The ethical advertising covenant: regulating ageism in UK advertising

Carrigan, Marylyn and Szmigin, Isabelle (2000). The ethical advertising covenant: regulating ageism in UK advertising. International Journal of Advertising, 19(4) pp. 509–528.



Although for many years policy makers and societal groups within the USA have considered age discrimination to be a legitimate issue within social policy, Europe has been slower to accept that there is a problem to be tackled. Age discrimination is not necessarily considered something to be taken seriously, and this lack of awareness manifests itself in a range of ageist behaviour within UK and European society. The advertising industry is as guilty as any other sector of perpetuating stereotypes and discrimination related to age. Advertising plays an important part not only in how older people view themselves, but also in how the rest of society responds to age and ageing. This paper will examine the case of ageism within the UK advertising industry in the context of recent social policy initiatives, and puts forward the case for regulatory change to encourage age diversity rather than age discrimination within advertising.

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