Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Culture Does Matter for Female Elders' Responses to Age Segmentation Cue (ASC) of Ads

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Culture Does Matter for Female Elders' Responses to Age Segmentation Cue (ASC) of Ads

Article excerpt


The elderly consumers have been overlooked and advertisements targeting them are comparatively fewer in mainstream media than those for main target consumers. As the number of senior citizens has dramatically increased, marketers and advertisers have paid more attention to the potential of grey markets. In particular, older consumers' subjective perceptions of age have been attractive to practitioners of marketing and advertising. Many researchers have consistently indicated that the elderly tend to deny chronological age (physical age) and gauge subjective age with discrepancies between inner age and age of birth [1-4].

The term subjective perceived age implies that consumers eventually tend to seek congruity between a private self-image as a senior citizen and a more "youthful" social self-image, given the motivation to resolve discrepant selves [5]. Barak and Gould (1985) applied self- concept for the elderly's perception of age and indicated that "self-concept constructs tend to be concerned with subjectively perceived reality and not with objectively measured reality as in the instance of chronological age" (p. 53). Brubaker and Powers [6] showed that the process of accepting membership in the category old indicated that there is considerable variation in the age at which individuals are willing to label themselves as old. These findings provide evidence that differences exist among the elderly in the relationship between their chronological age and their subjective interpretation of that age.

The main concern of the present study is whether the elderly's perception of subject age and self-concept influences their responsiveness to advertisements with age segmentation cues, the most common means through which marketers inform the elderly of product offerings that possess age- related benefits. Age segmentation cue (ASC) refers to the contextual elements of promotional materials that reference an older age, such as elderly models, "senior citizen" labels, or explicit age specifications, such as "over 50" [7].

Based on labeling theory, the study finds that the elders' perception of age influences on the elderly consumers' responses to age segmentation cues and that a significant difference(s) between American and Korean elders in subject age and self-concept influence rejection or acceptance of ASCs, by employing a survey embedded in two print advertisements with ASC and without ASC. The comparative study between American and Korean elderly will contribute to a better understanding of social and cultural influences on the elderly's socio-psychological aspects.

Literature Review

A theoretical foundation of the study is labeling theory, which is based on the framework of the self-concept theory. Researchers' concerns with self-concept in the fields of advertising and marketing are primarily based on the assumption that a product is consumed not only by itself but also by its image. The consumption of images associated with the product reflects social, psychological, and cultural values as well as the socioeconomic status (SES) of consumers. In this vein, labeling theory has contributed to explicating the elderly consumers' tendency to resist the presentation or offering with clues of age segmentation in advertisements and promotion materials. The literature review of the present study includes overviews of labeling theory, previous studies which the labeling concept has been applied to, and possible cultural differences in the elderly of American and Korean societies.

Labeling theory

Labeling theory conceptions and applications premise social reaction as the force responsible for defining acts and actors as deviant by applying Goffman's [8] notion of stigma which originated in social psychological studies of deviance [9]. According to Goffman [8], stigma implies an attribute that deviates from expectations, is discrediting, and results in disgrace or shame. Labeling results from a variety of deviant statues, including "physical stigma" or deviations from physical norms; "tribal stigmas" of race, nation, religion, and social status, and "blemishes of individual character" resulting from violations of cultural social norms. …

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