CARP Member: I hate these ageist commercials!

A member copies us on this complaint letter he sent to TDCT Ombudsman/Feedback department. We found the letter was so interesting we decided to reprint it. What do you think?

To the TDCT Ombudsman and/or Feedback Department: This complaint is directed to TD’s marketing and promotion department vis a vis the TV ad series that’s been seeing airtime for a year or more. I’ll refer to this as the “Old Farts” series. That accurately assesses my feelings about the sad shortcomings of the dubious “creative”. At the same time, it’s a moniker that will leave no reader in any doubt as to which ad series I’m referring. You’ll find one episode in the series here:

In essence, the ad campaign lampoons a pair of “old farts”, octogenarians whom the world has passed by. This issue as I see it is whether or not TDCT should be making sport of the elderly as a promotional tool and exposing seniors to ridicule in a public form.

Let me begin here. I’m 59 years old, and I’ve been a TV customer since I was a teenager in the ‘60s. My mother, still living, active and able is a TD customer living in Montreal. And if my father were with us today, he’d be 88. My father was a TD customer as well. Please keep this in mind as you read.

From the very first time I saw the first episode of the “Old Farts” campaign, it got under my skin. Under the supposed rubric of being “funny” (it wasn’t), it succeeded admirably in being gratuitously disrespectful to the elderly, crudely ageist and laced with derisive schadenfreude. No redeeming qualities of any kind. Every time I see a subsequent episode, my irritation grows. And today is the day I do something about it.

The “old fart” caricatures that TDCT foists upon the small screen audience are anything but cute or endearing; they’resimply unkind. Not much of a branding coup for TDCT, in my opinion. Try this on for size:

“TD Canada Trust — the bank that thinks old people are quaintly useless, incompetent nincompoops and suitable targets for mass insult.”

How does that sound? Not too good, right?

I want to remind you that today’s “useless, incompetent” octogenarians are our parents and grandparents. They came to majority in the Great Depression and WWII. They struggled with economic calamity and global war. Men like the “farts” you find so humourously over-the hill in 2010 fought on the beaches at Normandy. They were mowed down at Dieppe, taken prisoner in Hong Kong, survived the Wolf Pack slaughter of merchantmen on the North Atlantic convoy runs. They gave their young years to a higher purpose and watched their buddies die. They were better and braver men than we’ll ever be, and when it was all over — when the blood was staunched and the dead laid to rest in nice, neat rows in manicured cemeteries – they met girls, fell in love, married, brought children into the world and worked all the hours that God sent to make a better life for their families and their communities.