A multipronged campaign promotes a new vision for society


Spearheaded by the International Council on Active Aging®, ICAA’s Changing the Way We Age® Campaign will shift society’s perceptions of aging. This campaign has two streams: Rebranding aging, focused on the media and marketers; and ICAA Champions, focused on older adults and youth. The campaign’s objectives, and the steps to take to realize them, are as follows:


Media and marketers objective: Rebranding aging

We use the term “rebranding” because it resonates with marketers and the media. These professions, like many others, have been slow to respond to the needs, dreams, desires, capabilities and expectations of burgeoning numbers of older people. In fact, the majority of adults over age 55 feel that advertising does not reflect their current lifestyle, and they are turned off by marketing messages targeted to them. This ineffective approach costs companies billions in wasted marketing dollars and lost sales. To address this issue, ICAA will:


Create an ongoing public relations campaign that highlights the untapped human potential of an aging population and the opportunities it represents for society—for example, volunteerism, intergenerational and peer education, new ideas and businesses.


Identify, create and share communications guidelines that more effectively reach people 50 years and older. The guidelines will encourage the media and marketers to provide a more realistic and complete picture of what it means to become and be old in North America.


Create a clearinghouse for best practices, guidelines, resources, images and references for use by the media and industry.


Provide presentations, best practices and research to show business leaders, associations and organizations that many older adults lead full lives. This reality has significant implications for a company’s bottom line and how it markets products and services to this population.


ICAA’s Changing the Way We Age® Campaign aims to help overturn ageist stereotypes using strategies that have successfully shattered racist and sexist stereotypes. These include tools for rebranding aging that can be used to help integrate positive, reality-based images of older people into the media, just as we now see more realistic portrayals of individuals of color and women. These groups were also devalued and misrepresented in the past. They addressed this situation by challenging the lack of knowledge that contributed to stereotyping, among other ways.


Older-adult objectives: Change expectations, increase societal participation

ICAA and partners will select a team of ICAA Champions from among their customers and staff who can take on the roles of educators and role models in local communities. These individuals will visit community-based organizations to educate and inform staff about how rethinking the way we age can help everyone age better. They will also inspire older adults and counter stereotyping by encouraging customers to live their lives to the fullest. ICAA will create an information portal to support the outreach needs of ICAA Champions, from campaign how-to-guides to PowerPoint presentations and posters.


Youth objective: Add new meaning to “old school cool”

This campaign will give ICAA Champions and partners the opportunity to encourage more positive expectations of aging among youth through exposure to positive role models.


One of the ICAA Champions deliverables will be charging individuals to earn their Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). ICAA Champions will also participate in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! initiative,” which provides opportunities for intergenerational events that build relationships between youth and older people.


Get involved! Call ICAA today at 866-335-9777 (toll-free) or 604-734-4466, or send a message to colinmilner@icaa.cc.