AARP Bows $100 Mil. Campaign Work from Greer Margolis Hits New Target: Aging Boomers

The American Association of Retired Persons is poised to launch a five-year, $100 million branding campaign Oct. 1 to increase membership among aging baby boomers. The effort targets people turning 50, a group unlikely to think of themselves as old or retired.

The multimedia campaign, the first of its kind for the 34-million-member AARP, will include broadcast, radio, print and online ads. Some of the creative will feature faces from both the target audience and people over 50, such as Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, essayist Richard Rodriguez and Bob Greene, a Chicago Tribune columnist.

The advertising launch will highlight AARP’s advocacy work, which includes age discrimination, pension protection and patient’s rights. The campaign will also promote the or-ganization’s community-outreach of-fices, set to open nationwide.

Creative duties are being handled by Greer Margolis Mitchell & Associates in Washington, D.C., which specializes in issue advertising. Fleishman Hillard will handle public relations for the account.

“We know that a lot of people are already familiar with AARP, but we need to create advertising that will surprise and attract potential members,” said AARP representative Lisa Davis. “We do have services that speak to what boomers need and want.” Among the benefits of membership are discounted insurance, investment and pharmacy plans.

AARP hopes to create an image that projects to potential members the value of joining. “The creative will show that age is just a number and life is what you make it,” said Da-vid Mitchell, a se-nior partner with Greer Margolis.

One 30-second spot will air Oct. 1 on NBC and CNN, and an eight-page insert with essays from Edelman, Rodriguez and Greene will launch in the Sept. 25 issue of Newsweek.

Previously, AARP limited its ad-vertising to marketing its magazine, Modern Maturity, and membership drives of smaller scope. The association spent about $18 million on ad-vertising last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.