Monday, November 26, 2007

The Pushers

#325a The Pushers

They’re trying to hook us. And it’s a grand tradition they’re following.

Video games! They want older people to play video games, and that’s not happening. We have our own silly diversions. We have Classic TV and Classic Coke Cola. We have tobacco. We have TV dinners, and sometimes the TVs to go with them.

Now they want us to try some new addictions. Okay, we went along with the computer, and learned to love it. We went along with having seatbelts in the car. We went along with gasoline that’s more expensive than Gin. The cell phone. All that good stuff.

But that wasn’t good enough for the pushers. Now they want us to play video games.

And they’re not shy about it. They have the young looking old people in the commercials and they forget someone’s name or look dull-eyed at the camera and say silly stuff.

Then Mister Announcer comes on and tells us that we don’t have to lose our minds. We should exercise them using xyz video game that makes our eyes and our brains work out, just like the treadmill makes our bodies work out.

And we are trained to obey Mister Announcer. (Many of us in radio got our first taste of authority while BEING Mister Announcer. That, too is an addiction.)

Clever devils. This is only a test.

If this advertising campaign works, zillions of elderzombies will march obediently down to MegaMart and buy these things. We don’t want to lose our minds, after all. And if this machine works, why – Viagra for the brain. But cheaper.

And if we do, what’s next? Madison Avenue has always ignored anyone over 50. But times are tough and business is slow. And the old arguments “People over 50 don’t respond to ads,” and “People over 50 are too set in their ways to try anything new.” Have to be re-tested.

At the moment, we only get ads for medicine (have you ever read those full page disclaimers? You wouldn’t take anything resembling a pill for any condition afterward.)

Now, we’re getting ads for video games. A whole untapped market to tap. It could be the start of something big.

Yes, we’ve exploited every other domestic demographic. We’ve exploited every foreign market. And still, sales are slow. So let’s start selling to SENIORS. What a concept.

But we already know which toothpaste, denture glue, automobile, cold remedy, joint pain remedy, gasoline and hamburger stand to use. So, give us something NEW.

Like those brain building video games. Maybe adult tinker toys. Do what you do for all the other generations: appeal to our weaknesses.

Like, say, reading. This generation reads for fun. And works when it isn’t being “aged out.”

Tune in, turn on, drop in. And don’t trust anyone under 50.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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