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Ad takes cheap shot at the elderly

February 8, 2011
by Patricia Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief
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Like millions of American citizens, I took part in that annual rite of revelry last Sunday night: The viewing of the televised Super Bowl football championship. And, like many viewers, I took particular delight in seeing what kind of creative, outrageous new commercials the “mad men” (and women) of Madison Avenue had concocted for our consumption and critique. Some were quite entertaining while others disturbed me deeply.

However, the chuckles and groans turned to disbelief and disdain as Chevrolet’s spot for its Cruz Eco car unfolded. Set in a nursing home or day care center, a group of seniors are watching TV when a commercial for the vehicle airs. Loud calls by residents to “turn up the volume” and “what did he say” are met with various “funny” misinterpretations by other seniors. Finally, a comely attendant (in a short, form-fitting uniform that I’ve never seen on a CNA), patronizingly shouts to the assembled group the intended message of great mileage and fine styling.

The spot was irritating, patronizing, and a cheap shot at the elderly. And, it was dumb business. You don’t mock what’s turning out to be the country’s largest demographic with vast spending power. It’s time to get a new ad agency, Chevrolet.

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Comments

Oh come on! It was funny. I spend many hours at my father-in-law's assisted living facility (he just got his own first pair of long overdue hearing aids), and the gist of the elders' conversation in the adwhile overplayed for humorous effectwas not too different from what I hear there. And they'll be the first ones to laugh about it. And I didn't find the aide patronizing at all. In fact, the seniors got in the last word when they snapped, "Who asked you?" Have you asked any seniors if they were offended?

No, I didn't ask any seniors if they were offended because, well, I'm not that far off from being a senior myself. In fact, just last summer I received my AARP card--a horrific and deflating experience. So fine ... maybe I am a tad sensitive to elder jokes. But I do pride myself on a more sophisticated sense of humor than exhibited by Chevy. Case in point: I was the first to introduce my teenage sons to such high-brow films as This is Spinal Tap, The Big Lebowski and Borat. Enough said!

Touche!

Patricia Sheehan

Patricia Sheehan

@longtermliving

Patricia Sheehan wrote for Long-Term Living when she was editor-in-chief. She left that...