Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT AgeLab has been peeking through the ether here for years:
29 November 2010
Tech & Baby Boomers: Universal Design vs. Universally Dull
Disruptive Demographics is on my must-read list and always worth it. A recent post:
Casting a New Dream of Old Age
Joseph F Coughlin
…Images of ‘aging’ have been on television for years. The famous, some might say infamous, ‘help I’ve fallen and can’t get up’ commercial for Life Call’s personal emergency response system has shaped much of the public’s perception of products for older consumers…
Sounds right to me. From Advertising to Baby Boomers © 2005, 2007:
The Geritol Syndrome (pages 14-18)
The Geritol campaigns were successful because of their simple, direct messages. A similar campaign today, using vague, anxiety-ridden scare tactics might not work for Baby Boomers. We’re too smart (or perhaps too jaded) to be fooled by hackneyed situations and simplistic answers.
More from Dr. Coughlin:
… These images have done more than sell a product, they have reinforced an image of aging. Message – older people are frail, sick and need this product to manage old age.
16 September 2009
Boomer Backlash II
… If every time someone over fifty sees a commercial targeting them and it’s always for an age-related product or service, pretty soon their eyes will glaze over, they’ll get itchy and grumpy.
Joe sent me an email the other day about his post:
…. I thought I would share with you my rookie attempt at observing some messaging in advertising…
Hardly a rookie. MIT AgeLab is the gold-standard for aging research, and that includes universal design and marketing:
The NavStudio provides a research platform to understand how consumers successfully navigate, become distracted, lost, give-up, or put-off decisions in the information seeking process in their interaction with print materials, packaging, the web and other forms of goal oriented communication.
While my sole contribution to it all is a fool-proof method for opening candy wrappers:
2 June 2006
Boomers in Candyland
I can rip open any dumb, stupid candy wrapper with my bare hands .... as long as one of my bare hands is holding a pair of pliers.
Collected posts about Universal Design (with Dr. Coughlin and AgeLab references sprinkled throughout):