Would You Rather Buy From Henry Winkler or From the Fonz?

Fonzie images I saw it again today. I'm referring to Henry Winkler's commercial shilling for reverse mortgages. Or should I say an old "Fonz" shilling for mortgages? Does it creep anybody else out like it does me?

It's just the whole  idea of an old guy with a bad haircut, talking real slow so the old folks don't miss anything and telling them what a great idea it is to take out a reverse mortgage on their home. Now, I'm not here to debate the virtues of reverse mortgages. It's the manner in which the pitch is made.

It's the idea that the Fonz, who was coolness personified back in the day, and Henry Winkler, who looks about a hundred years older than he is, have nothing in common at this point in time. In the commercial, Winkler is poorly dressed, talks down to the viewers and doesn't offer any specifics about the mortgages, other than "you can stay in your home" and "pay off your existing mortgage". He's so far from what you might imagine the Fonz became in his old age, that it's laughable.

In my mind, like a lot of other seniors, the real Fonz is still out there somewhere riding a motorcycle and combing his lustrous locks. OK, they're probably gray by now and he wouldn't dye his hair. But it would still be styled, neat and tidy, and he wouldn't look all "Albert Einstein" as Winkler does in those commercials.

I imagine the mortgage people asHenry Winkler imagesked him to be a spokesperson because the target audience would recognize him. Recognize him as what? The Fonz or a seedy old guy who wants to take their money? Most older folks I know are many times more alert and savvy than Winkler appears in these commercials. It just rankles me every time I see it. The premise seems to be that older people need to be condescended to, treated as rather simple, and are not sharp enough to follow a conversation unless the speaker talks very slowly.

So get with it, reverse mortgage sellers. If you really want to target seniors for reverse mortgages, talk to them as intelligent individuals, capable of making informed decisions about many things.  Let a "Fonz" be the spokeperson, a guy who is still rides a Harley, plays golf or tennis, travels, goes fishing, hikes, volunteers, plays in an orchestra, coaches sports teams, or socializes with friends.  Because that's what most of the seniors I know are up to these days.


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