Age discriminating advertising in Germany: is this an issue? Basic statistical analysis of complaints to the »deutsche werberat«

  • Norbert Meiners PHWT University Vechta, Germany
  • Elmar Reucher PHWT University Vechta, Germany
  • George W. Leeson University of Oxford, United Kingdom


Advertisements which discriminate according to age are not uncommon and should not be seen as a side-issue of society, which can be neglected. Therefore, the focus of this paper had as its aim the identification and investigation of specific complaints regarding age discrimination in advertising. This was done by means of long-term monitoring with the purpose of gaining new insights and obtaining valuable information for future research projects. Here the relevant question was: Have complaints about age discriminating advertisements (adverts, spots, posters, online-advertising) been received by the »Deutsche Werberat«, a self-regulatory body of the advertising industry which was founded in 1972? In order to investigate the question asked, a quantitative time series analysis of the approx. 4 500 complaints lodged with the »Deutsche Werberat« from 2003 to 2013, a period of eleven years, was carried out.

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