Three’s a trend, they say, and in the past month three ads have emerged that portray seniors as regular human beings — not as cute grannies, aging teens or tech-averse stone-agers. The ads aren’t perfect — it’s going to take America a while to become post-ageist — but whether they signal the slow start of a new era or are just a temporary drop in the bucket, they’re worth a look.
Portal is a new broadband router designed for urban environments where too many people living in close proximity are competing for internet bandwidth. To get the point across, the company’s commercial features the inhabitants of four apartments: a family, a yuppie couple, a bunch of flatmates and an older woman — who, it turns out, is the early adopter who’s having a ball with the latest technology. Even better: No OMG expressions on the youngers’ faces when they discover that their elder has the answer (hey, why be surprised?). Too bad everyone has a real name except “Grandma.”
“Some people call me ‘the hottest grandpa’. Some also said that I’m an instant internet sensation. But do you know what? To prepare for this day, I’ve been getting ready for 60 years.” That’s Deshun Wang telling his story in what appears to be an ad for himself. It’s a “never too late” story with heart: As he tells it, Wang’s late-life back-from-the brink story could inspire even those of us who feel like we’ve made a mess of our lives. “Believe me,” he says, “potential can be explored when you think it’s too late.” After moving to Beijing in his 40s and becoming a penniless drifter, Wang’s big turnaround came in his 70s, and at 79 he modeled on a catwalk for the first time.
She starts the day as a little girl and ends it as an older woman — gray, a little wrinkled and smiling in the mirror. Along the way, to the sound of Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,” we see a free-spirited person holding her own in a relatively unconventional female narrative. Yes, she’s charming the guys, but as AdWeek says in a piece about the commercial, “Our protagonist artfully bypasses the benchmarks of an established life. You don’t see professional successes. There is no love story, no man guiding her footsteps. Her weight doesn’t seem to be a primary concern, and she will not be surrounded by grandchildren.” Hallelujah.
What’s good and not-so-good about these ads? Comments, please!