We are all getting older. I’m an AARP cardholder. I get some magazine from AARP which features a ton of relics from my past with tips and tricks on how to be old. Shit. Listening to the radio every day, I’m noticing that they are soliciting older people all of the time using advertising tricks that include recognizable personalities and characters from years ago. One series of ads features Marion “Mrs. C. from the show Happy Days” Ross. She is running around town checking to see if everyone has an emergency plan in place in case some apocalyptic event takes place. In one of the ads you hear Mrs. C. come into the family hardware store and is greeted by some dorky, nerdy employee who goes on to mention that he is not supposed to tell her that Mr. C has stepped out for a hot fudge sundae. What he is not telling her is that Mr. C. kicked the bucket in 2010 – so, he probably will never come back. Happy Days, for you youngsters, is a television show that aired from 1974 to 1984. 10 years is a long time for a TV sitcom. 1984 was also 29 years ago. To many of you, Happy Days is something you saw in reruns or heard someone talk about. Figuring that the 20 and 30 something crowd who watched that show are now 60 and 70 something, I suppose it makes sense to use something we can identify with as a spokesperson for a product – or how to prevent Armageddon.
This in mind, I am not surprised but maybe more annoyed than anything else with this next one. Some old lady picks up the phone to hear some douchebag tell her that there’s been a glitch at the bank and he just needs to confirm some of her information. Or, an announcer explains how loan modification scammers are targeting you and “know where you live.” THEN you hear “McGruff The Crime Dog here” to blah blah blah save your stupid ass. McGruff the cartoon-or-guy-in-a-dog-head-and-a-trench-coat crime dog? The same crime dog who used to stop you from doing drugs and getting into the car with strangers. I guess if you listened to him 30 years ago and did not do the stupid stuff he warned you against, you may have lived long enough to listen to him again and not do stupid stuff in your old age.
Which brings up a couple of other ideas these advertisers should go after… Senior drug abuse for one. “Feeling off your mark? Unable to play shuffle board with the authority and precision of 6 months ago? That lady down the hall with all of the meds (Probably Mrs. C.) seems to be doing pretty well at her age, perhaps she can supply you with something to pick up your game.” And then: “McGruff the Crime Dog here to tell you that some drugs may not be for you. In fact, they were probably prescribed for someone else who actually went to a doctor. Next time some old lady wheels up to you in the hallway and offers a solution to your sluggish old age, just say NO. That is if you could understand what the fuck she said anyway as your hearing aid batteries were probably shot again.”
Senior unprotected sex would be another item. C’mon McGruff, show that old man how to purchase and use a rubber. Remember any teen movie from 30 or 40 years ago that included a scene of some virginal young man going to the pharmacy for condoms because he might get lucky with Betty Lou after the big game? The awkwardness, nervous buying every other thing you don’t need – AND some condoms? You know the scene.
Now Great Gramps can walker into the dispensary and ask for a whole bunch of things he does not really need… a new enema bag, some salve, some denture polish and OH YEAH, CONDOMS. The 24 year old working at the counter can give him that “knowing” look. Great Gramps will worry that his kids will find out.
Radio ads… you are killing me.