Who among us is pro “anti-aging” anyway?
The past week’s Sunday newspaper featured two very curious advertisements. One, by SanMedica International in the Parade supplement, is formatted cleverly (some would say deceptively) as a feature story with the headline “SPECIAL REPORT: Turn Back Time With the ‘Anti-aging’ Breakthrough Everyone is Talking About.” Another, an 1/8th-page ad from the Life Extension Foundation for Longer Life, which ran in the A section of the San Francisco Chronicle, begins with “World’s Largest Anti-aging Organization.”
The ads are curious for a couple of reasons.
First, who is their target audience? The term “anti-aging” is inherently counterintuitive or worse, offensive, particularly to those of us who promote healthy, purposeful positive aging. Are their audiences individuals who are against growing older, who prefer the alternative – not aging? Undoubtedly, current older adults, healthy or otherwise, are at least chronologically beyond the product’s demographic.
Secondly, there is not even the semblance of independent validation, the fundamental public relations criteria to legitimize whether a product, business or cause genuinely represents the public interest. Review the Life Extension website, www.immortailitynow.com, and there is no apparent relationship, let alone support or endorsement by a credible authority, private institution, government agency or even media coverage.
SanMedica’s speciously titled “Anti-Aging News” two-page spread in Parade is arguably more dubious. It resorts to inferring support for the human growth hormone it touts by weaving into its text general quotes from articles in magazines like Shape and Allure. The text also twice invokes the pop culture wisdom of TV’s “famed Dr. Oz” to bolster its claims.
Even more curious are SanMedica’s copious qualifiers and disclaimers about its product SeroVital (www.serovital.com). The endnotes state: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.” and “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” The author of the ad copy also attempts to marginalize the “‘established’ medical community (and of course, they know everything)” for declaring “[SeroVital’s] benefits are largely anecdotal, with research that’s preliminary.”
Here’s two bits worth of public relations advice (unsolicited, of course) for those who market “anti-aging” nostrums:
- Define your goal in positive terms, as promoting healthy longevity.
- Develop professional relationships with reputable, impartial authorities to independently validate your goals, claims, research and track records.