Do they think people in their 60’s are feeble-minded?

blog pic 0001Does TV advertising’s targeted scripting and visual imagery assume that 60+ year old viewers need persistently boorishly condescending messaging?

David Wesley Tonkin

I think it does!

Not all advertising; but there is certainly a growing volume in my opinion.  Also I do not think that it is all “intentionally” offensive.  Bear in mind, advertisers rely on, and delegate to, the alleged experts to help them visually craft and script their advertising. Probably some of the same experts who coined the term “wellness” … that wonderfully gauche and prevalent word that makes no sense in a sentence … “How is your wellness these days?” What is wrong with “health”?

A local Wellness Center advertises a section of their facility called the “Silver Sneakers” area for 60+ patrons. They can argue that it puts these patrons where they are “comfortable”.  It will also have the opposite effect in many instances; it will say to a voluminous number of people that we want to keep you away from the mainstream revenue source. We do not want you discomfiting or getting under the feet of our potentially more numerically lucrative hardbody and lunk population.

Maturity may potentially mean we realize it is smarter to walk around a big rain puddle; not jump right into it as we did in our youth. However, that does not mean we do not have exuberant notions. Do not be condescending based on bad assumptions, stereotypes or worse; misconceptions about numerical age.

Then there is the other annoyance … celebrity spokespeople. They are usually actors that are sometimes recognizable for conspicuous roles in TV series and movies going back in some instances to the 1970’s.  I may be missing the point … but how does “performance as an actor in a leading / supporting role” make them qualified to advise me on retirement finances, reverse mortgages and “final expenses” (chilling; almost Orwellian!)?  There is no logical credibility! Or do some misinformed advertisers really think I will buy their product or service because I still dotingly remember their spokespersons on-screen shenanigans or derring-do in the distant past?

When I glimpse a successful Olympic medal winning athlete or former athlete of some renown selling athletic wear or a celebrated chef selling cast-iron cookware I get it. Imagine the immortal Sergeant Schultz from “Hogan’s Heroes” telling you to buy an exercise device that guarantees six-pack abs; bit of a believability gap you think?

Why do ads aimed at 60+ people often start with the nauseatingly loud words “Attention, attention!” or “You need a pen to write down this important number” Why? Do they assume we are aurally challenged (politically correct word for deaf) dozing and drooling inattentively in front of the TV or do not know what is important?

Also stop the humiliating attempts to smother 60+ year old people with deep guilt about the previously cited ogre called “final expenses”. Those ads are in such poor taste; they often depict some glum (and guilty looking!) gentleman sitting among the wake pastries and food who did not obviously spend lavishly enough on a funeral; while 3 feet away two women vow to each other that they will not make the same mistake while glancing contemptuously at aforementioned gentleman.  The numbers they quote about funeral expenses seem to be unduly lavish and wasteful for a middle-American family.

Also, the acting in the illustrative scenes of all the aforementioned ads is poor and the sets are usually dull or mediocre. If you want our business then spend proportionally to our marketplace consequence on your commercials. I am not asking for the lavish expenditure you allocate to hawking beauty products, clothing, and electronic wizardry; but get away from blatantly poorly conceived and cheap productions. Do you want our business?

One ad talked about “right-sizing your retirement plan”. Advertisers must avoid words “right-size” like the plague. To a significant number of over 60’s people that translates to “When hard-working, loyal and long-serving employees are replaced by cheaper inexperienced employees”.   So easy and quick to verbally “launder” in the executive conference room; but it still leaves many with divergent thoughts … [a] a vivid perception of uncaring ingratitude for their loyalty and efforts from their former employer … or [b] a good laugh sitting in the local pub at the chronicles of repetitive ineptitude occasioned by these new employees.  It is frequently not the “newbies” fault; in most cases the right-size geniuses also “saved” by cutting the training budget!

Moving for a moment to printed ads in the mail … As some of the group approach Social Security and Medicare eligibility the floodgates open on the most diabolical, manipulative, misleading, scare-tactic, and real fact-evasive printed materials imaginable. Many of them also try by words, almost-similar logos and other images to imply official government affiliation.  One has to thoroughly scrutinize this hogwash vigilantly to uncover the micro-printed “non-affiliated” statement.  The only person to profit from this will be the manufacturer of the new shredder I will need to buy soon; as mine is working overtime on this tree-killing and paper wasting absurdity.

We are not cerebrally challenged (stupid) or living impaired (dead) yet!  We are not all fiscally under-resourced (broke) … we might still have some money to spend. Earn it with a dose of reality, common sense, respect … and with a swig of creativity!

I still remember the days when I daydreamed of being a beach-bum on a sultry tropical island. Today I would be called “A coastal vector located, aspiration-insensitive displaced person”.


1 thought on “Do they think people in their 60’s are feeble-minded?

  1. kristine meyer

    David! Wow! I’m not sure how you know so much about the preferences and lifestyles of people in their 60’s when you’re only in your 40’s. Right?? 🙂


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