AARP Strikes Somber Tone

LOS ANGELES The latest installment of AARP’s “Divided we fail” campaign launched this week in time for the Democratic National Convention and will continue through the election, said Emilio Pardo, chief brand officer at the client.

“We wanted to have real stories of real people with a real need for financial and health security,” said Pardo. “This year’s campaign focuses on ending gridlock on those issues.”

Through Omnicom’s GSD&M Idea City, Austin, Texas, the AARP introduced two somber 30-second spots with a third planned in coming weeks.

In one 30-second spot, a woman beside her silent father tells the story of how her grandmother’s brain cancer led to the man’s financial ruin because the family had inadequate insurance. A second montage-style ad shows numerous people telling stories of woe. A card at the end reads: “1.85 million Americans go bankrupt due to medical bills in one year. Tell Congress that enough is enough.”

Both spots drive viewers to for lengthy back-stories of the people in the montage spot, as well as issues information.

“You will see that every generation is represented in the stories,” said Pardo. “The messages fall into our five pivotal categories: financial, health, connection to community, giving back and recreation. From our point of view, we’re still focusing on our needs and advancing our mission.”

The media buy, also by GSD&M, includes coverage of the Republican National Convention, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and NBC’s Meet the Press, as well as online banner ads.

Pardo declined to disclose spending. The organization typically spends more than $100 million annually in measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Last year’s ad effort drew over 1 million petition signatures, generated 5,000-plus new volunteers and garnered letters of support or pledges from more than 200 members of Congress, the AARP said.