Have you seen the movie Mean Girls? One of the popular teen girl characters desperately tries to invent a new slang word, using ‘fetch’ to mean ‘cool’ as often as possible. She is cruelly shut down by the Queen Bee of her clique: “Gretchen, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. It’s not going to happen.”
Call us cruel, but that’s all we can think of when we see AARP’s new commercials trying to turn “aarp” into a hip-for-hip-older-folks word. It’s primarily used in the phrase “you don’t know aarp,” sort of a cheeky play on “you don’t know jack.” (As you might imagine, they pronounce this new noun similarly to the first syllable of aardvark.) This latest AARP campaign features cool, connected, attractive 50+ people engaging in a vibrant, tech-savvy life. We actually love this concept. We can hardly consider 50- and 60-somethings to be old; they’re often at least as fabulous and plugged-in as their children.
We’re all for making the AARP generation happen. This new approach of treating their audience like people-who-happen-to-be-older, rather than just old people, is totally fetch. But trying to turn a decades-old, well-known acronym into a regular word? Please. Stop trying to make ‘aarp’ happen.