The Golden Age of Golden Years

Life begins at 50

Like the membership it represents, AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) approached its own "Big Five-0" with introspection. Although it remained one of the most powerful lobbying and advocacy groups in the U.S., AARP's services had become fragmented and its messages inconsistent. As the baby-boom generation reached retirement age, the organization needed to communicate effectively its value to constituents who were living longer, more dynamic lives. While AARP showed an aptitude for understanding its base, the base itself perceived the organization as limited to advocacy and product endorsement.

Focusing on ageless concerns

Siegel+Gale set out to revitalize AARP in light of the changing attitudes and needs of both its membership and older Americans in general. Extensive polling of members, partners and suppliers revealed that aging baby boomers were "optimistic, engaged and future-forward."

Our goal was to communicate to prospective and current members that AARP is a champion of social change that helps people navigate ageless realities: the need for financial well-being, the need for health and community and the need to contribute, engage and enjoy. We worked from the ground up, articulating a brand positioning with AARP in the "champion" role, realigning its brand architecture, overhauling its visual identity, and refining its Brand Voice®. With extensive guidelines and plans for internal and public road shows, we gave AARP the tools to present a more substantial and cohesive brand identity, and to communicate AARP's vision in a way that highlights and synthesizes its core strengths and diverse offerings.

A million new members

AARP's gains were staggering: one million new members joined in the first year after launch. "Intent to join" numbers among 45–59-year-olds also jumped more than 60%, while "intent to renew" rates rose from 79%–85% in the 60–74 age group. Overall, favorability ratings increased in all audience segments.

With 24 million subscribers in 2008—more than Reader's Digest and Better Homes and Gardens combined—AARP Magazine found itself alone at the top of magazine circulation. Readership climbed to 800,000 in six months and 1,300,000 in a year.

The "Champion" brand positioning led to a renewed focus on health and financial well-being that culminated in the "Divided We Fail" campaign, which ultimately gained more than 400,000 signed supporters, including nearly half of Congress.

Standing atop Siegel+Gale's comprehensive brand strategy, AARP is positioned for continued health and growth through its own middle age and beyond.

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