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Celebrity Seniors In Reverse Mortgage Ads

I grew up watching The Fonz on Happy Days, so it’s a bit of a shocker to learn that Henry Winkler is now a spokesperson for the reverse mortgage industry — along with Fred Thompson (former Law and Order cast member), singer Pat Boone, and actor Robert Wagner (It Takes a Thief, Hart to Hart).

Celebrity Seniors Reverse Mortgage Ads
TV or not TV? That is the question. While these names might summon more than a little nostalgia, it’s also true that today’s senior — increasingly, an aging Baby Boomer — is a far cry from those of yesteryear. Whereas the traditional reverse mortgage demographic typically was a widow in her mid-seventies who kept the television on during the day for company, today’s prospect can be up to a decade younger, and is more apt to be out burning up the tennis court, playing with grandkids, or still running a business, than home alone with the tube. Even if they are at home, odds are they’re online and interactive, rather than being a one-way media sponge.

All of which invites the inquiry: Are celebrity spokespeople becoming an anachronism? Will TV ads lose their effectiveness as a reverse mortgage marketing vehicle, as Internet advertising takes hold with younger seniors who are more accustomed to doing their own research online?

Between technology, improved health, and a zest to live their elder years differently than previous generations, it’s a developing trend worth watching. Because even though to me (and doubtless legions of cohorts) Fonzie will always be a 20-something leather-clad rebel with a heart of gold, in reality he’s now the same age as one of America’s historic highways (Route 66). Even celebrities become seniors. But will we be tuned to the TV when we do?

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