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More on AARP from Bear in the Woods

Tuesday, August 18, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The latest from our favorite anonymous ad exec:

So, AARP doesn’t officially endorse the President’s health care proposal. Hmm. Could it be that because of their nonprofit status, they can’t — officially — endorse anything like that? I don’t know those rules. I do know, however, they can spend millions supporting it, even without an official endorsement. And the new spots that have broken on all networks in all major markets are, from an advertising standpoint, about as good as it gets. The ambulance chase is particularly well done. The production is on a level with any major product advertising out there. And the buy is in the same league as a fairly major national product launch.

So they don’t officially endorse it. But they’re spending a ton to support it, and they’re using the best possible marketing to do so.

Yet, from what I can tell, many, many seniors aren’t buying it. They’re worried about losing the Medicare and Medicaid they have. And they’re worried about not being able to get a hip replaced because the government doesn’t think they’re worth it. And being older and wiser, they know from experience that the government has this funny way of making even simple things complicated. So the homemade videos and signs at townhalls have, thus far, had a bigger impact than the high-dollar campaigns. Of course, the high-dollar stuff is just breaking now. But the roots of the opposition grass have taken a pretty firm hold. As I’ve said in previous posts, it’s important to craft the message well. But it’s more important to have a message people want to buy.

I wonder how many of its members AARP actually asked about the President’s health care plan before it decided to spend millions of their dollars like this. I wonder, if they did ask, did they listen?. That would be something an organization – or a government – who cares about its constituents might do. If I were a member of AARP, with actual memories of the days of draft card burning, I’d be tempted, now, to check my wallet for other cards that might make good tinder.

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