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The Representation of Older People in Japanese Television Advertising

This paper presents preliminary results of the project “Advertising to the Silver Market in Japan,” which examines how older people are represented and targeted in Japanese television advertising. We conducted a content analysis of a systematic sample of television commercials from the years 1997 and 2007. This paper presents the first results of our content analysis, which focuses on the representation of older people in television commercials. Analyzing a total of 2972 unduplicated commercials, our study is the biggest of its kind ever undertaken, and is also the first study that compares two systematically sampled periods of time. The overall results of this research confirmed major findings from previous research in various countries and include: a general underrepresentation of older people; an even more pronounced underrepresentation of older females; an inside setting for most commercials featuring older people; their appearance predominantly with other age groups, and finally, that they mostly appear in commercials advertising food or beverages. What we add to these findings is the increasing importance of older celebrities, and the general increase of older people over the ten year period from 1997 to 2007.



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