Esurance Wants You To Know That Old People Are Ignorant And Pathetic

It was the Candy Crush commercial that did it. I nearly red-flagged Esurance for its commercial earlier this year showing “Lucille,” an elderly, technologically clueless auto insurance consumer whose version of a Facebook wall consisted of posting photographs on an actual wall in her home, but decided, “OK, maybe that’s just Lucille. After all, the ad shows another senior trying to put her straight.”  The recent Esurance ad featuring an elderly idiot who plays “Candy Crush” by hitting hard candies with a hammer was too much, though.

The dirty little secret of the political correctness culture is that the groups most associated with political conservatism—males, seniors, whites and Christians—are acceptable targets for bigotry, denigration and ridicule. Add to that the overweight, who are always fair game for derision today, and the double standard in mockery is clear.

My belief is that good-natured humor, mockery, satire and portrayals of the foibles or characteristics common to any and every group should be taken in the spirit in which it is offered, without offense or protest. That, however, would mean no more censorship of “Amos and Andy” re-runs, no more assaults on the Washington Redskins, no more attacks on Barbie as sexist, and no more protests from Moslem groups every time  a TV comic makes a terrorist joke.

The erosion of traditional respect for older generations is already far-advanced, and technology has deepened the divide. There are ways to encourage seniors to catch up and get wired without simultaneously feeding the conviction of many Millennials that anyone with gray hair is a waste of space. I know Esurance is chasing the younger auto insurance market, but that can be done without making the case for institutionalizing or euthanizing everyone over 55.

I’ll be keeping my Geico policy, thanks, you arrogant, grandparent-hating bigots.

15 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

15 responses to “Esurance Wants You To Know That Old People Are Ignorant And Pathetic

  1. Peter

    A nation which does not respect is elders is not itself worthy of respect.

    • Humble Talent

      I struggle with this, respect for travelling more laps around the sun. I’ll bow to experience, I’ll attempt to approach a stranger with patience, kindness, and as much respect as I’d give anyone else, but expecting more respect, especially for something like accumulating years, hits me as wrong minded.

      • Yep. Survival doesn’t automatically confer respect…nor does it automatically protect against disrespect. Like everyone else, respect is earned and maintained, and like everyone else, strangers should be approaching on the assumption of respectability, until proven otherwise.

        • I imagine those who do not follow that last bit, and do approach the elderly with automatic derision probably do not afford assumed respectability to ANYONE, it just manifests with those who are easier to pick on.

  2. By the Farmstead

    “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” was an utter fail when you hit sixty. Too bad they never think of that.

  3. crella

    Like that stupid meme going around FB, “If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?” 1850s, I could see it. The answers most people post are about iPhones, computers, etc. There are millions of us alive, we don’t have to ‘suddenly appear’, it’s not like we’re extinct, and dagnabbit, we’re using computers! Wouldn’t think fossils could do that, would you?

    Nothing existed before this generation, they thought of everything and are the coolest generation ever (uh-huh). They just do not understand that one day they too, will be 80 and feeble. If I could live long enough I’d like to see them hit that wall, or even 70, and see how they handle it. Every generation thinks they’re ‘it’ to a degree, young people think they’ve got everything figured out and have got the world by the tail. I don’t recall ever seeing this degree of self-absorption, and open contempt for the aged. A 94-year-old man was tied up, pistol-whipped and beaten in his own home last week. Who beats someone in their 90s? Absolutely shameful, but the result of the ‘waste of space’ attitude.

    • Humble Talent

      I think the point was that humanity has gone so far technologically in the last 60 years, that if you had a time machine and transported someone from 1950 here, they’d have a hard time getting by.

      1950s? Someone from 1950 might not know how to start a car, never mind operate it. Wouldn’t know how to dial a landline phone, nevermind a cell phone. Microwaves were invented in 1955, but not common until the late 60’s, They’d probably have a SSN (it wasn’t mandatory if you didn’t have income until 1986), but they would never have heard of Medicare, which came out in 1965.

      It’s a neat exercise.

  4. Jeff H.

    I hate these commercials, but not for the same reason. They play on the pre-show advertainment programming at the movie theater I work at. Strangelt, every major insurance company I can think of runs commercials on that thing, so you wonder how effective they can be when poised against each other like that.

    There’s a different one from a while back with a black man talking about “don’t bother rewinding your DVDs. Far as I’m concerned, it’s the next guy’s problem. She thinks I’m crazy, but… etc.”

    I don’t remember how old he was, but I don’t think he was supposed to be a senior; he was just dumb. Your point on the Facebook wall one is well-made, since the presence of the equally elderly woman who is Facebook savvy seems to indicate this was not the message they meant to send with this one. Especially since… why is mashing candy with a hammer fun? I think the woman is supposed to be legitimately crazy.

    Nevertheless, this is why you need to think hard about what casting choices or other similar decisions like this could mean, even if you know it’s not what you wanted to say.

    • You read my mind, Jeff—the post about the man saying that he wasn’t rewinding videos ended up on my cutting room floor, but just barely.

      • By the way, mashing candy with a hammer looks at least as fun as the actual Candy Crush. I don’t understand its appeal at all.

        • Jeff H.

          As a guy who’s played his fair share of video games, I don’t really understand it, either. I’ve enjoyed similar games, and I understand on a psychological level why it makes so much money, but I won’t bore you trying to explain that.

          • Incredibly tiny amount of reward…sure. But just enough dopamine released compared to the effort put in (sitting on a couch flicking your thumb).

            The reward-cost ratio is remarkably high… because the COST IS SO DAMN LOW.

            It’s a no brainer.

            It’s addiction.

        • Mashing candy with a hammer is essential to producing high-quality, homemade ice cream of various kinds (peppermint, for example).

          I think the commercials with the old ladies that you mentioned are making fun of the cross-generational prejudice that alarms you – not encouraging it. Like almost all commercials, both the Lucille and Esurance ads are funny, the first time or couple of times viewed. After that, they’re just ignorable noise. Poking fun at groups is part of the American way. May it ever be thus – but especially, ever more so, even as the tribalist zealotry of certain groups continues to swell and motivate attempts at oppression of so many others others more and more.

  5. Whatever happened to the sexy animated spy? She may have been the most lusted after cartoon character in history!

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