The AARP holds rally, enlists PR to attract aging baby-boomers

WASHINGTON, DC: The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) turns to PR today to extend its brand image with baby-boomers hitting 50.

WASHINGTON, DC: The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) turns to PR today to extend its brand image with baby-boomers hitting 50.

WASHINGTON, DC: The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) turns to PR today to extend its brand image with baby-boomers hitting 50.

At a rally scheduled today outside AARP headquarters, a large piece of building art is expected to be unveiled to help give a visual demonstration of the new message that the organization reflects: 'Your Choice. Your Voice. Your Attitude.'

There will be online Webcasting, as well as an audio news conference for reporters outside the Beltway. A breakfast briefing will be held for wire reporters, and CD-Rom press kits will be distributed.

AARP executive director Horace Deets is expected to appear on CBS's This Morning.

'This campaign is to show who we are and what we have to offer,' said Lisa Davis, acting communications director for AARP. 'We want to show that AARP is new and exciting and will allow people to live the tagline,' she said.

Although the group has a strong following among people over 65, it needs to ensure it is attracting new members from the lower age band. According to Davis, one in four baby boomers join the 33 million AARP members upon turning 50 years old. But AARP, considered by many to be a senior-citizen organization, wants to better position itself to appeal to the coming generation of older Americans, who place more emphasis on choices and are less trusting than previous generations of large organizations .

Scheduled changes to help AARP reach out to potential new members include the launch of a new magazine called My Generation aimed at aging baby boomers and the expansion of AARP's current network of local offices.

A substantial amount of effort is being placed on internal communications, to make sure AARP staff, volunteers and vendors understand the thrust of the new campaign.

Fleishman-Hillard is AARP's PR agency, and the campaign's yearly price tag for PR is estimated to be at least dollars 6 million. Advertising produced by Fleishman partner agency Greer Margolis Mitchell Burns & Associates also is being used.

But Fleishman chairman and CEO John Graham thinks PR and the new media will be crucial to helping AARP. 'We are talking to a generation that is more skeptical of traditional advertising methods,' Graham said. 'So the PR program we're organizing and implementing with AARP will be an effective way to communicate the message.'



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