Friday, August 3, 2018

Are You Kidding Me?

When I checked my email this morning, I had the usual emails from companies that I sometimes use for online purchases or receipts by email.  I didn't think too much about an email from Best Buy that had a subject line: NEW: Tech for Seniors.  After all, it is the time of year to see back-to-school specials.  I thought that this was probably an advertisement for seniors in high school who were needing technology.  Was I wrong!!!

When I opened up the email, this is the picture I saw!
  I don't usually rant, but I immediately had a reaction to the picture of the older woman.  She's attractive so they picked a good model, but it certainly wasn't the age group I was expecting.  And then I read the verbiage: Feel safe, connected, and confident.  I am certainly not the intended audience since I use technology constantly, but I am 65 years old and was really disturbed by these ads.  For one thing, this is playing on fear by inferring that seniors have an increased need of safety.  Even the model they chose was purposeful to promote this concept because this woman looks very competent. I just don't buy the premise that her fearlessness is due to the "simple and smart tech" that Best Buy hopes to sell to her!  I decided to go deeper to see what products they were hoping to sell to seniors.

Imagine my surprise when I found that as a senior, I am in need of medical alert devices (send the ambulance-I'm having a heart attack), special earbuds to amplify speech since I must be losing my hearing (what did you say?), and monitoring systems so my family can keep track of me (I've fallen and I can't get up)! 
I must also be losing my eyesight so I need big buttons, and please keep it simple because I can no longer understand complex systems.
Can you believe that this is called GrandPad?  Obviously, this senior doesn't do much with technology. 

I was pretty amazed that these ads thought so little of the capabilities of seniors.  Do I think these products are bad?  Certainly not!  There may come a time when I may need some, if not all, of these items.  However, the seniors who are starting to age to the point where these are necessary are not going to be looking at these ads on their computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, or even email anyway.  And then it dawned on me: these ads are for the children of seniors!!!

The marketing content for the GrandPad is what really clued me in:

This is when I was really insulted!  It is hard to care for aging parents.  I know!  I've been there.  I resent this company for promoting ageism and the belief that seniors are not technologically inclined.  I think it's wrong for them to incite and play on the fears of adult children who care about and for their parents.  It's time for some understanding of what it's like to grow older!

We should be sending the message to seniors that technology is for everyone and that there are many options available for them to choose from depending on their comfort, interests, and needs.  I believe in our ability as seniors to learn new things and embrace new ideas.  So, I'm hoping to see more hopeful, positive ads about new smart phones, streaming services, and computers/laptops/tablets with learning opportunities available.  It would be great to see ads that offer multi-generational learning opportunities using cutting-edge technology.  I choose to see possibilities not deterrents to seniors embracing and staying involved in technology, because technology is a joyful tool for staying engaged!  I hope advertisers can become more forward-thinking in their quest for the senior dollar and that we all can examine any ads we see with informed eyes to reject ageism.  I certainly will!

Have you found your Tech Joy today?


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