From "Mad Men," we know a media target is a demographic group who wants and needs the same thing or can be conned into thinking they do. Now, a brief hospital stay conjures up a bizarre new target audience of the old, the maimed and the chronically ill that ad men have in their sights.
The future is grim, if you can believe where advertisers are placing their bets on the bed-bound who watch TV screens all day. For these select viewers, the commercials are specially chosen.
For the more fortunate, there are lovable codgers like former Presidential candidate Fred Thomson and Wilfred Brimley of "Cocoon" to warmly endorse cashing in the value of the home you own, without mentioning the ugly fact that in a number of years, you lose the home and will be looking for other sources to scrounge up money to pay for food. But you'll still have memories of that Vegas vacation paid for by the reverse mortgage to keep you warm.
You don't even need a home, if you watch an infomercial that tells you how to buy a foreclosed one cheap and fix it up for a fabulous profit. No details about the money, energy and skills you'll need to make a huge profit.
But elderly dreams are not all financial. There are commercials featuring middle-aged women tightening their abs and flirting with silver-haired male models, interspersed with Viagra and Cialis ads.
Yet if you really want to risk a seizure for the old folks, turn to Mitt Romney's latest business advice to young people:
"We’ve always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."
Your son may not look like Don Draper or his aging doppelganger, Romney, but surely you can put your aging shoulder to the wheel for a couple more years.
Update: “The 401(k),” a behavioral psychologist tells a New York Times columnist as he ponders retirement, “is a failed experiment. It is time to rethink it.
“Their retirement plan is faith based. They have faith that it will somehow work out.”
If and when they watch hospital TV, they will see a different picture.