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AARP on combatting ageism in marketing

The marketing industry has deep-rooted issues when it comes to ageism. Across the board, commercials tend to cater to younger audiences, and brands and agencies have been known to lean on younger employees. Despite the rise of “grafluencers” — or older-aged influencers on social media — and efforts from brands to be more inclusive, a 2022 study from CreativeX found that only 4% of people cast in ads were over 60.

On this episode of The Current Podcast, Barbara Shipley, the senior VP of brand integration at AARP, describes the risk of casting out older generations from ads and organizations, and the danger of perpetuating myths associated with older generations.

AARP, a nonprofit long associated with retirement, has had to adapt its messaging to today’s world, in which Americans are living longer and longer, working well into their golden years. Shipley aims to show how AARP can benefit all Americans, even those as young as 18.

“Half of people in America that are 65 today are still working,” Shipley says on The Current Podcast. “So, to tell a story in an ad of people in their sixties with sort of blank stares, fumbling around technology — doddering fools, only vulnerable, wearing beige — does not tell the story of how people are actually living their lives today.”