PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

The communications briefing: Older people ‘shunned and caricatured’ in marketing images claims AARP

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 

Marketers are ignoring older people, AARP warns
AARP, the advocacy organisation which works on behalf of older Americans, warned that marketers are ignoring older consumers – who they assert hold trillions of dollars in spending power. The older crowd is "shunned and caricatured" in marketing images, it claimed, perpetuating "unrealistic stereotypes and contributing to age discrimination". Though more than 53m people older than 50 are employed, making up a third of the American labour force according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 13% of images reviewed by AARP showed older people working, and despite 69% of people between 55 and 73 owning a smartphone, less than 5% of images AARP saw showed older generations handling technology. Martha Boudreau, AARP’s chief communications and marketing officer, complained that recent ads have characterized older people as selfish and out of touch – and even described being 50 years old as “basically dead.”
New York Times

Cision publishes revealing 'State of the Freedom of the Press' report
Following on from its State of the Media Report, which surveyed nearly 2,000 journalists from 10 countries around the world earlier this year, Cision published its State of the Freedom of the Press report – detailing journalists' concerns around safety, freedom of the press, trust in the media and other concerns. Some 69% of US journalists felt that the public lost trust in the media this year, down from 78% in 2018 – indicating a shift in perception and attitude. Kristen Sala, Cision's senior director of US media research, comments: "The media plays a pivotal role in helping PR professionals get their messages out to the public. Therefore, it's up to the PR industry to continue to help strengthen that relationship by supporting journalists with legitimate data and evidence, along with valuable information and unique ideas."
PR Newswire

WIPR opens Wales branch
Women in PR (WIPR) UK, the networking organisation for women working in senior roles in PR and communications, opened a group in Wales – its first outside of London. Women in PR Cymru has been co-founded by Laurian Hubbard, currently seconded to the Cabinet Office as a Brexit campaign lead from the Intellectual Property Office, and Rachel Moss, who is head of communications at the Wales Audit Office. "We’ve got an exciting programme of activities lined up, which are designed to help members to be the very best versions of themselves in an industry where women are still under-represented at senior level," said Hubbard.
Insider Media

PR 'crucial' to professional services firms
Dominic Pollard, director of City Road Communications, underlined how public relations is crucial to the longevity of professional services firms. A firm's identity is its brand, he asserted, and developing a strong, consistent presence requires a PR strategy that focuses "on more than the component parts; one that is not preoccupied just with the here and now or a sales message but is instead centred on the core values of the business." Pollard outlined the evolution of a business, PR and brand building, and business identity and longevity as crucial pillars for consideration. This is key to ensure that a professional service company’s client-facing image – and the coverage it receives in the media – he added, is consistent and relevant.

M&C Saatchi hit by profit warning and accounting scandal
M&C Saatchi shares fell sharply on Tuesday after it warned that full-year profits would be lower than expected. The firm also said it had appointed PwC to review its books after it was caught up in an accounting scandal earlier this year.
The Times


Indian PM recognizes power of global community
Ian Hall, deputy director of research at the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, explored Narendra Modi's tour of the U.S. – suggesting that the Indian Prime Minister wisely recognizes the value of the Indian community globally. Dubbed “Howdy, Modi!”, the Indian premier’s tour entails 40 meetings in a very busy week – where he will also speak at the UN General Assembly, attend a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, and appear at the UN’s Climate Action Summit. India’s elections have become hugely expensive, he noted, this year some estimate that candidates spent at least $7bn – a significant proportion of which came from the Indian diaspora. As India’s economy began to falter in 2017, Hall explained, some thought the diaspora would withdraw their backing, however diaspora Indians continued to contribute a great deal of time and money to ensure Modi’s BJP were returned to office.

HSBC on PR offensive in China
HSBC, as the biggest foreign bank in China, launched a public-relations charm offensive in Beijing to protect its business and reputation. Amid the continuing U.S.-China trade war, the Hong Kong democracy protests and the fallout of its role in the U.S. prosecution of Huawei, the bank is desperate to persuade China that HSBC, which earns almost 75% of pretax profits in Greater China, is key to the region's growth ambitions. HSBC’s head of China, David Liao, is to go on a relationship-building tour of the editors of mainland media outlets and the bank will advertise more in the mainland press and target social-media ads to areas within 500 meters of government buildings to ensure policy makers see them.

Burger King champions the 'food coma'
Burger King Mexico and ad agency We Believers partnered for a campaign which champions the “food coma,” showcasing allegedly real Burger King diners who have happily fallen asleep after eating in their restaurants. The ads feature the location and time each shot was taken, and they’ve licensed them to run across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.

Prince used BBC’s Today as ‘PR exercise,’ Humphrys says
The Duke of Sussex’s appearance on the Today programme, invited as a guest editor, upset now-departed host John Humphrys. In his tell-all autobiography, the long-serving former BBC Radio anchor also targeted the rest of the Royal Family, saying its members need to “earn” the respect they ask for. "Let’s state the obvious. The Queen herself does a good job, and has done for a very long time. But the BBC should not treat the whole Royal Family apparatus as though it is beyond criticism," he said.
Daily Express

Google advertising overtakes Facebook
Google has increased its share of the app installation sector eightfold in the last five years and is now the largest player in the app marketing space, according to marketing analytics firm Appsflyer, which said Google ads now drive more app downloads than adverts on fierce rival Facebook. The growth is largely attributed to the dominance of its Android operating system in the mobile market. Broken down by region, Google’s growth was fastest in Latin American and southeast Asia in the first half of 2019.
City AM

Reputational risk

Juul suspends US advertising amidst mounting vaping concerns
E-cigarette maker Juul is suspending its broadcast, print and digital advertising in the United States – along with its lobbying efforts in Washington – as safety concerns over vaping increase. Its chief executive is also stepping down – to be replaced by a senior executive from Marlboro-maker Altria, which along with Philip Morris International, has called off discussions of a potential $200bn merger. The governor of Massachusetts has now declared a public health emergency and ordered a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products in the state – the first action of its kind in the nation.
The Independent

This briefing has been prepared by Early Morning Media.  If you are interested in a customised bespoke news briefing for you or your client across any vertical, please contact

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: