How older persons are portrayed in television advertising: Implications for educators

Roger Hiemstra, Maureen Goodman, Mary Ann Middlemiss, Richard Vosco, Nancy Ziegler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This article describes an examination of recent television ads, primarily in respect to the treatment of older persons. The purpose was to analyze the ads to determine if older people and images of aging are portrayed in negative or stereotypical ways. A total of 136 commercials were selected for content analyses. The sample of older persons and people of other age groups were viewed and coded by a minimum of two judges. The most significant finding was the absence of the elderly in television commercials. Only 11 of 358 human characters were judged to be 60 or older, only 41 were 50 or older. Of the 130 human characters judged to be central figures, only 6 were thought to be 60 or older. This article provides several implications for educators. They center around the notion that the educator must become assertive in helping both the older person and the Madison Avenue executive take steps to portray the older person more positively and realistically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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