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BizReport : Advertising : September 16, 2014


Marketers beware - research your target market or risk stereotyping

Advertising isn't hitting the mark when attempting to portray parents and older generations, new research suggests.

by Helen Leggatt

The portrayal of parenting, families and older generations isn't going down well with those demographics and marketers need to carefully consider their target audiences before succumbing to stock image stereotypes.

In a survey of 2,000 parents by AOL's parenting website, Parentdish, 7 out of 10 respondents felt that advertising did not portray the true image of today's parenthood. Nearly three-quarters (71%) want to see fathers portrayed in a more positive light and more than half (54%) want to see more single-parent families used in advertising.

Last month, a survey of 400 seniors (age 70+) by marketing communication agency GlynnDevins, found that 60% thought seniors featured in advertising were awash with stereotypes. Major gripes were that seniors were portrayed at two extremes - either 'too good to be true' or 'too bad to be true' leaving just 37% being able to identify with the subjects.

Earlier this year a survey of 1,305 people between the age of 50 and 64 conducted by High50, a online global community designed for people over the age of 50, found that two-thirds feel that brands are 'not at all' or 'barely' interested in targeting them. A fifth believes they are totally excluded from brand marketing.

"Avoid the trap of stock images that play to the stereotypes," advises GlynnDevins, talking specifically about senior living communities but whose advice applies equally to any demographic being targeted. "Invest in original photography to use in your communication."

Peter Altschuler, Chief Creative Officer at Wordsworth & Co., advises marketers to "do the research".

"Find out what people really care about... and look like. Then build a story - a campaign - around that," commented Altschuler on the Bizreport website. "The notion that consumers want to see aspirational or inspirational portrayals of themselves or want to feel superior to characters who might resemble a neighbor they don't like is just that - a notion. And it's usually held by someone who isn't part of the target market."






Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, demographic, research, stock images, targeting ads








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