Sunday, December 02, 2001

Hey, they get it.
I started out thinking I'd post something here about those who might not get it but nevertheless are eager to co-opt the lingo. See "Choice. Voice. Attitude." The official tagline for AARP makes the outfit sound more like a place you can read about The Bombast Transcripts than the benefits of aqua-cize... Not one to make unsubstantiated leaps about whether money is being put where mouth is, however, I nosed around a bit on the AARP site, and truth be told they are awfully engaged over there. My search on "viagra" turned up this article about "better sex through chemistry," and my search on Geritol returned just one hit - no pitch or product description, just a metaphor for the performance advantages associated with cleaning up your computer's startup folder. In fact, by the end of my visit I was forced to conclude that the self-proclaimed voice of America's seniors is perhaps the epitome of gonzo. Their writers take a stand, express opinions, and spark familiar-ringing discussions concerning, for example, the risks v. benefits of social marketing:

"The best tool for closing [the information gap in healthcare] is advertising. Economic research has consistently shown that advertising improves markets, bringing better informed buyers and better products. Now advertising is doing the same thing for prescription drugs. A 1999 survey by the Food and Drug Administration found that consumers use ads to get essential information about both the risks and benefits of drugs. Twenty-seven percent said ads caused them to talk to their doctors about conditions they never discussed before. On the other hand, the survey found that only about 4 percent of consumers have had bad experiences with their doctors when they talked about the drugs they see in ads. Direct-to-consumer advertising is here to stay, and that is a good thing for AARP members." (By John E. Calfee; Mr. Calfee got quite an earful in response to that one.)

I guess all this is just a sign that gonzo is here to stay, and with any luck will keep turning up in places we may not necessarily expect it. (Thanks to Norlin for describing his discovery of voice, promising metaphysical substance to come, and causing me to giggle when AARP's tv campaign proclaimed its weirdly parallel course.)

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