Current Issue Summary
March 2023 (Vol. 63, Issue 1)
Why Casting Older Female Models Is Good for Advertising: The Positive Effects of Challenging the Underrepresentation of Older Women in Ads
Research dating back to the 1980s advised advertisers to avoid featuring older women in ads. Today, companies increasingly use mature models to promote their products. Research by Hanna Berg and Karina T. Liljedal (both at Stockholm School of Economics) shows positive effects occurring from these casting choices. Nevertheless, older women remain underrepresented in advertising. “A 2019 analysis by AARP Research showed that, although 46 percent of U.S. adults are age 50 years or older, only 15 percent of the online media images include people of this age,” the authors write. Four experiments were conducted comparing the effects of ads of mostly female-gendered products, featuring older and younger female decorative models. The effects of featuring older decorative models were positive for both younger and older female consumers, and “these effects can be explained by increased social connectedness with the decorative models,” Berg and Liljedal write.
Among other takeaways:
- “Advertisers could beneﬁt from considering older women as decorative models in ads.
- “For male consumers, responses do not differ between ads featuring older and younger female decorative models.
- “Ads featuring older female decorative models also have positive effects on social connectedness, brand attitudes and purchase intentions.”