Belén Ávila-Rodríguez-de-Mier1 ESIC Business & Marketing School. Departamento de Comunicación y Publicidad
Noemí Martín-García2

1 University of Valladolid. Spain
2 ESIC Business & Marketing School. Spain

The accelerated aging of the population has caused the older ones to become a target group of high interest for some brands. Therefore, this work is proposed to know the opinion that seniors have about advertising and the degree of credibility they give to the ads depending on the issuer and the media that displays them. The methodology used to respond to this objective is based on interviews with individuals from 65 to 84 years old with active aging habits and living in Segovia capital (N=184). The results show some reluctance to advertising, especially among men and the youngest (65 to 74 years old), even though its usefulness is recognized. In addition, radio advertising and institutional advertising are perceived as more credible as opposed to the one issued on the internet and that other coming from political parties. This work is the starting point of a line of research aimed at knowing the behavior of seniors in their role as consumers of advertising. Its originality lies in offering a new and segmented information that can help plan communication strategies aimed at impacting a target group as heterogeneous and unknown as the senior.

KEY WORDS: senior, advertising, credibility, advertising media, advertisers, audience, target group

El acelerado envejecimiento de la población ha hecho que los mayores se estén convirtiendo en un público objetivo de alto interés para algunas marcas. Debido a ello, este trabajo se plantea con la finalidad de conocer la opinión que los sénior tienen de la publicidad y el grado de credibilidad que dan a los anuncios en función del emisor y del medio en el que sean expuestos. La metodología utilizada para dar respuesta a este objetivo está basada en entrevistas realizadas a individuos de 65 a 84 años con hábitos de envejecimiento activo y residentes en Segovia capital (N=184). Los resultados muestran cierto rechazo a la publicidad, especialmente entre los varones y los más jóvenes (65 a 74 años), a pesar de que se reconozca su utilidad. Además, la publicidad en radio y la publicidad institucional son percibidas como las más creíbles en contraposición con la emitida en internet y la proveniente de los partidos políticos. Su originalidad radica en ofrecer una información novedosa y segmentada que pueda ayudar a plantear estrategias de comunicación dirigidas a impactar a un público objetivo tan heterogéneo y desconocido como el sénior.

PALABRAS CLAVE: sénior, publicidad, credibilidad, medios publicitarios, anunciantes, audiencia, público objetivo

O acelerado envelhecimento da população fez com que as pessoas idosas se convertam em um público objetivo de alto interesse para algumas marcas. Devido a isso, este trabalho se propõe com a finalidade de conhecer a opinião que os idosos têm da publicidade e o grau de credibilidade que dão aos anúncios em função do emissor e do meio de comunicação em que sejam expostos. A metodologia utilizada para dar resposta a este objetivo está baseada em entrevistas realizadas a indivíduos de 65 a 84 anos com hábitos de envelhecimento ativo e residentes em Segóvia capital (N=184). Os resultados mostram certo rechaço a publicidade, especialmente entre os homens e os mais jovens (65 a 74), apesar de que reconhecem sua utilidade. Ademais, a publicidade em rádio e a publicidade institucional são percebidas como as mais credíveis em contraposição com a emitida em internet e a proveniente dos partidos políticos. Sua originalidade radica em oferecer uma informação nova e segmentada que possa ajudar a levantar estratégias de comunicação dirigidas a impactar a um público objetivo tão heterogênico e desconhecido como são os idosos.

PALAVRAS CHAVE: idosos, publicidade, credibilidade, meios publicitários, anunciantes, audiência, público objetivo

Correspondence: Belén Ávila-Rodríguez-de-Mier: ESIC Business & Marketing School. Spain
Noemí Martín-García: University of Valladolid. Spain.

Received: 19/08/2017
Accepted: 22/02/2019
Published: 15/07/2019

How to cite the article: Ávila-Rodríguez-de-Mier; B., and Martín-García, N. (2019). The senior population and its perception of advertising: influence of the media and the issuer. [La población sénior y su percepción de la publicidad: influencia del medio y del emisor]. Revista de Comunicación de la SEECI, 49, 19-37. doi:
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The gradual aging of the population and the growing commercial attractiveness of the senior public is making individuals aged 65 and over acquire great relevance for the advertising field. The old age of the Spanish population began to manifest itself in the year 2000 when the proportion of people over 64 years of age exceeded by 3% those under 16 years of age. A trend that reached a record in 2017 with an aging rate of 118 (National Statistics Institute -INE-, s.f.), that for every 100 children under 16 years there were 118 adults aged 65 and older. At the beginning of 2017, 19.9 % of the population (8.7 million) were people over 64 years of age (INE, 2016b) and, if the current demographic trend is maintained, it is estimated that this percentage may reach 25. 6 % (11.7 million) in 2031 and 34. 6% (14. 2 million) in 2066 (INE, 2016a).
This phenomenon of demographic aging has begun to be treated from the economics of aging and the sociology of old age as an opportunity for development and innovation (Bazo, 1992, Sánchez- Vera, 1996, 2000, Muñoz, Gallego and González, 2015). And, in the marketing and advertising sector, rather than as a problem, it is beginning to be managed as a business opportunity (Sánchez-Vera, 1996, Grande, 2001/2002, Escario, 2002, Furlong, 2007). In fact, according to a study carried out by Kantar Worldpanel in 2017, households inhabited by older people concentrate 29% of spending on highly consumed products (food, beverages, drugstore and perfume), a figure estimated to amount to 40% in 2030. All these data suggest that the survival of many companies goes through the reorientation to an increasingly aging market (Wallace, 2000, Estrada, Sánchez, Moliner and Fandos, 2010) and of which, to this day, little is still known about how they perceive advertising. Mancebo-Aracil (2014) points out in this regard that the main studies that relate the senior population to advertising and the media revolve more around the way in which this group is treated and represented than around their opinion about advertising. An example of this is the study by Ramos -Soler and Carretón-Ballester (2012) about the use made of the image of the elderly in television commercials.
The importance of advertising for the media is reflected in the more than five million euros invested in conventional media in 2017 that represent 0.46% of GDP (Infoadex, 2018). This sector of the media is characterized by having a mixed model of financing in which the income from advertising occupy a prominent place (Kind, Nilssen and Sørgard, 2005, Cea-Esteruelas, 2013, Campos- Freire, 2015). There is a strong dependency relationship between the media and the advertiser brands. On the one hand, the media sell audiences of high commercial appeal. And, on the other hand, brands seek a specific audience ‘mass’ that contacts their message and remembers it at the moment of the purchase decision. This memory of the advertising message, in addition to its creative peculiarities, depends on factors such as credibility, prestige and the capacity of influence that both the media and the advertiser exert on the audience (Victoria-Mas and Lacasa-Mas, 2015; Ávila-Rodríguez-de-Mier, 2016). Hence the growing interest of the media to create and develop credible and valuable brands that guarantee a commitment or engagement with their audience (Arrese, 2013, Calvo- Pereral, Martínez-Fernández and Juanatey-Boga, 2014). And, in addition, they generate levels of reliability, notoriety, social prestige and consumption that have a direct impact on their income (Choi, Watt and Lynch, 2006, Roses and Gómez -Campos, 2015).
This study is based on the idea that credibility is the result of a process in which the surveyed people evaluate, from their subjective emotional experience, the reliability of the source, the issuer, the content or any other informational element that may affect the object of study (Hovland and Weiss, 1951; Metzger, Flanagin, Eyal, Lemus and Mccann, 2003). In this sense, Del Barrio (2002) points out that “if a certain advertising message is perceived as very little credible by the audience, it will negatively affect the acceptance of the message and, therefore, the brand” (Del Barrio, 2002, p. 129). Hence the importance of knowing the credibility that the senior audience gives to the advertising message based on the medium in which it is presented and the type of advertiser that broadcasts it.
Research on credibility in the media environment is treated from different perspectives, becoming relatively common for the academic and professional field. Proof of this are the contributions of authors such as Rastrollo (2010) in her study on organizational credibility in the current information company. The author concludes in her research that credibility is an indicator of the good work of the company that becomes an intangible asset of great value that transcends the quality of the news. On the other hand, Roses y Farias-Batlle, (2012) affirm that the perception of credibility is closely associated with the level of schooling. Thus, for example, although television turns out to be the most credible medium, this position is occupied by the press among people with more schooling. From another perspective, Calvo-Porral et al. (2014) analyze the credibility of general newspapers and confirm their positive effect on consumer behavior and on the loyalty and willingness to accept new products and formats. Finally, it is worth highlighting the study carried out by the company Kantar in 2017 to 8,000 people from various countries such as Brazil, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. The multinational determines that trust in traditional versus digital media has been reinforced by the phenomenon of fake news. Further, they affirm that the printed magazines of general information are for 72% of the surveyed ones the medium that more confidence generates to them whereas the social networks are considered truthful for only 33% of respondents. According to the conclusions of this study, the depth with which news is covered is what keeps traditional media as more credible than digital media (, 2017).
However, as noted above, research on the credibility of advertising information is less numerous. In this sense, the contributions of authors such as Del Barrio (2002) or Zapata and Martínez-Caro (2016) stand out. Del Barrio (2002) showed that people perceive comparative advertising as less credible than non-comparative advertising. On the other hand, Zapata and Martínez-Caro (2016) concluded that, for the field of insurance, the honesty and experience of the prescriber are deciding factors in the purchase intention while their physical appearance is not so much.
 In the group of studies that relate credibility to advertising, research focused on the senior public is practically non-existent. In this respect, within the academic field, we find the research by Estrada et al., (2010) on the attitude of the elderly to ads. The study concludes that, due to the limitations that older people have to record, memorize and retrieve information, “they need a strong rationalization of the message, a pragmatic search among their knowledge, experiences and memories, giving more importance to their thoughts than to the advertisement itself” (Estrada et al., 2010, p. 159). Within the professional field, the work of international field conducted by the company Nielsen in 2015 about confidence in advertising stands out. The multinational says that television ads, followed by the press and magazines, are the most reliable and those broadcast in the medium of cinema are the least credible. Although the study allows segmentation by country, sex and age, the sample is captured taking into account only Internet users, so we consider that their data are not sufficiently representative for the senior public where, according to INE (2017), only 38.0% of the individuals being 65 to 74 years old affirm to use internet once a week.
Once the set of both academic and professional research linking the credibility of advertising with the senior population has been analyzed, we discovered certain shortcomings. Among them, the absence of studies in which the perception of the advertising credibility of the Spanish senior population is associated with their perceptions about the advertising channel and issuer. Therefore, we are facing a fairly unexplored field on which we intend to obtain new knowledge that may have future implications both in the academic and the professional world.


This piece of research is proposed as an exploratory study with the general objective of knowing the opinion of the senior population (individuals 65 to 84 years old) about advertising and the degree of credibility they grant according to the channel and the issuer. The study starts from the hypothesis that, within the senior public, sex and age determine the perception of advertising. The confirmation of this hypothesis is to achieve the following specific objectives:

  1. Know the opinion of the senior public about advertising in terms of their tastes, their link to the cost of the product and its usefulness as commercial information. These data allow us to have a first approximation of the vision that the senior population (65 to 84 years) has of advertising.
  2. Find out the degree of credibility granted by the senior public to advertising based on the channel / medium in which it is broadcast and the issuer / type of advertiser that is advertised. This information influences the credibility of the advertisement and, therefore, the acceptance of the messages issued by the brands.


Because individuals aged 65 and older represent a heterogeneous and dispersed group that cannot be considered a social group (Grande, 1993, Sánchez-Vera, 1996, Bódalo, 2003), the attainment of the two specific objectives arises from four segments comparable two to two. On the one hand, the population has been divided by age taking into account Chackiel guidelines (2001) that group seniors in Third Age (65 to 74) and Fourth Age (75 to 84), taking into account that the first years are marked by retirement while the second are immersed in a phase of greater dependence and deterioration. And, on the other hand, they have been divided according to sex, differentiating between men and women.
 As far as the methodology is concerned, it is basic, non-experimental, sectional and exploratory research (Del Rio and Velázquez, 2005). For its development, the descriptive survey method based on the guidelines of Wimmer and Dominick (1996) was used. The universe of study was the population living in Segovia capital with ages from 65 to 84 years, made up of a total of 9,321 individuals (Segovia City Council, 2015). The study considers 84 years as the maximum age of the universe, taking into account the data of life expectancy of the Spanish population published by the National Institute of Statistics -80.4 years for men and 85. 9 years for women (INE, 2016b)-. For the analysis, a convenience sample composed of 184 active individuals with a distribution of: 36% Men and 64% Women; 57% Third age (65 to 74 years) and 43% Fourth age (75 to 84 years) was chosen.
The surveys were conducted during the months of October and November 2017 and, as people in the process of active aging were looking for, they were carried out at the University of Experience, a school of the University of Valladolid for people over 64 years of age and in the courses of gymnastics and cognitive stimulation within the Municipal Classrooms for people over 64 years organized by the Department of Social Services, Equality, Health and Consumption of Segovia City Council within the Active Aging Program (1).
The questionnaire was designed and administered by taking into account the possible cognitive and visual deficiencies of the interviewees. For this, aspects such as letter size (Arial 13), interline space (1,5) or the delivery of thick-tip and easy writing pens were taken into account. The tool was previously tested and, as a consequence of the results of the pilot test, the intermediate scale of the answers -›Credible, or Not credible› was replaced with ‹Does not know / Does not answer›- to avoid confusion and / or boredom in the interviewees.
In order to respond to the first of the specific objectives and, therefore, to know the opinion of the senior public on advertising in what refers to their tastes, their connection to the cost of the product and its usefulness as commercial information, three questions were raised . In the first one, respondents were asked if they liked advertising. Once solved, they were asked if they considered that it made the price of the products more expensive. And finally, they were asked if they considered the information provided by the advertisements useful. The answers to these questions were closed and of unique choice -Yes, No, Sometimes, Does not know / Does not answer-.
So as to answer the second of the specific objectives and find out the degree of credibility granted by the senior public to advertising depending on the medium in which it is broadcast and the issuer that is advertised, two questions were asked. Firstly, respondents were asked about the degree of credibility of advertising made on television, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet and abroad. And then, for the degree of credibility of advertising made by the following types of companies / products: Banking and Insurance (financial advertising); Pharmaceutical laboratories; State, Communities and City Council (institutional advertising); Political parties during the electoral period (political advertising); Female and male cosmetics; Great consumption (feeding, personal hygiene and cleaning); Motor (cars and motorcycles) and large warehouses or surfaces. The answers to these questions were closed and of choice of scale -Very credible, Quite credible, Little credible, No credible and Does not know / Does not answer-.
The questionnaire was distributed to groups of fifteen to thirty people who completed them under supervision. The time to do it did not exceed thirty minutes in any of the groups (Wimmer and Dominick, 1996). With these premises, a response rate of 85% was achieved.

(1) We appreciate the collaboration of Jesús Cruz (Professor of Ppsychomotricity for adults), Jesús García (Social Service Technician of Segovia City Council), Sonia García (Professor of Cognitive Stimulation), Juan Carlos Manrique (Coordinator of the University of Experience).


In order to present the results in a clear manner, they have been structured in five sections that coincide with the five questions asked in the questionnaire and that respond, individually, to the two specific objectives of research and, jointly, to the hypothesis.

4.1. About the taste for advertising

The first question was about the taste for advertising and it was aimed to get a first approximation of the opinion of seniors about it. Only 15.2% of respondents answered that they ‘did’ like advertising versus 38.0% who answered ‘no’ and 40.8% said they only liked it ‘sometimes’.
By sex, women are much more attracted by advertising than men (18.6% of women answered that they ‘did’ like advertising as compared to 9.0% of men), the latter being the ones that showed a more categorical rejection to advertising (45.5% negative responses in men versus 33.9% in women). In order to check if these differences were statistically significant, the Chi-square contrast was used (X2) which yielded a value of 5.67 with a degree of freedom (g.l.) of 3 and a Pearson correlation ratio (p) of 101, which shows that there are no notable differences in the taste for advertising between both sexes, although there is a trend (Table 1).
By age groups, individuals aged 75 to 84 are more prone to advertising than those aged 65 to 74 years (21.3% of the Fourth Age answered that they ‘did’ like advertising as compared to 10.6% of the third Age). The contrast statistics continues to show that there are no significant differences between the two age groups although there is a certain trend (X2=7. 59; 3 g.l.; p=.055) (Table 1).

Table 1. The taste of seniors for advertising.

Source: Own elaboration.

4.2. On the belief that advertising makes products more expensive

The second question asked in order to know the general opinion of seniors about advertising was aimed at discovering if this segment considered that ads increase the final price of the product. This statement was shared by 67.4% of the sample while 10.9% of respondents thought that advertising does not influence the price and 14.1% considered that it makes them ‘sometimes’ expensive. On this occasion, the variable sex was not discriminating since 66.7% of men and 67.8% of women answered affirmatively. The statistics shows that there are no significant differences between the sexes (X2=.56; 3 g.l.; p=.906).
 Although age is not presented as a discriminating factor (X2=1.36; 3 g.l.; p=.71), the Fourth age, with 78.8% of ‘yes + sometimes’, was somewhat more tolerant with the effects of advertising on the price of the products than the Third Age with 83.7% of ‘yes + sometimes’ (Table 2).

Table 2. The belief that advertising makes products more expensive.

Source: Own elaboration.

4.3. On the usefulness of advertising information

The third of the questions allowing us to have this first approximation of the opinion of the senior population about advertising was based on discovering whether they considered the information given to them by this business practice to be useful. In this case, 26.1% of respondents stated that the advertising messages ‘did’ provide useful information as compared to 43.5% who considered that this benefit only occurs ‘sometimes’. Only 19.0% of the sample was categorical in stating that these messages are ‘not’ useful.
 By sex, women were fairly more convinced of the usefulness of advertising information than men (32.2% vs. 15.2%), the latter being much more reluctant to attribute any informative benefit to advertisements. In this case, the contrast statistics indicated that there are no significant differences between both sexes although a trend is observed (X2=7.19, 3 g.l., p=.066).
The age variable shows how the Fourth Age grants greater usefulness to public information than the Third Age (20.2% Third Age vs. 33.8% Fourth Age). However, the Third Age affirms, in a higher percentage (50.0%), that this usefulness occurs ‘sometimes’ 0.0% as compared to 35.00% for the Fourth Age that is of the same opinion (Table 3). For this reason, the contrast statistics continues to show that the differences between the two age groups are not significant (X2=5.35; 3 g.l.; p=.148).

Table 3. The usefulness of advertising information for seniors.

Source: Own elaboration.

Once the results have been exposed to the questions aimed at having a first approximation of the vision of the senior population about advertising, we proceed with the results of the questions asked in order to answer the second of the specific objectives of finding out the degree of credibility that the senior public grants to advertising based on the medium in which it is broadcast and the type of advertiser that is advertised. The results are presented based on the difference between negative and positive scales (2). The response percentages of NS/NC (does not know/does not answer) are not regarded in order not to distort the results. Finally, let us point out that, In order to make a comparison of the degrees of credibility between sexes and ages, the statistical rate of the affinity of each segment was calculated in relation to the average of the two analyzed segments (3).

(2) Difference between the negative scales of ‘no credible’ and ‘little credible’ as compared to the positive scales of ‘quite credible’ and ‘very credible’.

(3) We appreciate Dr. Belinda de Frutos Torres for her ideas about explaining the results.

4.4. On the credibility of advertising based on the medium

The first question about the perception of the credibility of the senior public focused on the figure of the media -Television, radio, press, magazines, external and internet- as channels through which the advertising message is transmitted. The percentage data show that in none of the analyzed media does positive credibility outweigh negative credibility. In spite of this, radio and the press are the media with the highest percentage of positive credibility (38.6% and 27.6% respectively), while internet and external media were considered the less credible by seniors with percentage rates of 84.6% and 81.9% negative credibility respectively (Table 4). The Chi-square contrast statistics reflects these significant differences in relation to the degree of credibility granted by seniors to advertising issued in different media (X2= 28,621; 5 g.l.; p<.000).
By sex, advertising broadcast on radio was the most credible for both women (43.9%) and men (30.0%). Advertising in daily newspapers ranked second in both cases (31.5% women and 21.4% men). As far as television advertising is concerned, women were more credulous than men (27.5% vs. 17.2% men).
 The media perceived by women as less credible were magazines and the internet with only 20% of positive credibility each and, in the case of men, Internet (8.3%) and external (11.5%) (Table 4). The statistical rates of affinity shown in Table 5 corroborate that women give higher values of credibility to advertising than men, the Internet (130) and exterior (122) cases standing out. Despite this, the contrast statistics do not show that there are significant differences between men and women in relation to the perception of the credibility of advertising issued in the different media.
 By age sections, advertising on the radio was the one with the highest percentage of positive credibility (36.0% Third Age vs. 37.3% Fourth Age), followed by advertising in the press (30.5% Third Age. vs. 23.8% Fourth Age) and advertising broadcast television (25.0% Third Age vs. 22.1% Fourth Age). On the other hand, the advertising that obtained the lowest values of credibility in the Third Age were the magazines (20.3%) and the internet (20.8%) and, in the Fourth Age, were Internet (6.5%) and external (10.7%) (Table 4). Observing the affinity rates listed in Table 5, it can be seen that the individuals of the Third Age were more credulous with the advertising issued in all media than those of the Fourth Age, a fact that gained special relevance on the Internet (135) and external (128). Despite this, the Chi-square contrast statistics shows that there are only significant differences in the age variable in the internet medium (X2=4.48, 1 g.l.; p=.034).

Table 4. Percentage of credibility of advertising according to the medium.

Source: Own elaboration.

Table 5. Advertising credibility index according to the medium.

Source: Own elaboration.

4.5. On the credibility of advertising according to the issuer

The second question on the perception of advertising credibility focused on understanding the truth that the senior group gives to ads based on the type of advertiser that performs communication. In this regard, the study highlighted that none of the analyzed issuers had values of positive credibility above the values of negative credibility. Despite this, the Chi-square contrast statistics showed significant differences in the credibility granted by seniors to advertising depending on the type of advertiser (X2=103.085;. 7 g.l.; p p<.000). The most truthful advertising issuers for the senior population are institutional advertising (40.3%) and pharmaceutical advertising (29.5%). On the contrary, the lowest percentages of credibility were granted to advertising of cosmetic products (6.0%) and political advertising (3.9%) (Table 6).
 By sex, women grant more positive credibility than men to all issuers except institutional advertising (33.7% women vs. 50.0% men) and that issued by political parties in the electoral period (2.1% women vs. 6.9% men). The Chi-square contrast statistics shows that there is only a significant statistical difference between the sexes in advertising of cosmetics (X2=8.889;. 1 g.l.; p=.003), although a trend is observed in institutional advertising (X2=3.955; 1 g.l.; p =.047) and in food (X2=4. 245; 1 g.l.; p=.039). The affinity values listed in Table 7 help visualize institutional advertising and political parties as the most credible for men while the rest of the issuers are more reliable for women, especially in the case of mass consumer advertising (132) and cosmetic products (130).
 By age sections, the data show how, as the age of respondents advances, the percentage of positive credibility granted to the different issuers decreases, especially in the institutional ads (45.8% Third Age vs. 25.5% Fourth age), financial ads (21.6% Third Age vs. 12.5% Fourth Age) and in motor-related advertising (13.8% Third Age vs. 7.9% Fourth Age). On the contrary, positive credibility increases in the cosmetic advertisements (5.6% Third Age vs. 8.3% Fourth Age) (Table 6). Third-age individuals are more credulous with advertising of the analyzed types of issuer than those of the Fourth Age except for the advertising of pharmaceutical laboratories (30.1% Third Age vs. 31.9% Fourth Age) and cosmetics (5.6% Third Age vs. 8.3% Fourth Age). Despite this, the Chi-square contrast statistics only shows significant differences between the two age sections in institutional advertising (X2=8.463, 1 g.l.; p=.004). Meanwhile, the value of the affinity of credibility positioned all issuers as more truthful for the third age except advertising of pharmaceutical laboratories (102 Third Age vs. 108 Fourth Age) and cosmetics (93 Third Age vs. 139 Fourth Age) that are more reliable for individuals of the Fourth Age (Table 7).

Table 6. Percentage of advertising credibility of a seg depending on the issuer.

Source: Own elaboration.

Table 7. Advertising credibility index depending on the issuer.

Source: Own elaboration.


The answers to the different questions raised in this piece of research allow us to know the opinion of the senior collective about advertising as well as the degree of credibility that they grant to ads according to the medium in which they are presented and the type of advertiser that issues them The results as a whole show some rejection of advertising by the senior group although they also consider that it offers useful information. As well as low incidence of the variables sex and age in the perception this group has of advertising, the leadership of the radio advertising in the credibility ranking and the distrust generated by advertising issued by the political parties and the cosmetic brands.
As indicated above, the senior population has some rejection of advertising, a claim that is based on the fact that 38.0% of respondents do not like advertising and 40.8% only like it occasionally. These data invite researchers, brands and agencies to delve into the needs and expectations of older people in order to create more attractive business communications for them. However, men are more critical of advertising than women (45.5% vs. 33.9%) and the Third Age more than the Fourth Age (44.2% vs. 30.0%). This fact makes achieving an effective advertising impact more complex in these two subgroups. In addition, 67.4 % of respondents believe that advertising increases the price of products, an idea that may be working against their good image. In spite of the previous affirmations - they do not like it and it increases the price of the product for 69.9% of respondents, advertising offers useful information, a circumstance that guarantees brands acceptance of their advertising messages.
As regards the degree of credibility the senior public grants to ads according to the broadcasting channel, radio advertising is perceived as the most truthful (38.6% positive credibility) following the daily press (27.6%). However, none of these media shows significant differences by sex and age. This fact helps confirm that both media are the most valued by the senior population and, therefore, the most likely to offer brands the possibility of generating engagement or commitment with the senior public. Advertising on television, the medium with the highest penetration among the oldest, according to the EGM, stood third with a 23.8% positive credibility. In contrast, advertising on the Internet (15.4%) is the one with the lowest level of credibility, a circumstance influenced by the digital divide in the senior population and which justifies that the acceptance of digital advertising is significantly different between the Third Age (20.8%) and the Fourth Age (6.5%). From the above, it follows that the inclusion of the internet in campaigns aimed at the senior public requires a careful selection of media and a special treatment of the creative idea. In relation to the degree of credibility granted by the elderly to advertising based on the issuing source, our research highlights that institutional and pharmaceutical advertising are the most credible, while advertising by political parties and advertising of cosmetics are considered the least reliable.
Taken together, the different responses provided by the sample together with the Chi-square statistical tests invite us to discard the hypothesis that, within the senior public, sex and age are clearly determining in the perception of advertising. Despite this, it should be noted that, in percentage terms, women like advertising more and value its usefulness more, two aspects that help them to be more credulous as compared to men. Regarding the type of issuer, although they do not really trust any, women grant more credibility to institutional advertising (33.7%) and to pharmaceutical advertising (33.0%) and, among men, the value granted to institutional advertising (50.0%) stands out. By age groups, the study shows that individuals of the Fourth Age have a greater taste for advertising and consider it more useful than those of the Third Age. Despite this, they are less credulous with advertising issued in different media and with all issuers except pharmaceutical and cosmetic advertising.
 The data and conclusions provided in this study are intended to offer useful information when proposing commercial communication strategies aimed at impacting such an unknown target audience as the senior one in its different segmentations. This paper is the starting point of a line of research aimed at knowing in depth how individuals aged 65 to 84 years behave in their role as consumers of commercial communication and advertising media.


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Belén Ávila-Rodríguez-de-Mier: Doctora en Sociología por la Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. Executive Máster en Dirección Comercial y Marketing (CESMA Business School) y Licenciada en Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas (UCM). En la actualidad es profesora de grado y posgrado del área de Comunicación y Publicidad. Durante su trayectoria profesional trabajó en agencias como Leo-Burnett y McCann además de ocupar puestos de responsabilidad en los departamentos de marketing de Vodafone y Ferrovial Inmobiliaria. Su línea de investigación gira en torno a los medios de comunicación, las audiencias y la publicidad en el marco de la Sociedad de la Información.
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Noemí Martín-García: Doctora por la Universidad de Valladolid (UVa) y Licenciada en Publicidad y RR.PP por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid con Curso Superior en Medios impartido por la Asociación de Agencias de Medios. Actualmente es profesora asociada en el grado de Publicidad y RR.PP de la UVa. Durante su trayectoria profesional ha trabajado para diferentes clientes tanto públicos como privados en las agencias de medios: Havas Media y Mindshareworld. Su línea de investigación se centra en la relación de la publicidad con los medios de comunicación y ha sido publicada en revistas como Icono 14 y El Profesional de la información.
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