We can drink our coffee more slowly. Discursive uses of age in relation to holiday consumption – examples among Danish and German mature travellers

Malene Gram, Karina Madsen Smed


For decades debates have existed over the fact that older consumers have either been ignored, ridiculed or victimized, and not treated and presented as empowered consumers in advertising. ‘Being old’ has often been presented as something negative, and advertisers have often sought to avoid addressing age, emphasising the importance of appealing to “cognitive” (psychological) rather than “chronological” (biological) age. But is age always perceived negatively by people who are not young? The present study is an interpretive and explorative study made in connection with a study on mature couples’ perceptions of the good holiday, based on interviews and focus groups with couples in Denmark and Germany on issues related to holidaying and indirectly on the meaning of age. Relevant here is the fact that the interviewees and focus group participants did not present themselves as victims, but quite the opposite. Instead of dissociating from the concept, they discursively took on the identity of being older. The findings of the study show that the participants perceive age also as a privilege, a situation of independence and freedom and as something positive and empowering which can be used to legitimize certain decisions and make certain demands.

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mature consumers, age, holidays, identity, discourse

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ISSN 1832-7931
Swinburne University of Technology