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Aging in Place- Pulling the Trigger

by Louis on November 19, 2010

Two notes about pulling the trigger. That’s how I refer to the basic Aging in Place problem of getting people to plan, creating demand for service, especially in advance of need.

1. Writing to a colleague:

I describe the question as the ‘trigger’ problem. Once the demographics, market analysis, product offerings, etc. are described the market and need will be clear…the big question is

  • “How do you get people to pull the trigger?”
  • What creates a buying mentality about planning – in your own interest– (funeral plots, long term care insurance, any insurance, funeral plans)?
  • How to create a sense of urgency among buyers who a) think old is always ten years older than themselves–even in their nineties, b) don’t really want to face the reality of what you are selling- even though they ‘know’ in the back of their minds it is true?
  • Can it be an aspirational message?

2. After years lauding the success of anti-cigarette social marketing campaigns the FDA wants to put horror pictures on cigarette packs. I don’t care one way or the other, certainly fewer people should smoke, but the question this raises for me is:

Should we have depressing pictures of people lined up in wheelchairs to encourage people to plan about Aging in Place? Will facing images of ‘nursing home life’ full get people to pull the trigger?

Who has the guts to try this in their advertisements?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Harmon November 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Hi Louis,
I have been asking myself this question about pulling the trigger and why people are so reluctant to install basic safety measures – grab bars in particular- even when they know that they should. Convincing people that they are gaining and not losing independence is the trick.

Scare tactics will just upset people. Instead by making grab bars etc… must have items that communicate health and well being rather than deterioration and helplessness,and that by making safety modifications to their home the purchaser is extending their life and gaining an advantage over their peers in terms of health and longevity.

How do we make this fashionable and important culturally?



Patrick Roden November 24, 2010 at 5:30 am

Louis, Kaiser might be just bold enough to take this on—they have bucked conventional advertising wisdom (don’t use old or aging) with promotions that actually use the term “old” in a very positive way.
Aging in place is very much in-line with their THRIVE campaign; seems like a good fit to me.

When I grow up I want to be an OLD woman:

Best, Patrick Roden


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