Retired But Still A Target

The New York Times: For a 47-year-old advocacy group, AARP is acting a lot like a for-profit corporation these days.
Look at the products it has in the wings for next year. There is an investment fund aimed at people over 50, the first such product it has developed on its own. There is a consulting service to help companies develop their own products for the 50-plus crowd. There is a “seal of approval” program in which, for a fee, AARP will endorse products it likes.
AARP is also talking to several drugstores about possibly selling AARP-branded items that are now available only by mail. And it is prodding companies to develop new products for older people, not just passively vetting the products that industry comes up with. For example, it is looking for a telecommunications partner to help it devise an elder-friendly cellphone service, and for vendors who will make easy-to-open luggage, better home lighting and other products that AARP can sell.
“We’re finally being proactive, instead of waiting for companies to come to us with ideas, ” said Dawn Sweeney, president of AARP Services, the for-profit subsidiary that handles product sales.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.