Is an ageist ad industry making ageist ads?

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A survey of more than 2000 people of all ages working in media and advertising found that 66 per cent of respondents wanted to see more representation of over 50s in ads.

But of the people surveyed, 42 per cent have witnessed ageism towards others in their workplace and 32 per cent have experienced ageism themselves – compared with averages from workers across various industries in Britain of 19 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

It seems that ageist attitudes aren’t being overcome by people working in the industry and this is being repeated in the work they broadcast onto our screens, newspapers and streets, meaning that the true age diversity of Britain is not being shown and the over 50s are being widely ignored.

Some 79 per cent of those surveyed felt their industry comes across as ageist and 59 per cent thought advertising was a young person’s game.

In addition, 40 per cent of people surveyed in media marketing, advertising or PR aged 45 and over feel they lost out on a job because they were too old – double the average among workers nationally.

The ‘Age in the Workplace’ research also found that of those that have felt they lost out on a job because they were too old, 56 per cent have been told they were “overqualified” when being turned down for a job and 25 per cent have actually been told they were “too old” to do a job.

It seems an overhaul of attitudes in the industry is needed if we are to see adverts embrace, target and service the over 50s.

Jason Dormieux, the Chief Executive of MEC, said: “Ageism is a significant issue for the advertising and media industry because we play such an important role in defining portrayals of people in culture. Our new research highlights the need for a more accurate portrayal of people of all ages in ads, as well as the value in a balanced workforce: one that better reflects the UK’s diverse society, in which we are proud to work.”