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Images of older people in UK magazine advertising: Toward a typology

Williams, Angela Marian, Wadleigh, Paul Mark and Ylänne, Virpi 2010. Images of older people in UK magazine advertising: Toward a typology. International Journal of Aging and Human Development 71 (2) , pp. 83-114. 10.2190/AG.71.2.a

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The use of images of older people in the British advertising media has been under-researched to date. Further, previous research in any country has tended to examine such images from an a priori framework of general impressions and stereotypes of older people. This study addresses these issues with British consumers' (n = 106) impressions, trait ascriptions, and similarity-between-images ratings of a representative sample of U.K. magazine advertisements featuring older characters. After a series of sorting task laboratory sessions, multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analyses revealed four clearly defined groups representing types of portrayals. These types emerged from the advertisements and from the views of the consumers themselves. These emergent groupings are: (1) Frail and Vulnerable, (2) Happy and Affluent, (3) Mentors, (4) Active and Leisure-oriented older adults. These groupings seem to be a logical context-appropriate derivation from previous findings on generally held stereotypes of older persons. It is argued that the groupings have the potential to contribute to a reliable typology of advertising portrayals of older people, with potential heuristic leverage in social scientific research of intergenerational communication, lifespan concerns, and the aging process.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Publisher: Baywood Publishing Company
ISSN: 0091-4150
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:46

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