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Turn on the TV in the US and you’re sure to be assaulted by a barrage of commercials targeting baby boomers. I’m not of that generation, but am a proud “X’er”, who has realized a few things about these commercials over the past couple of years.
1) In America, home to hypersensitive political correctness, the only group you can really make look like total idiots without fear of legal recourse… the middle-aged, white male. So, I’m in the group that has become a Dockers and fanny-pack wearing caricature and embodiment of the word “dork”.
2) Many celebrities and athletes that I looked up to when growing up are now pitching embarrassing products. From Emmit Smith endorsing “Just For Men” hair coloring, to Joe Thiesmann selling “Super Beta Prostate”, to Fonzie (aka Henry Winkler) pushing reverse mortgages, it’s more than a little creepy and depressing.
3) Some commercials show a side of aging that I think would be better dealt with on a “need to know only” basis. Do I really need to know there’s a market for folks dealing with rusty catheters, for adult underwear, or for products to fend off having to go pee constantly? Do I really need the visual of two people in their late 60’s giving each other “the look” or holding hands between two tubs overlooking romantic ocean lagoon? I don’t think so.
The scary thing, is that commercials like these have been around forever, but now I’m at an age where I notice them, could use some of the products, and can feel the tractor beam of the marketer whose analysis had my generation in his/her sights.
Since I write a health and fitness related blog, an easy answer would be to watch less TV. Always good advice. Except for the fact that I’m a Generation “X’er” who was raised on TV and having it on non-stop makes me happy… it’s part of me. Thus, I’ll be watching Sally Field pitch Boniva and Jamie Lee Curtis guzzle Activia for years to come, and will be eagerly awaiting other childhood hero’s as they find a new way to earn a paycheck… Ponch and John for joystick controlled scooters perhaps?
Small steps add up!