Events and AARP’s media properties go hand-in-hand. As Jason Weinstein, director of national events at AARP, including the association’s annual Life@50+ event and expo, puts it, “We have a dotted-line relationship to our friends at the magazine shop.”
Although the events group operates semi-independently of AARP The Magazine, AARP Bulletin and aarp.org, it shares a solid relationship with these media outlets when it comes to event marketing and content programming. After all, what better way for the event group to reach its target audience than by tapping into content being shared with 22 million households that receive AARP publications every other month.
Following are fours ways both entities work together to share content and assets:
Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, delivered the keynote at this year’s AARP Life@50+ national event in Miami and appeared on the cover of the magazine’s April/May edition. “We put that forward for all of our speakers,” Weinstein says. “That’s a great way to go, and there are points in time where we have additional messaging—a letter to the editor, or the editor’s message might include content about our events.”
The magazine often sponsors exhibits, such as last year’s display of the last of the boomers turning 50, which was part of AARP’s Boomers@50+ initiative. The exhibit, entitled “The Boomer List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders,” featured 19 large-format portraits of influential baby boomers, one born each year of the baby boom, from Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran and author, born in 1946 to comedian and actor John Leguizamo, who was born in 1964. The exhibit launched at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and traveled to San Diego for last year’s AARP’s national Life @50+ event. “It provided a way for attendees to interact both through the magazine as well as with live events on the exhibit floor,” Weinstein says.
3. Road Shows:
Each year the magazine activates a five- to six-month media road show that travels to venues around the country, including the national Life@50+ event with fun engagements, coupons and samples from AARP sponsors. “The road show is an opportunity to highlight the publication in its booth space and show what goes on with the magazine,” he says.
The AARP SuperStar Contest, a singing competition that grew out of the magazine, sent the final five contestants, hosted by Arsenio Hall, to compete on stage at the national Life@50+ event in Miami. Audience members voted for the top two, who then performed before a panel of judges that included Tena Clark, Emilio Estefan, Chaka Khan and Kenny Loggins. Khan and Loggins performed as well. “That is another piece that was born out of our publication shop and brought to life through live events,” Weinstein explains.
Weinstein sums up the value of live events: “Any experience that people have, be it through print or online or social media, is a great introduction to a brand, but the live event really brings that experience to life. It is a chance for people to get a little bit of dirt under their fingernails with the brand, with the products and services and provides the full picture of what we do.”