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Act your age

Thanks to Jerry Olson for sharing this article about marketing to seniors.

The author makes an interesting point – that efforts to combat the negative perceptions of aging can backfire in unexpected ways.  For example, we can now join AARP at age 50.  I am sure in the minds of the AARP, opening membership to younger people was meant to “de-stigmatize” aging and shift the image of the brand.  However, a possible unintended consequence is, does 50 now seem older than it did before?

And what about “senior discounts” that are available at restaurants and other places?  Is this respectful or patronizing?  How would we react if a retailer offered an African American discount or a Latino discount?

The author points to a campaign from Asbury Communities in Maryland called #ActYourAge that he thinks addresses aging in a more respectful way and works hard to break stereotypes. But it does beg the question – is any overt attempt to appeal to seniors going to come off as patronizing, almost by definition?