Stuart Elliott’s advertising column in today’s Times features a profile of the AARP and its decision to hire DMI Music and Media Solutions to develop a strategy to make music and sound part of the AARP brand.
Officially called "sonic branding," music and sound branding is supposed to provide another new and different way with which marketers can connect with target audiences. As an example, Elliott cites the familiar "Intel Inside" music as well as the use of the song "As time goes by" by Warner Bros. at the start of each new movie to connect in some soulful way with audiences. Indeed, sonic branding supposedly strikes a chord (pun intended) deep within the target audience and opens their mind to whatever product or service offering is to follow.
For all I know, sonic branding may, in fact, be a smart marketing alternative. But, the AARP, which no longer calls itself the American Association of Retired Persons, will never connect with me. At least not for another 15 years or so.
As a case in point, my assistant recently begged me to join AARP so I could begin receiving all of their considerable discounts. "No friggin’ way," said I. "That’s for octogenarians, not me." And that, in a nutshell, is AARP’s problem. They did a great job positioning themselves over the past 25 years as the THE lobbying group and resource center for old folks. Shortening their name to an acronym doesn’t suddenly make them resonate with me or my ilk. Nor will hearing "Purple Haze," "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "Eight Miles High" in the background of new AARP TV spots change my mind.
With people like me thinking that 50 is the new 30, the AARP’s marketing challenge resembles a "long and winding road." As Sir Mick once sang, "Time is on my side." And, with all of the recent medical advances prolonging life, he’s right.
I’m "Talking ’bout my generation" and until you start doing the same and reflecting my views, AARP, I’m going to remain an unaffiliated "Free bird."