Senior Housing Advertising During COVID-19

The new messages of advertising senior living communities in the coronavirus pandemic will need to be absolutely transparent, according to award-winning advertising consultant Rick Barrow.

Rick shared his thoughts on the state of senior housing advertising during an episode of Pod-Pourri, The Ehlers Group’s podcast.

He said creating messaging that resonates with families is critical even as senior living communities jump on the bandwagon of promoting their safety protocols and making resident safety a priority.

The jumping off point for Rick was the opportunity to work with The Palace Group, who welcomed his desire to be different and break away from traditional senior housing advertising. Focus groups with residents solidified his thinking that senior living advertising needed to speak more to the customer. The Palace Coral Gables was under development and the 2012 election was underway. The first campaign he launched was with pictures of 10 seniors smiling and the headline read, “What can three Democrats, four Republicans, two Tea Partiers and one stubborn liberal finally agree on? And the answer was The Palace Coral Gables!” 

He said he was bothered senior housing advertisements always showed a cute older couple toasting with champagne glasses or waltzing around an unknown lobby. For The Palace, he coined the term “The Palace Generation” to describe their prospective resident. In social media, direct mail and print advertising, Barrow’s concept is “Residents are not just Uncle Al or Grandma. These are the people who invited rock and roll…they went to the moon…they knocked down the Berlin Wall. They went to Vietnam, marched for civil rights, and invented the environment campaigns. In fact, they thought of bikinis and James Bond. It’s the generation of Arnold Palmer, John Glenn, Steve McQueen and Audrey Hepburn.” Advertising shouldn’t treat seniors in a condescending manner. 

Rick wants to develop campaigns that speak to their generation and acknowledge their accomplishments while respecting their stories. 

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the challenge will be convincing the customer that senior living is an absolutely pristine environment. Senior housing will face the same challenges as other industries in the tsunamic of cleanliness and it’s a new game of consistently raising the benchmark.

To hear Rick share more of his thoughts, be sure to listen to the podcast episode by clicking here.

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