Big Business Transforms Getting Old into a Sexy New Fad
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It's obvious to anyone who wants to be "needed and feeded" when they're 64 and beyond that elderliness must be repackaged as alluring, sassy and brilliant. Now, dozens of profit-mad companies have succumbed to this voluptuous insight by creating products that have turned 80-year-olds into the new hip-hop generation.
We probably ought to award the Medal of Freedom to Depends adult diapers by Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) (the Freedom to pee any time, anywhere), pictured above with the ever-desperate "celebrity," Lisa Renna, and her gang of leaking jocks. This dear corporation has reminded us that peeing our pants can be as much fun as it was when we were little babies. It has taught us that getting old is kind of like getting young. And it has shown us that the great entrepreneurial spirit can dream up all sorts of products that will make the aging process the hippest, most fashionable and most liberating time of our lives.
Last year, the awesomely compassionate masterminds at Depends created an array of stylish colors and patterns for their product. At last, those enduring the heartbreak of incontinence could stride with pride -- as the very attractive, smartly dressed woman in the TV ad did -- tossing her glossy hair in the breeze and smiling at all the male attention her confidence was eliciting.
As we might expect, this market is already dominated by Chinese firms, which have a far greater range of styles and colors than their U.S. counterparts. Both of these models are from China:
It has been suggested -- thank God! -- that Depends develop a thong version. The prototype is not quite adequate yet, guys. Let's try it in black, or perhaps a nice herringbone pattern.
EVERY FIBER OF YOUR BEING
Getting old used to be such a drab, gray, smelly process, but Baby Boomers' spending power has put pressure on the highest capitalistic authorities, and things are looking up -- very up -- for those of us on the cusp of senior-citizen status.
If you're not incontinent, you're probably constipated, but even that little affliction has been given a surge of youthiness. A recent ad campaign for Metamucil -- the psyllium-husk laxative by Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) -- depicted it as a virtual fashion must-have, with "a bright new look." The ads featured cool models wearing clothes that match Metamucil's "hip flavors" and implied that the models' nice flat tummies were the result of some very excellent bowel action, courtesy of the product at hand. They were literally leaping with the pleasure of that cleaned-out feeling, thanks to a product that has begun touting its ability to help you ward off "age-related conditions."
SAY WHAT? HAUTE COUTURE HEARING
Not so long ago -- like yesterday -- people wanted hearing aids that were as close to invisible as possible. But these devices are wisely being redesigned to look so fantastically "with it" that you might want to get a pair even if your hearing is fine. One hearing aid by Sonic Innovations, whose parent company is Otix Global (NASDAQ: OTIX), is described by the New York Times as looking "more like an earring. Its tiny triangular body comes in exuberant colors like sunset orange, racing green or cabernet red; a slender wisp of wire uncoils gracefully from the body to an earpod no bigger than a teardrop."
Guidant, now known as Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX), has some solid investment in hearing aids through its Advanced Bionics company, and Siemens is another big brand in hearing aids. The parent company, Seimens AG (NYSE: SI), is an electrical giant on the international field.
Does this not ease your anxieties a bit about hearing loss? Now you can look forward to embracing a new, sleek and almost futuristic image. You'll feel like a babe in Star Trek. Buy a stretchy iridescent jumpsuit to complete your ensemble, and challenge the world to regard you as old.
There are other saucy new hearing aids that are more "out there," virtually indistinguishable from the Bluetooth earphones or the Antares MP3 player. Some look like ultramodern jewelry. They will give such a boost to your self image, you might not even want to turn them on. Being inundated with the ambient noise of everyday life is a way-overrated perk of being alive. It's just a distraction from the fabulous insights and analyses that are bubbling to the surface inside your ever-beautiful head.
A TWIRLY TOY FOR AN OLDER GIRL OR BOY
Being in a wheelchair is no longer anything to be depressed about, with the advent of the "Jazzy Power Chair." On TV, folks have been whizzing around in them gleefully for some time, trying gamely to convince us that the "laid back" life is quite superior.
This groovy machine, produced by a privately held, profit-sharing company, enables you to scoot and maneuver around like a toddler with a new toy, and you can choose from a line of "Pride" accessories to go with it, including jaunty caps, T-shirts and a pennant flag that proclaims your seated swagger at owning this magnificent $10,000 beast. Another great benefit of being a bit older is that this motorized throne can be had "at little or no cost to you," thanks to Medicare. Think of all the envious stares you'll get as you zoom past those who still have to walk from place to place.
Don't feel bad, though, if you are still ambulatory. Exquisite and flashy new walking canes are available to bring a little cavalier pep to your step.
You can buy an exact replica of the flame-entwined cane used by Dr. Gregory House on the Fox TV hit. There are royalty canes with skulls and dragons, swords and warriors. There are songbird canes, diamond-cut crystal canes and canes made from rare woods and genuine animal horns. Some have embedded rhinestones! Women can choose from floral patterns, tea-party, New Age and antique canes, among others.
"Whether you need a women's cane for medical reasons or you are just looking for the perfect accent to that distinguished outfit, don't settle for any drab old walking stick," advises FashionableCanes.com.
And for those who have declined a bit past the cane stage, a sprightly new array of designer walkers is available in colors and prints to complement your every ensemble. One surely hopes that they will eventually install a little music player that will put a rock 'n' roll rhythm into your moves.
A WRINKLE IN A TWINKLE
Finally, I predict a "Wrinkle Pride" movement will emerge. Yanked up, tightened skin will be released with a few snips and old people will regard their old faces as badges of honor and perseverance. For those of us who can't seem to get any wrinkles -- maybe because we're so dead inside that we never laugh or frown -- the company that produces Lee's Press-on Nails will develop a line of press-on wrinkles. These will enable us not only to look age-appropriate but also to match our daily wrinkles with our mood, much as Facebook pages include a mood-status icon.
With all the "pride" stuff that is a coming-of-age phase for every disadvantaged or oppressed group, there's sure to be a movement by those with Alzheimer's, if they can just get it together. "It's cool to be out of it -- why would I want to live in YOUR reality?" Some provocative points -- and profits -- could be made with a line of T-shirts that glamorize catatonia. Neverland never seemed so good until Boomers discovered it. Pretty soon, it will be the most "in" destination on the planet.
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