Is A Reverse Mortgage TV Celeb Spokesman Necessary? Generation Thinks Not

Departing from the tried-and-true advertising model of reverse mortgage spokesmen pitching the product, Generation Mortgage Company this week launched a new TV ad campaign, “Meet the Wilsons,” that features an average family and a lot of throwbacks to an era gone by.

The TV spot, currently being tested in four markets with plans to expand nationally, features The Wilsons: an average American couple with a pretty house and lots of home equity. The music is a nod to 60s era television shows and there isn’t a celebrity to be found.

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“There was some discussion about who we thought a great spokesperson would be, but we decided that wasn’t how we wanted to approach it,” Carl Rojas, Generation’s chief financial officer told RMD. “We wanted to do an ad from a narrative standpoint, tell a story, but in a way the customer base is used to seeing it.”

The campaign, developed over three months and scheduled to run on stations including CNN, Fox News, the History Channel and MSCNB among others, is the first for Generation.

“We’ve been on the sidelines, mainly because we didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing,” Rojas says.

Joining the ranks of TV campaigns by AAG with spokesman Fred Thompson, Urban Financial featuring Robert Wagner and One Reverse Mortgage with Henry Winkler, Generation aims to bring a new perspective to reverse mortgage marketing.

“Here’s the classic American TV couple (let’s say Leave it to Beaver) taking out a reverse mortgage,” Rojas says. “This is the experience we’re trying to leave with people. It should leave them feeling good, not like they’ve used their home as a financing vehicle of last resort. This is the American dream, only in reverse, and of course they live happily ever after.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • >>mainly because we didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing,”

    I’m not familiar with that Marketing strategy.  Those other companies are successful doing it that way, so it stands to reason I’d be successful doing the same.  It doesn’t make make sense to leave it alone, just because everybody else is doing it.  It’ll be interesting to see if it works.

    If I were Generation, and didn’t want to do what everybody else was doing, my Marketing efforts would be applied to the Jumbo niche.  They’ve got the edge right now, but it won’t be like that forever.  Take advantage of the opportunity while it exists.

    • Raymond,

      Just remember what everyone was saying about Senior Lending Network when they tried Jerry Orbach.  That was not doing what everyone else was doing.

      •  Wasn’t James Garner first?  He’s the one I remember.  I’ve heard about Jerry, but only remember James and Robert.

      • Raymond,

        Mr. Garner was the last of the first three major actors signed by reverse mortgage lenders.  I keenly remember each of these three signings because they coincide with different phases of my involvement in the industry.  My favorite ad and video was done by the original, Mr. Orbach.

        Senior Lending Network signed Mr. Orbach in August, 2004.  See http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/14268812/nbcs-law-order-star-jerry-orbach-joins-senior-lending-network-team

        In mid February 2005, Mr. Wagner was signed as the replacement for Mr. Orbach who passed away in late December 2004.  See  
        http://robertwagner.blogspot.com/2005/02/robert-wagner-becomes-spokesman-for.html 

        Financial Freedom announced that it had signed Mr. Garner in June 2005.  See http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20050606/SUB/506060726#

  • It is sufficiently obnoxious to be effective. I would have revealed the “son” relationship at the beginning to increase credibility for the narrator as it would relate more to many seniors. Interest is waning at the end of the commercial when the link is actually made.

    • roxie1,

      You are right as to it’s being obnoxious.  While it is not that obnoxious to listen through the first time, after 16 times it will be irritating.  After its novelty wears thin, it could easily backfire.  This is clearly a high risk commercial.

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