“Signs of the Times”

Two full page advertisements in The Times today aimed at older people can’t be cheap.  The fact that they are there at all is an indication of the growing importance of the elderly market.  Less surprisingly they are promoting three products which seem to define the stereotypical view of the elderly market – mobility scooters, stairlifts and walk-in showers.  This imagery all reinforces the view that as you get old you’re going to end up frail and immobile unless you purchase these essential but very expensive pieces of equipment.

The first advert is for Quingo Mobility Scooters; a very comprehensive illustration of the chair and all its features and variations.  Just two slight worry areas.  Firstly, there is no mention of the cost of the scooter, but it is obviously not cheap, since they are offering “free gifts” worth around £600 when you purchase one during October – no pressure?  Secondly, there is a small print footnote to say you cannot buy these scooters in mobility showrooms or on-line, which probably means you’re going to get a home visit from a company sales person.  No pressure??  These may well be great products but if they are, why the reticent sales information?

The second advertisement is prominently branded “Age UK”, “Age Concern” and “Help the Aged” which I am sure gives great credibility to the products for anyone considering a purchase.  Again there is no indication of the cost involved.  Understandably a survey will need to be carried out – which will guarantee you a home visit – but not from the charities whose name is plastered all over the advertisement.  Again, in the small print you find the products are provided by the Minivator Group.  Also in the small print, there is carefully worded reference to the profits being shared with Age UK.  That’s “up to” 50% of the “NETT” profits generated by “THIS ADD”.  Full details of the profit sharing arrangement can be obtained by making a written application.  I doubt many people do that – but I will and I will let you know what it says.

Given the excellent reputations of the Charity Organisations involved, I am sure this is a sincere promotion.   It would be good therefore to see a clearer view of the costs and the actual profits shared.  Surely if it’s a good fundraiser for Age UK, they would be proud to talk about it?

I am going to follow up both these advertisements and will report back on the responses I get.

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4 Responses to “Signs of the Times”

  1. john graham says:

    Just to confirm that mobility aids really are big business; there’s another big page of adverts in the Times including Age UK stairlifts but also Age Concern personal alarm service. More stairlifts from Acorn, scooters from ACL and four varieties of walk-in showers from Mobility Plus, Premier Care, Aquability and Easybathing. The last of which offers an extra £500 off until 4pm Sunday in their half price sale – which is a very unsubtle form of pressure sales.

    I could do with a group of elderly researchers to help me follow up on these products in order to check out how appropriate their sales techniques are to older people.


    • john graham says:

      Since sending off for this information, I wanted to find if there was any pressure in the sales follow up. I’m pleased to report that there was no follow up to the literature I received from Age UK’s suppliers.

      Quingo mobility scooters did follow up their literature with two phone calls, firstly trying to find more details about my enquiry and secondly suggesting that a representative comes to visit me to make an assessment. It wasn’t a hard sell but whether an elderly person living on their own would find it easy to resist this follow up – I’m not sure!

  2. john graham says:

    no volunteers as yet.

  3. David Freeman, Milton Keynes says:

    The older population are now in the majority and so are are methods of income i.e. Our pensions!!! Hence we are targetted for the modern attitude of spend spend spend- There is no moral fibre in modern society where independance financial or otherwise in the elderly is respected. We meet our maker sooner than later! But on the way we can become prisoners of our society and do as they bid, or remain independant and cajol and lead in the wisdom and sound process’s of thought.

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