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Ageism Diversity and Inclusion Future of TV

ITV study finds advertisers are ignoring the silver pound


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 13, 2022 | 3 min read

Advertisers are missing a trick in chasing the silver pound, according to new research compiled by broadcaster ITV and marketing platform System1.


Advertisers accused of ageism in ITV’s Wise Up! report

Wise Up! flags the discrepancy in what is billed as the most comprehensive study to be conducted into age-based representation. Despite accounting for 65% of TV impressions and 60% of the UK’s wealth, the over-55s appear in just 23% of ads – significantly underrepresenting a cohort that numbers close to one-third of the UK population.

System1 conducted an in-depth analysis of 56 of the highest-profile adverts to measure the emotional response of different age groups, finding that older audiences are far harder to please than their younger compatriots, with just five scoring higher among the over-55s than the general population.

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Jon Evans, chief customer officer at System1, said: “The older demographic is a massive commercial opportunity for brands, but too often they’re ignored or portrayed inaccurately. Wise Up! is an actionable playbook that brands and agencies can follow to develop creative that entertains audiences and contributes to long-term growth.”

Overall older viewers were far more likely to complain of ad length, generic content and lack of interest than other groups, making them a tough nut to crack. Kate Waters, director of client strategy and planning at ITV, added: “With our latest report, we sought to first uncover how deep the age representation imbalance is in advertising and then highlight ways in which advertisers can bridge this gap. Putting the insights into practice will bring forward wonderful stories featuring older characters who are authentic, valued and part of a greater whole.”

The survey drew on data from 1,000 adverts covering 422 brands, which were then characterized based on age and gender, with far fewer older women promoting products than older men.

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