensional portrayals of older people.
Won by vaginal moisturizer producer Replens, the competition will see the bold and imaginative campaign introduced to commuters courtesy of £500k worth of free advertising via JCDecaux and Global.
How were the TfL judges won over?
Replens emerged victorious after being commended for reducing the stigma around the use of an intimate product that some women may feel embarrassed about.
The ’Sex Never Gets Old’ entry was led by The Gate London.
Rossana Doldi, head of healthcare at Church & Dwight UK, said on behalf of Replens: “We are thrilled the Replens ’Sex Never Gets Old’ campaign has been honored in this important competition focused on tackling ageism in advertising. Age, intimacy and sex are rarely referenced in advertising when discussing those aged over 55. Our campaign captures a diverse range of older people as sexual beings in beautiful and emotional moments of their intimacy, celebrating age and breaking down misconceptions surrounding these unspoken aspects in later life."
Deputy mayor Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard said: “This year’s winner beautifully celebrates older people. It also captures diversity in all its intersectional forms, including reflecting same-sex relationships while also highlighting an important issue for women. London is the most diverse city on the planet and it is vital that this is reflected through advertising campaigns that we see around our city.”
Brompton, the UK’s largest bike manufacturer, took second place courtesy of a campaign message by Antidote that flipped the meaning of ’getting on’ by transforming negative connotations of being stuck in your ways to showing older people getting on their bikes.
Does advertising have an ageism problem?
According to research by Lloyds Banking, people aged 65 and over accounted for 17.7% of the UK population in 2016 but featured in just 6.17% of advertising.
Separate research conducted by UCL for the 2018 Diversity in Advertising competition found that respondents aged 55 and up felt ’invisible’ and ’irrelevant’.
How is TfL addressing such concerns?
Launched in 2018, the annual diversity competition addresses imbalances in advertising on the transport network, with this year’s brief being to replace inauthentic portrayals of over-55s with more considered work.
Past competitions have focussed on the one-dimensional portrayal of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities.