A new political ad from AARP http://www.aarp.org/protectseniors is the latest attempt by AARP to rally their base and build political clout. As a Baby Boomer, this new attempt just goes right over my head. I cannot relate to it, and I wonder how many in my generation can. First, the man in the ad, while he may be actually not that far from Boomers’ age group, looks old enough to be my Dad. Second, the camera pans wide to reveal a group of very serious- looking, definitely- not- working “retirees”–not a group I can relate to either. The “R” word again. The message is strident, angry even, aimed at getting seniors to call their congressmen and tell them not to cut their benefits. This just sounds like another ad in the “greedy geezers” genre. The message does not resonate with Boomers because Boomer’s benefits have already been cut! We don’t get social security until sometime AFTER age 65, not sure when we get Medicare. We are the generation that coined the phrase “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” We get that there have to be changes, many of us accept that, and frankly have probably known all along that we would have to plan for our own “second act” whether or not we actually have, which is beside the point.
AARP, which I continue to believe should be renamed the “American Association of Reinventing People” if it has a chance of winning over Boomers, has to shift its message to the Boomer generation if it is going to gain traction. Instead of “there are 50 Million of us and we don’t want to give up one measly cent” how about ” We are the largest block of voters in the history of this country. Work with us, talk with us, and let’s fix entitlements so they are there for us and for our kids.” AARP: rally the Boomers. Anyone who underestimates the power of the voice of the Boomer does so at their peril.