Follow Up to Older Women Returning to Work

I caught this commercial and was curious to see if anyone else thought it was as offensive as I do. Someone did. A portion of the post is below:

The entire post is at : http://www.examiner.com/article/six-ways-esurance-s-new-ad-campaign-misses-the-mark

6. Insulting the two most important audience segments

The two Esurance commercials don’t just make the wrong point. They make the wrong point in the wrong way, by making fun of two crucial audience segments.

Geico customers and considerers are important, because that’s the brand Esurance has set themselves up to compete head to head with.

And older consumers – particularly Early Baby Boomers, who are now in their 60s – are important, if only because there are so darned many of them; since their birth Boomers have been, far and away, America’s biggest demographic cohort.

The commercials insult both, by depicting them as senile and stupid.

One commercial features Beatrice, who’s saving time by putting up grandkids’ photos on her wall – not an online picture wall, buy a drywall wall in her house.

Another stars Larry, a guy so old, he probably grew up thinking his race was Black instead of African-American, who saves time by not rewinding rental DVDs before he returns them and is happy saving time with 15-minute quotes from Geico. In case the insult here was too implicit, the voice-over explicitly disses him by calling him crazy. (“15 minutes for a quote is crazy.)

Maybe the idea is to make some prospects feel insufferably smug about themselves with stereotypes of old farts as people too dumb to figure out computers.

If so, that’s wrong on two counts:

From a historical and factual standpoint – retirees were among the earliest adopters of computer technology, starting with a newfangled thing called email.
From a marketing strategy and creative execution standpoint – you don’t sell people on your band by calling them stupid, senile or coming up with other ways to mock them.

2 Comments

It’s easy to laugh at these types of ads the first time you see them, but I’m more and more aware of stereotypes in advertising every day. The second time you see it, it’s not funny. The third time you see it, it’s softly offensive. And then it’s an abject failure when it kicks in that the company is pandering to the lowest possible element in their advertising. There are companies I’ll never buy from because of it, but I think I’m probably in the minority.

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