What's the Score? A Content Analysis of Mature Adults in Super Bowl Commercials

Mary E. Brooks, Shannon Bichard, Clay Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on the rising mature adult population (those aged 65+), the importance of advertisers recognizing this consumer group is imperative to businesses and consumers alike. Thus, this content analysis of 272 Super Bowl commercials, from the last 5 years (2010–2014), applied framing theory to examine how mature audiences are represented in one of the most expensive and highly viewed advertising venues. Previous research suggests that older adults are typically underrepresented in all media and often stereotyped. This study shows the opposite is true for recent Super Bowl commercials. Mature adults are prominently featured in nearly one-third (31.99%) of all ads analyzed—more than double their proportion in the general population and Super Bowl audience—and are framed most often in a positive light (80.49%). This indicates a promising shift from depictions that alienate to a more inclusive culture where mature adults are part of the media landscape and recognized as a key consumer base. Results do show, however, that women and minorities (especially Hispanics/Latinos) continue to be significantly under-represented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-366
Number of pages20
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

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