Getty Images and AARP teamed up to launch a collection of images called the “Disrupt Aging Collection,” to squash senior stereotypes and encourage inclusive representation of the audience in marketing.
Representation has become a core element of brand marketing today yet older generations are consistently left out of the picture. If they are in the picture, that image depicts aging as a time of isolation or a lifestyle devoid of intergenerational friendships.
There are over 114 million Americans over the age of 50, which according to the Longevity Economy 2016 report, contribute $7.6 trillion in annual spending yet 80 percent of them agree they’re stereotyped by marketers. Hence Getty Images and AARP’s “Disrupt Aging Collection,” a bank of 1,400 images that capture moments to help break stereotypes and combat ageist biases in advertising.
A quick search of the word “woman” in the collection yields several images of seniors enjoying physically active lifestyles, managing their businesses and engaging with technology—the opposite of how they’re traditionally depicted. Searches for “senior/seniors” on Getty Images increased 151 percent year-over-year from June 2018 to June 2019. Searches for celebratory moments that involve others and moments with family have been trending with increases two to tenfold year-over-year, according to Dr. Rebecca Swift, global head of creative insights, Getty Images.
An AARP analysis, which reviewed a sample of more than 1,000 images, found that only 15 percent of media imagery reflects seniors despite the fact that 46 percent of the US adult population is over 50. The analysis also found that while one-third of the US labor workforce are 50 and older, only 13 percent of the images showed this age group in a work setting.
Getty and AARP’s initiative follows additional AARP research showing perceived ageism influences seniors’ shopping habits. Seventy percent of people 50 and over said they’re more likely to buy from brands that feature people their age in marketing. Similarly, 80 percent of the same group says that marketers assume their lifestyle is based on stereotypes and 62 percent would consider switching to a brand that represents people their age. People across generations prefer a mix of ages in ads too, as 81 percent of people 18 and over feel better about brands that feature a mix of ages in marketing. Consumers 18 and over are also more likely to buy from brands that do so.