McDonald’s has launched a new TV ad featuring an elderly woman talking to a millennial about the latter’s “fancy oatmeal.” “In my day,” she says, “oatmeal had two ingredients: oat and meal.” But just when the younger woman thinks she’s in for a lecture about the superiority of the good ol’ days, this snazzy granny whips out a smartphone, snaps a shot of the oatmeal and quips, “I have got to blog about this.” As soon as she posts it, the young woman notes, “It’s… going viral.”
There’s a lot of great stuff afoot in this commercial: the millennial wears the same unaffected, unimpressed face throughout, in an authentic nod to the posture of her generation. And the senior is holding her own in tech-speak and coolness. She’s earned the attention of the most disinterested-seeming girl she ever could’ve met at a McD’s.
It got me thinking about how this generation engages its elders and vice versa. Though a blog entry, posted from a phone, that goes viral within nanoseconds might be a stretch for a senior, there’s an increasing number of older people who are computer-literate, tech-savvy, and up-to-date on the latest slang.
This could be due, in part, to the heightened need for elders to re-enter the workforce after retirement, where their interaction with tech and youth keep them in the loop. It could also be their younger family members, bringing them up to speed. Or it could be their own proactive investment in keeping up with the times.
Whatever the cause, grannies (and granddads) are gettin’ a whole lot hipper.
Take Ernestine Shepherd, for example. A 74-year-old grandma and weightlifter, Shepherd didn’t commit herself to health and fitness till her 50s. Now, she does a 10-mile run a day and a strength training regimen that involves push-ups, chin-ups, and free weights.
Grannies are not playin’.
What the McDonald’s ad seems to be doing is appealing to an underrespresented demographic. Gone are the days of doily-sporting, rocking chair-sitting, sweater-knitting cliches when it comes to seniors. Older ladies are staying “younger” longer and we’re all starting to take note.
So, how hip is your granny? Does she understand–or even use–your slang? Does she know how to operate a Macbook or iPhone? Is she health-conscious, physically fit, or a snazzy dresser?