Oldies deserve an ad break says new ITV/System 1 research

We all know that older people have the most money (60% of the UK’s wealth) but they’re still under-represented in TV ads says new research from ITV and System 1 – appearing in 23% of ads despite making up nearly a third of the UK population and accounting for 65% of TV impressions.

System1’s Test your Ad platform found that the average score for the ads in its ‘Wise Up’ report was 3.76-Stars among the general public but and an average 2.96-Stars for older audiences. System1’s Star Rating from 1 to 5.9 predicts long-term brand growth based on the emotional response people have to the creative.

System1’s Jon Evans says: “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.”

ITV director of client strategy and planning Kate Waters says: “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.”

Creatives will nearly always go for bright young things to liven up their (often idea-free) offerings, at least the bigger budget ones on ITV. Smaller, digital channels are awash with oldies arranging funerals and booking life insurance. ITV might also be asked why it doesn’t make more programmes featuring older people, at least ones who aren’t at death’s door.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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