Help the Aged has released a report aimed at challenging the advertising industry's obsession with youth.
The report, based on studies of 52 TV commercials, reveals that only 35 per cent included someone over 50 as the main character. The figure falls to 12 per cent for over 60s.
Those that do feature older people often do so in a patronising way, with Polygrip and Irn-Bru commercials cited as the biggest culprits. In contrast, AMP, Cornhill Direct, Sun Life, Evian and Ocean Finance were praised.
The charity accuses advertisers of harbouring outdated perceptions and claims that most fifty-somethings today have similar lifestyles to those a decade younger.
Also, as many older people are better off, advertisers are missing out on £240 billion a year, claims the charity.
Steve Jones, director of communications and marketing at Help the Aged, said: "Advertisers believe that older people are fixed in their spending habits with no drive to try new things. This is simply not true. As the first time baby boomers become 60, they could not be more unlike the stereotypes advertisers hide behind."