AARP Foundation shows the ‘Faces of Poverty’ highlighting seniors

Seniors are an unfortunate growing population of those living in poverty. They may barely get by every day, and some may even lose their homes, which is why the AARP Foundation, AARP’s charitable affiliate working to end senior poverty, has unveiled a new multiplatform effort to raise awareness of its mission.

"Today, one in seven seniors live in poverty," said AARP Foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson. "Senior poverty is a widespread and deeply disturbing problem in the US – but it’s often hidden from sight."

Two TV spots dramatize the challenges faced by older adults who struggle to meet their basic needs.

In ‘Garage Sale,’ an older man tags his possessions in preparation for a garage sale, viewing each one with fond memories. He then sits in a lawn chair, watching apprehensively as people look over his possessions. Rather than prices, however, each tag displays what the purchase will enable him to afford, like ‘dinner tonight,’ ‘bus fare,’ and ‘heart medicine.’

The other, ‘Table,’ focuses on a plain table topped with photo frames and mail. The voiceover tells us that after 30 years of the table being an anchor, a mailroom, a community board, a memorial, it’s a very different story these days. The camera zooms in on a final eviction notice as movers sweep the items off the table and into boxes, and it follows them as they haul the table out of the house.

Both spots end with the message, "Even when you prepare, life doesn't always go as planned. Today, one in seven seniors live in poverty. To learn how you can help, visit"

Marsh Ryerson continued: "These ads are a call to bring senior poverty out of the shadows and into the mainstream American narrative. They’re a rallying cry for action that fosters resilience, strengthens communities and restores hope."

The print effort features the faces of seniors living at or near the poverty level. With a headline that reads simply, ‘The face of poverty isn't who you think,’ they capture their subjects’ dignity and resilience. The portrait-style images were shot by renowned photographer, Platon, whose work has graced over 20 Time magazine covers.

AARP Foundation worked with Grey New York, AARP’s agency of record, to create an integrated campaign that includes online video, social media, digital, public relations and special events. It will appear across AARP's communications channels.

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