Sunday, August 14, 2011

Marketing to Senior Citizens

   According to my AARP magazine, employees simulate being older. They place hard little pebbles or kernels in their shoes to see what it’s like to walk with aches and pains. They plug up their ears to simulate hearing loss. Nice touch. But they’ve got a long way to go.



     Guess what? Baby boomers and senior citizens are an important target group in the marketing world. As a Baby Boomer, I am considered as a widespread (no pun intended) part of most marketing strategies.
    Well-known companies are now requiring employees to doctor themselves up to feel like old people.  If they can experience life from the point of view of the elderly or almost-elderly consumer, this insight will  create much more old person friendly products and services.


   Car manufacturers produce aging suits for workers to wear to stuff themselves into compact cars as paunchy senior citizens. These stuffed employees are also asked to read road maps with vision impairing glasses. Again, a nice start.
   To me, these attempts just graze the surface of sensitivity. Yes, employees can use canes and wheelchairs at work, and so on but there are other issues I would like to see addressed…


    How about some Urination-Triggers so that men/women are urinating at a frequency of about 10 times their normal rate? And switches that causes them to pee when they laugh, cough and sneeze?
     How about practicing passing excessive gas? Experiment with trying to hold the gas in, and then blasting it out as loudly as you can. Practice looking unconcerned and uninvolved as gas emissions erupt.

     Simulate bald spots, sagging breasts, and expanded midsections. All of these factors influence what you buy and why you buy it. For example, sagging breasts cause women, or men, to tire easily when shopping. Products need to be placed in conspicuous, easy to reach areas.
     It’s easy enough to simulate the feeling of sagging breasts. Attach a couple of rice-filled feedbags at the neck. Allowing them to droop to the waist could garner the everyday sensation of sagging breasts. Think of how this could affect choices in clothing or underwear.
     Wear a doughnut shaped life preserver around the waist to experience the difficulties caused by an expanded midsection. Problems with zippers, and getting into restaurant booths will be made much more obvious to the employees.
   It’s great that they are attempting to think like seniors, but I feel that these companies have a lot more work to do. These were nice tries but why didn’t they just hire a senior citizen to tell them what they want to know?
     I am almost a senior citizen. I would have been glad to grunt my way into the back of a car seat and be extricated with the Jaws of Life. I am perfect for that part.
     And who needs vision impairing glasses? I already have impaired vision.
     It’s a crazy world we live in, manufacturing fake senior citizens. Think about it. Just go outside and wave down one of those oversize non-economy cars driven by a senior citizen who is shorter than the height of the dashboard.

     It seems that now we have people trying to look younger all the time and people who are trying to see what it is like to be older. If everyone goes back to being their own age, we will be much better off.


7 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

While they are experimenting with being old, maybe they could also have a go at being "short". Getting out of a car without dirtying the backs of your legs is a real challenge for the vertically impaired.

Catherine said...

Wouldn't it be great if this resulted in a more empathetic human race? And is empathetic even a word?

Jody Worsham said...

Never understood why companies didn't hire women who RV to design the interiors. Clothing designers could make a fortune designing stylish outfits with more velcro than buttons and quick and easy to get out of..and into. I haven't gotten to the point of velcro tennis shoes, but I've been eyeing them lately; mainly when I have to stop, stoop over and retie those stupid synthetic shoe laces. You are on to a good..and funny...topic. Way to go!

Jody Worsham said...

Never understood why companies didn't hire women who RV to design the interiors. Clothing designers could make a fortune designing stylish outfits with more velcro than buttons and quick and easy to get out of..and into. I haven't gotten to the point of velcro tennis shoes, but I've been eyeing them lately; mainly when I have to stop, stoop over and retie those stupid synthetic shoe laces. You are on to a good..and funny...topic. Way to go!

Sharon said...

Funny and so true. Love it. As a chronologically gifted person I face all those issues.

Mybabyjohn makes a good point about we vertically challenged. At home I do pretty well with one and two-step stools to reach what I need. Since I can't carry them to the store I have to "rely on the kindness of strangers."

Bodacious Boomer said...

Fake senior citizens? Please.

The Old Geezer said...

If everyone goes back to being their own age, we will be much better off.

Ha! Ain't that the truth!