Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Rocker than Rocking Chair

This year, the leading baby boomers turn 65. Think Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, but also Bob Weir (the youngest Grateful Dead member turned 64 three days ago) and millions of other people who are waking up and saying, "What happened?"

During this time of seemingly sudden seniority, we can see the marketing taking form. There are manly gray-colored Depends for when the male plumbing starts to fail. Ads for Viagra and Cialis are there on every evening news show (who else watches the news these days?).

But my favorite now is an Anthem commercial showing a grandpa rocking out to Steppenwolf's 1968 Classic, Born to Be Wild. We'd all like to think we're still youthful. In the commercial, grandma and grandpa are going to switch (online, of course) to Anthem for their health coverage. But grandma can't hear their conversation, so grandpa goes to "take care of the music" from the granddaughter's noisy band practicing down the hall. We think he's going to shut her down, but instead, he grabs the guitar and rocks out!

What's the lesson--or the intent? Well, first of all, we're not really old--it's just a number. We can still be active. This is very true.

Another message is that we actually have something to share with our grandchildren. From what I could tell, Amber wasn't playing Born to Be Wild when grandpa arrived, but she and her bandmates dance along happily (and gratefully), while grandma arrives in the background at the end of the ad and dances along too. She's not a fogy either, it turns out.

It's easy to be cynical about this, but health providers know who's going to be visiting them the most in the coming decades--aging baby boomers--and these messages are perfect for them (us).


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