Silver Grey goes to college

 

You know you've arrived when your web-site gets hacked! Who'd bother, otherwise?

A couple of weeks ago we went to visit some students at London College of Communication who had been given a brief to create an advertising campaign to promote our web-site. Eight groups of students presented their work, which ranged from witty poster campaigns and videos to guerilla marketing events.

 

You know you've arrived when your web-site gets hacked! Who'd bother, otherwise?

 

A couple of weeks ago we went to visit some students at London College of Communication who had been given a brief to create an advertising campaign to promote our web-site. Eight groups of students presented their work, which ranged from witty poster campaigns and videos to guerilla marketing events. Overall we were incredibly impressed by the level of the work and enthusiasm and the way they had interpreted what the Silver Grey stands for.

 

This all began when, towards the end of 2012, we received various emails from students from the London College of Communication saying that they had been given the aforementioned project, and seeking information. Coincidentally, a few days previous to that, we had received an email from an "Internet Security Company" warning us that our site was vulnerable to being hacked. Lo and behold, and on the same day that we received the students' emails, our site was indeed hacked, and for a brief time every page of our site redirected to Msn.com - who was to blame?!

 

With a "Site down for maintenance" page in place, we thought we should do some investigating, and started with the college. We got in touch with a lecturer from the appropriate department, who verified the students' credibility and assured us that they would on no account have been responsible for the hacking. That left the so-called "Internet Security Company" as the probable culprit. The hacking was soon repaired, and the site restored. Returning to the LCC students, their lecturer Grant Rose explained the project and invited us to view the students' work when they presented it for assessment in a couple of months time.

 

Given that none of the students had reached even half of the entry age of SGSC, we were impressed with how well they had taken on the challenge to received wisdom which we throw down on our site. SGSC strongly opposes the idea that the physical life is all downhill after 50, we believe that if you keep yourself strong life continues to be full of possibilities. Most advertising takes the line that the only dynamic period of life is at around the age of the students themselves. It was exciting to see how they had created the type of campaigns normally aimed at this younger demographic and made them relevant to our audience.

 

One group in particular we felt came closest to expressing what is at the heart of our site. Spoofing a Nike poster campaign by using older models in place of twenty-somethings, they expressed our belief that by keeping fit and strong in order to avoid age-related frailty, you maintain for yourself a greater set of possibilities as to how you can live your life after the age of 50. In fact, each of the groups came up with ideas that in their own way were exciting and innovative, from parachutists jumping out of the sky emblazoned with SGSC logos to street installations and an exhibition of sporting artefacts.

 

As we didn't set the brief ourselves, we'd like to clarify our position on a few issues which we felt had been misunderstood, either by the students or their research interviewees.

 

Firstly, the word Club in our name. When researched by one of the groups, some people found it was an off-putting element, and said they "didn't want to join a or another club". For SGSC, "Club" is only meant to imply inclusivity and community between like-minded people, and a commitment to an idea and an approach to life.  

 

Secondly, some interviewees said that they didn't want to be identified purely by age as they saw it, and found it limiting to be categorised in that way. Our response is that chronological age is fact, capacity and capability are self-determined. So we 'categorise' people by their choice to continue with a sporting life at a high level. You can't change the fact of your age, but you can change what you are able to do at that age. As Hilary Walker - one of the Silver Greys whom we filmed - says, "Don't put limits on yourself - you'll be surprised what you can do".

 

One group of students reported a negative response from some of their interviewees to "Surfing through the Menopause" - a website-published book written by SGSC contributor Lily Young. We don't know if it was a response to the book itself, its title or its inclusion on the website. The book is a humorous account of one woman's journey learning to surf while at the same time going through the menopause, and counters the 'dread' usually associated with this event. Like age is for everyone, the menopause is for women a fact of life. The book is included because it is a positive approach to a taboo subject, and therefore fully in line with the SGSC ethos.

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All in all it was a great experience for us to see what the advertising students made of our site, and to see the SGSC attitude reflected in such innovative campaigns.