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Brands Are Missing a Market Opportunity in the 50-Plus

Mirror/Mirror: AARP 2019 Survey of Women's Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media

Companies seeking to improve sales and connect with consumers should produce advertising campaigns that show people of all ages.

Advertisers should show ads with age diversity especially if they want to target consumers ages 50-plus, who say they are eager to buy from brands that represent them, according to the results of a new AARP survey.

The survey found that, overall, 69% of consumers ages 50 and older say media images are ageist, and 62% of consumers in the same group would consider switching to a brand they feel represents people their age. Among women ages 50 and older, this openness to switching brands based on representation jumps to 70%.

However, the desire for age diversity in ads is not limited to the older population. Among adults ages 18 and older, more than 70% say they are more likely to buy from brands whose ads feature people who are a mix of ages.

Consumers ages 50-plus overwhelmingly (80%) say that marketers portray their lifestyle based on stereotypes. Furthermore, 70% say they are more likely to buy brands that feature people their age in advertisements.

Although women ages 50 and older are decision-makers for their households, they are feeling particularly overlooked. Three in four women in this group feel people their age are under-represented in media imagery, and more than half feel invisible when viewing ads.

With more than 80% of consumers ages 18-plus saying they feel better about brands that feature a mix of ages in their ads, age diversity in ads provides the opportunity for brands to connect with consumers of all ages. 

Data for this survey were collected by Hotspex Inc. through an online survey via Dynata Panel targeting panelists ages 18 and older and supplemented with offline intercepts among unacculturated Hispanics/Latinos. Interviews were conducted from July 2 to July 16 in English and Spanish among 3,337 adults aged 18 and older. Data for the general population (n=2,527) were weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, region, and education to be representative of the U.S. general population ages 18 and older.

For more information, please contact Colette Thayer at For media inquiries, please contact


Suggested citation:

Thayer, Colette, and Angela Houghton. Mirror/Mirror: AARP 2019 Survey of Reflections on Age, Beauty, and Media. Washington, DC: AARP Research, October 2019.

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