NEW YORK: AARP has turned to its publication arm's agency of record, the Rosen Group, to put PR muscle behind its latest, and intentionally controversial, marketing effort.
AARP Publications - which puts out AARP The Magazine, AARP Bulletin, and AARP Segunda Juventud - recently unveiled a series of ads and direct mailings that show older people going about their daily lives, donning body bags or toe tags.
"A lot of research went into the ads being controversial," said Shawna Seldon, director of media relations at the Rosen Group. "The audience we are trying to reach needs that controversy."
The coordinated PR push, according to Seldon, is designed to lure more advertisers to the association's publications, especially AARP The Magazine, which boasts a rate base of 22 million. Specifically, Seldon said PR outreach would be focused on "trade publications, where we know the ad buyers are going for their news."
Seldon said the campaign was born when research showed that advertisers tended to ignore consumers over the age of 50, AARP's audience.
"The point," said Seldon, "is to say, 'You can't ignore such a powerful constituency.'"