Media

"Oscar" isn't the Only One Who's Aging

Media Oscar-3200050_1920That famous little statue will be handed out at the 92nd annual Academy Award ceremony on February 9. Yes, "Oscar" is 92 years old.

This year, it's encouraging to see a whole host of "older" (i.e., over 50) actors and directors get nominated. As my colleague Julie Gorges writes in her blog, Baby Boomer Bliss, "I keep hoping that Hollywood, and society at large, haven’t completely forgotten the value of the older crowd with their knowledge, life experience, and insight. Maybe this is a step in the right direction."

I think it can be said with some degree of confidence that acting is a timeless art, and we are just as taken with outstanding performances from older actors as from younger ones. How can you be anything but impressed by the acting of Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in "The Two Popes," or Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in "The Irishman." (It was, however, a bit unsettling and even spooky knowing that De Niro, Pacino and Pesci were digitally modified to look younger for most of the movie.)

Interestingly, both "The Two Popes" and "The Irishman" were produced by Netflix, so there appears to be a growing opportunity for older actors as the number of streaming options have increased. Companies such as Amazon and Netflix are producing numerous television series and movies featuring older actors, recognizing, perhaps, that the 50-plus crowd is a formidable demographic making up a solid portion of their streaming audiences.

This is positive for two reasons: First, it reinvigorates and extends the careers of aging actors. Second, it acknowledges that older characters can and should be represented prominently in television and films. Too often in the past (and even today), older characters have been relegated to minor roles or, worse, parodied and ridiculed in the media. It is refreshing to see Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin ("The Kominsky Method") and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin ("Grace and Frankie") as headliners in two successful television series on Netflix. Sure, both shows poke fun at aging, but in a realistic and sometimes poignant manner.

Employing older actors and depicting older characters on screen is a more accurate representation of the real America. Let's hope the trend continues. 

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Pixabay.com

Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


When It Comes to Boomers, the Media is MIA

Media ID-10041088These days, the news media tends to be largely obsessed with politics and the world's ills. When it does cover human interest stories, however, the focus of attention often seems to be on the under-55 age group. Are we to assume from this coverage that there is nothing newsworthy about Boomers? Of course not -- but it is one more disturbing form of not-so-subtle ageism that sticks in one's craw.

In a recent post, I discussed the sad fact that the advertising industry actively practices ageism, as demonstrated in new research by AARP. Despite the size of the Boomer demographic in the U.S. -- about 74 million people -- and the reality that they hold the majority of America's wealth, advertisers choose to mostly ignore Boomers. In another post, I referenced the impact of global ageism, citing a quote from the World Health Organization (WHO), calling ageism "the most socially acceptable prejudice in the world."

What are we Boomers to think when the media, advertisers, employers and others marginalize us and discriminate against us for growing older? I have a theory about all of this, and it may sound a bit cynical. I believe American society is generally predisposed to accept and embrace youthfulness and shun growing older. We've been conditioned to it through the media. Magazine articles focus mostly on younger celebrities. Mainstream television shows and movies are youth-oriented, and older actors find it tough to get major roles. Advertising either emphasizes youth or peddles pharmaceuticals and adult diaper products to Boomer audiences in a condescending manner.

What is covered in the media is a reflection of society's values. If the media ignores Boomers, or worse, derides us, then one has to wonder whether we are valued in American society. We can only hope that such attitudes toward aging will change as more Americans age. Hopefully, they will realize that getting older is not "bad" -- it's an inevitable part of everyone's life.

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Ambro, Freedigitalphotos.net

Read about the brands you loved as a kid in the book, BOOMER BRANDS


Marketing the Old Age Myth

Media Elderly-152866_1280As a retired marketing professional, it is especially painful for me to see how today's marketers characterize older Americans. As I watch television or flip through magazines, I notice ads that incessantly pitch medications to the elderly, poke fun at aging or portray anyone with gray hair as a doddering, incompetent sedentary fool. Turns out that I am not making this up. A recent article in The New York Times reported on new AARP research that proves ageism is alive and well in American advertising.

To begin with, the research, which sampled more than 1,000 random images, indicated that Americans age 50 or older appeared in just 15 percent of the images, although that demographic makes up more than one third of the population. It gets worse. About one third of the workforce is 50 or older, but only 13 percent of the images showed older people working; they were most commonly shown at home, often with a partner or a medical professional. Young people, on the other hand, are often shown with co-workers. While over two thirds of Americans ages 55 to 73 own a smartphone, less than 5 percent of the images showed older Americans using technology, but over one third of the images showed younger folks using technology.

In the article, Martha Boudreau, chief communications and marketing officer of AARP, says, “Marketers reflect the culture and the conversation in our country. Stereotypes about the 55-plus demographic were really limiting people’s sense of what they could do with this half of their lives.”

The article goes on to discuss one interesting reason for ageism in advertising: The field itself is littered with "youngsters." In the U.S., over 80 percent of employees at ad and PR firms are younger than the age of 55. I ran my own direct marketing agency and also worked at a large ad agency -- and I can attest to that fact. Sure, one can always claim that marketing is a young person's business, but that's not a reasonable answer. The fact is the older demographic is growing more rapidly than any other segment in this country and globally. In addition, Boomers have accumulated and hold most of the wealth in the United States, so wouldn't you think marketers would be wise enough to create campaigns targeting us instead of maligning us?

I'm willing to bet that you've seen one or more ads that have looked upon people our age with thinly veiled scorn -- or you've noticed that the vast majority ads don't even acknowledge our existence.

Maybe it's time for all of us to take the advice of ex-TV anchor Howard Beale in the 1976 movie, Network, who said:

"You've got to say: 'I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!'

"So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

"I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!...You've got to say, I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE! "

HappilyRewired.com is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Image: Pixabay.com

Read about the brands you loved as a kid in the book, BOOMER BRANDS


Do Boomers Still Matter to Marketers?

MediaSadly, most of the advertising Boomers are exposed to seems to be squarely aimed at the Millennial, Gen X or younger generations. Increasingly, ads for just about any product feature consumers younger than Boomers. Advertising that does target Boomers (during television news shows, for example) is largely composed of pharmaceutical promotions.

The benign neglect exhibited by marketers toward Boomers doesn't really make good business sense. There are over 70 million Boomers in the U.S. The majority of the country's wealth is concentrated in our hands, and we are responsible for the lion's share of consumer spending. We continue to work longer and, as a result, spend more longer. 

Still, I've noticed a few things lately that suggest Boomers are not being completely ignored by marketers.

Remember Woodstock? (Of course you do.) Well get ready for Woodstock 50. Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Woodstock, a three-day festival (August 16, 17, 18, 2019) will be held in Watkins Glen, New York, according to Rolling Stone. In preparation for the event, a replica of the iconic Volkswagen "magic bus" will be making the rounds during the summer. The original VW van couldn't be found, so a replica was painstakingly created, in part with the support of Volkswagen. Smart marketers will use Woodstock 50 as an opportunity to appeal to Boomers.

The revitalization of "Boomer brands" also seems to be in vogue. Remember Hickory Farms? (Of course you do.) Created in 1951, this specialty foods brand is currently undergoing a makeover with the addition of such updated products as truffle salami and sriracha mustard. It's an effort to keep the brand fresh while maintaining its original reputation for quality. It's also an attempt to remind Boomers of a brand they grew up with while appealing to younger audiences.

Some television shows and movies have latched onto the Boomer era. The award-winning Amazon TV show, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," takes place in 1958, while "Green Book," the movie that won this year's Best Picture at the Academy Awards, was set in 1962.

Some marketers may continue to ignore Boomers, but wise marketers and media companies recognize that Boomers are still vital... and very capable of spending money.

Have you heard about the new book, Boomer Brands?

 

 

 


Excellent Resources for Seniors

MediaPeriodically, I like to make Happily Rewired readers aware of free resources that are available to seniors. There is a lot of information on the Internet and, as you well know, not all of it is authoritative. Thankfully, some organizations do careful research so the information they provide is accurate and of high quality. Here are three resources I think you will find helpful:

Retirement Planning Guide for Seniors

This comprehensive online guide from Lexington Law, a law firm, offers helpful information and advice for navigating your finances as you age and will help you organize, plan and prepare for the future. The guide includes the following sections: Organizing your finances, Managing your retirement, Maximizing your senior status, Managing your credit and debt, Avoiding financial fraud, Preparing your estate, Helping the next generation.

Retirement Living Information Center

RetirementLiving.com is a national resource for consumer information related to retirement. The website provides access to an array of resource materials, including where to retire, personal finance, a newsletter, books and online publications, and buyers guides about special products and services. Some of the information on this website includes: Buyers Guides for reverse mortgage lenders, gold IRA accounts, medical alert systems, hearing aids, Medicare supplement insurance and more; retirement planning resources, such as investing for retirement and retirement income; and information about senior living, including retirement communities, assisted living and memory care.

100+ Ways to Save Money on Healthcare Costs

This comprehensive guide for seniors on Dealspotr.com covers basic information about Medicare, but it also has helpful tips about dental care, eye care, savings on prescription drugs, home assistance discounts, and even grocery store and restaurant discounts.

 


Identifying Your Ideal Second Act

MediaMy colleague Nancy Collamer specializes in helping Boomers figure out their "second act." I like this concept because it implies Boomers are far from washed up; they have plenty left to be fulfilled and to give to the world. That's one of the reasons I named my blog "Happily Rewired," instead of "Retired."

I highly recommend that you visit Nancy's website, https://www.mylifestylecareer.com/, read her blog posts, check out her book Second-Act Careers, and sign up for her free email newsletter.

When you request the newsletter, you'll also receive a free gift, a workbook entitled "25 Questions to Help You Identify Your Second Act." In it, Nancy makes the point that you should always think about the "why" when you are considering "what" to do next. She gives these examples:

Which of my jobs did I enjoy the most? change the question to: Which of my jobs did I enjoy most - and why?

What were my greatest successes at work? change the question to: What were my greatest successes at work - and why?

What type of people do I like working with? change the question to: What type of people do I like working with - and why?

The workbook covers:

  • Values
  • Skills and Experiences
  • Strengths, Gifts and Talents
  • Hopes, Dreams and (Im)Possibilities

You'll find the workbook very helpful in guiding you toward the future you want.


"RBG" -- A Must-see Documentary that Destroys the Aging Myth

MediaIf anyone typifies the adage that you are only as old as you feel, it is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At age 85, Ginsburg often works through the night and spends an hour a day with a personal trainer on a physical regimen that would put people half her age to shame. She has even overcome two of the most serious forms of cancer, colorectal and pancreatic, as well as the loss of her husband Marty to cancer.

Her story is brilliantly told in the documentary, RBG, that recently ran in select movie theaters. If you missed it, this is definitely a film you want to catch when it hits the streaming market. While the documentary includes the standard biographical overview of a celebrity, it speaks to the wonderful relationship she had with Marty, who supported and encouraged her at a time when women were not supposed to be working, much less as attorneys. RBG highlights the remarkable achievements of this slight, quiet woman from Brooklyn, New York, who as an attorney won five of six cases before the Supreme Court, paving the way for the equal treatment of women in our society.

Another aspect of the film is invigorating: It depicts how Ginsburg has become a virtual cult hero among young women, proving that age is no barrier when it comes to greatness. The film offers insight into the personal life of Ginsburg, too, humanizing a Supreme Court Justice in an intimate, endearing way. We see, for example, the warm friendship Ginsburg had with Antonin Scalia, her polar opposite on the Court, and her ability to laugh at herself while watching a Saturday Night Live skit parodying her.

Whether you are a Ginsburg fan or not, it is hard not to respect and admire her after watching RBG. I highly recommend it.


Podcast Series Focuses on Creating New Ventures Past 50

MediaIf you like hearing Boomers tell stories about how they've added a spark to life's second half, you might want to listen to the podcast series, "Mature Preneurs Talk." Podcast host and over-50 coach Diana Todd-Banks, who lived and worked in the U.S. for 20 years and is now in Australia, interviews folks in their 50s, 60s, and 70s about starting new ventures.

Recent podcasts have featured a reinvention life coach who has done plenty of reinventing of her own, a blind entrepreneur, and a man who went from mortgage broker to massage therapist to becoming a leading authority on reading people. According to Diana Todd-Banks, "Mature Preneurs Talk podcasts connect guests who’ve created a new venture near or after 50, 60, or 70 with an audience who seek new ideas and options for themselves. Whether a much needed community group, business, or other venture, the guests chat about their earlier life through to deciding what to do, the pitfalls, tips, funny bits, and their unexpected health and life benefits, and in doing so, encourage and inspire the audience of all ages to spring into action to transform their life as they have done. The guests are a dynamic group of inspirational people with extremely diverse activities and amazing stories looking to do more with their third chapter of life. And they definitely are doing that! Mature Preneurs guests demonstrate it’s never too late to start something new, or to follow a long held dream. Taking that step can make the next chapter of life the best ever which the guests and the host clearly demonstrate."

Diana adds, "I’m always on the lookout for more intriguing guests over 50, 60, 70 and yes 80, and if any of your subscribers feel they fit the profile they can send an email to: info@lifestyleagency.com.au  In the subject line put:  re Mature Preneurs Talk Guest Info."

You can find the collection of podcasts here: http://maturepreneurstalk.libsyn.com/

 


Do Yourself a Favor... Age Well

MediaI find stories about people in their 80s and 90s who are relatively healthy and have positive outlooks to be an affirmation that aging is a natural process that doesn't have to be traumatic. It is true that our bodies slow down, creak, and even fail us once in a while, and that our memory isn't what it used to be -- but it turns out that we can do a lot to "age well."

Thankfully, Tara Parker-Pope, the wellness columnist for The New York Times, has prepared a very handy and very comprehensive guide to aging well. It includes brief but authoritative sections: Eat, Move, Think, Connect, and Live Well. It is brimming with simple steps and helpful advice in a short, easy-to-read format. Embedded in the text are numerous links to other articles and research that backs up the content.

Parker-Pope writes, "While you can’t control your age, you can slow the decline of aging with smart choices along the way. From the foods you eat and how you exercise to your friendships and retirement goals — it all has an effect on how fast or slow your body ages."

I highly recommend this useful guide. You can find it here:

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-age-well


What "The Vietnam War" Should Mean to Boomers

MediaI've heard a number of reactions from Boomers to the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick film, "The Vietnam War," currently playing on PBS television stations. Some folks are watching it with a sense of deja vu. Others feel uncomfortable investing the time in a documentary that revisits a painful chapter of their lives.

As a piece of film-making, "The Vietnam War" is monumental -- 10 episodes, 18 hours. It took over 10 years to complete. I for one find it quite compelling, less so because of the inevitable violence and gore of war. Some scenes leave me sickened and, I admit, make me hesitant to continue viewing additional episodes. Still, I find the behind-the-scenes story of the war fascinating, as told via previously private presidential tapes, excerpts from hearings, and reporting on the growing war resistance movement. Perhaps most of all, the personal interviews woven throughout the film (including rare commentary from North Vietnamese soldiers), along with the vignettes of those who participated in the war, have a lasting impact. The story of "Mogie" (Denton) Crocker, for example, a young patriot who, despite being underage, joins the Marines and eventually gets killed, dramatizes the very personal and devastating effect of the war on American families.

The Vietnam war was the war of the Boomer generation. It was also the first war that invaded our living rooms on a nightly basis. Whether you were for it or against it, whether you served in the armed forces or were a committed protestor, the war remains inextricably linked to our lives as Boomers. For many of us, the war upended our lives when we were the most vulnerable. For some of us, it ended our lives prematurely.

Yes, "The Vietnam War" is a film that may cause a considerable amount of discomfort as you relive it on television. But it is an important moment in history we cannot and should not forget. It has an eerie relevance to the war in Afghanistan, and also to the lack of faith we continue to have in the leaders of government. When one looks around our world today, there seem to be plenty of Vietnam-like conflicts that remain. As Edmund Burke said, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."