GSD&M Breaks First AARP Ads

GSD&M’s first work for AARP offers a glimpse into how the Omnicom shop will relaunch the brand early next year.

The three election-oriented TV spots are edgier and, in some cases, funnier than previous AARP work.

The ads use social security and prescription drug prices to motivate viewers to “know where the candidates stand and vote.” Each closes with a frame of the AARP logo.

Two humorous commercials show workers putting up with irritating aspects of their jobs. A diner lectures his waitress in one spot; in another an exterminator has to enter a part of the house from which the cat has never returned. Each closes with a voiceover: “After all you’ve been through to earn your social security, make sure it’s there when you retire.”

“You really don’t think the spot is going to be about social security,” said GSD&M senior vice president J.B. Raftus. “Since the issue is less top of mind, we had to come at it in an unexpected way.”

The Austin, Tex-as, shop’s third ad is less comical. Its newscast focuses on the war on illegal drugs, which leads into a voiceover about “another drug war” —the fight for affordable prescription drugs.

Raftus said the Washington, D.C.-based association wants to use a different tone in these spots and future ones to change people’s perceptions of it as a resource for only retirement-age Americans.

The campaign broke Sunday on national network and cable TV.