How it all began: a history of scholarship on the representation of older adults in German advertising

Olsen, Dennis (2019) How it all began: a history of scholarship on the representation of older adults in German advertising. In: Proceedings of the 19th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM), 16-19 May 2019, Ottawa, Canada.

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Purpose – Despite the regular output of new research on the representation of older adults in German advertising, most researchers in the field have worked in a vacuum; ignoring previous studies, leading to a very heterogeneous field with limitations in terms of comparability and significance. This paper attempts to raise awareness of the existing original research on the topic and active researchers, by drafting a history of scholarship.

Methodology/approach – This paper employs a mixed method approach, utilising quantitative indicators to systematically examine existing literature, and subsequently enriching the insight with qualitative findings concerning the origination of the research, as well as connections between outputs.

Findings – Research on the topic has a long tradition in Germany and it has inspired contributions from a variety of disciplines. Social Sciences provided the initial contributions to the field; but, over time, Humanities and Arts disciplines appear to have become the main drivers of the discourse. Three discernible phases of research were identified throughout the investigation period – a lag phase (1970s and 1980s), growth phase (1990s) and peak phase (2000s) – and three key authors, namely Gerhard Naegele, Hans Wilhelm Jürgens and Caja Thimm.

Limitations – Due to access restrictions, the cut-off for literature included in the paper is 31 December 2010.

Originality/value – The list of relevant research literature in this paper is the most comprehensive compilation of its kind to date in Germany and, in combination with the history of scholarship, can guide future research in terms of background searches and alignment of work.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Page Range: pp. 139-156
Keywords: image of aging, advertising, history of scholarship, Germany
Subjects: Media > Media history and theory
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dennis Olsen
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2023 10:20
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023 11:50


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