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Give me your arguments for/against mass media anti-aging advocacy

outreach advertising mass media youtube television newspapers print advocacy awareness anti-aging

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#1 Brett Black

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 05:28 AM


I'm considering putting my resources and efforts into using mass media advertising (print, TV, Youtube, social media etc) for raising awareness and funding for anti-aging scientific research and development. I'd like to hear any arguments for or against such campaigns. I've already done some reflection on this myself and here are some of my initial thoughts:

Arguments for

1. The more people that are exposed to these ideas the better. It's a numbers game and a groundswell of awareness is a defining characteristic of successful broad changes in public opinion and political policy. There are innumerable and unpredictable ways, large and small, that raising awareness in people could be the seed for positive change.

2. Even if the vast majority of those who are exposed to the advocacy do not respond in any meaningful positive way, it could still reach and influence a small number with great power/resources who could contribute disproportionately.

3. A well conceived and executed campaign might set off a dominoe effect for a wider discussion in the media, editorials etc.

4. There are recent historical precedents like mass media advocacy to find a cure/treatment for AIDS/HIV, breast cancer etc that have been very successful.

5. If the campaign itself does not produce any immediate tangible change in funding and mindset it could still act as a small, incremental, foundation, preparing the way for smoother and easier public acceptance of future anti-aging progress.

6. Mass-media anti-aging advocacy has never been attempted before, maybe there is in fact significant latent public support for anti-aging, and all it needs is an initial seed, and advertising is a tool that could achieve this.

Arguments against:

1. The science is at an early stage and mass media advocacy might falsely raise people's hopes and lead to a bubble of hype that soon bursts and leads to disillusionment and distrust.

2. The current dominant social/cultural/political/religious environment is such that the reaction to the campaign could be one of offence, fear, defensiveness, derision, denouncement etc, resulting in the opposite outcome of the desired goal.

3. The return on investment might be poor, the money might be better spent directly on research. More resources might be spent on the mass media campaigns than is returned in donations/funding/interest.

4. The best way to cultivate public support is through scientific anti-aging research breakthroughs themselves; the news media will give free advertising at a scale impossible to match if sufficiently impressive breakthroughs are made, and the public will be most influenced by concrete scientific results and evidence.

-

Any other thoughts on possible benefits and risks, or any other comments/points/tactics relating to anti-aging advocacy using advertising in the mass media would be much appreciated.
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#2 Janusz Czoch

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 08:47 AM

Very good points Brett. IMO radio advertising would be very cost-effective. We are selling an idea not a product. SF Bay Area perhaps?

 

N.B. Major Caveat:

There has already been a generous amount of advertising in the form of quite respectable amount of media coverage together with Aubreys intensive public talks campaign. To little avail.

 

Because the whole perception about how audiences think has been badly misunderstood together with ongoing and chronic lack of proper effective website geared at catching casual visitor, the effort resolutely falls flat on its face.


Edited by Janusz Czoch, 12 February 2015 - 08:51 AM.


#3 Sanhar

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 07:52 PM

I'd suggest you do what I myself am doing.  A traditional advertising campaign is at this time premature because we don't have enough solid *results* to show for what we do.  The public doesn't care about what it looks like we'll be able to do or even what we've proven we can do that does not yet have application to the general public.  If we engage in traditional advertising at this point we will wind up opening ourselves to too much counterattack and ridicule from our opponents and they are numerous at this point.

However there IS something you can do and it will help.  By seeding resources (articles, more information portals, instructional videos, forming groups, talking to people locally and then networking them into a greater whole) you can accelerate preparation for the time when advertising is helpful.  That time is coming and the more we do to make it successful the better off we will be.  The means by which you can do this are many.  For example: plan and hold a small convention in your area.  That takes a bit of money but if it even affects 200 people positively you've made a real difference going forward as that 200 will talk to maybe 800 more, and so forth.

 

The key point is reaching out to people on a more personal basis is not only more effective (people will listen to something told to them in person that they will ignore in the mass media) but it is largely shielded from the opposition as they either don't know what you're doing or are in no position to really do anything about it.

 

One major caveat to the above: if the major LE organizations (Methuselah Foundation, SENS, etc.) start a push you will want to back them up, preferably by coordinating with them.


Edited by Sanhar, 12 February 2015 - 07:55 PM.


#4 Janusz Czoch

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 03:50 AM

 

A traditional advertising campaign is at this time premature [...]

Time is a luxury you /we/ do not have. Please wake up to this.

 

By seeding resources (articles, more information portals, instructional videos, forming groups, talking to people locally and then networking them into a greater whole) you can accelerate preparation for the time when advertising is helpful.  That time is coming and the more we do to make it successful the better off we will be.  The means by which you can do this are many.  For example: plan and hold a small convention in your area.

-Sounds very much like advertising.

 

 

[...] we don't have enough solid *results* to show for what we do.  The public doesn't care about what it looks like we'll be able to do or even what we've proven we can do that does not yet have application to the general public.

Thankfully that is not true or else it would stop other medical research charities advertising on say; cancer. It is catch22 to the second point. As soon as something were to be ready the cycle of mistrust would bring appeals for what we cannot yet do back to square one. Furthermore, global research has accrued mountains of medical miracles to-date. So the public ought to know better by now and thankfully many do.

 

 

If we engage in traditional advertising at this point we will wind up opening ourselves to too much counterattack and ridicule from our opponents and they are numerous at this point.

It depends on how and what is said, and if one already has people and a concrete presence to be seen to walk the walk. The era of such vulnerability has now passed. Might seem a bit drastic but compare all this to SETI -also of Mountain View. SETI advertise and do not seem unduly bothered worrying about the h8te trollz lol. 

 

SF should have a sufficient quotient of tech-progressive open-minded individuals to make it worth while to try to reach them.

 

IMO a whacking amount approx 50% of sens aimed trolling is an understandable process resulting directly  from partial, functionally incomplete messaging which leads to obvious suspicions of either deluded beliefs or a charlatan at work. Both ripe irresistible targets; not the LE itself proper..

 

 

That takes a bit of money but if it even affects 200 people positively you've made a real difference going forward as that 200 will talk to maybe 800 more, and so forth.

-Yes but not as it stands now. Those 200 whom you speak to go home and the very first thing they do before speaking to their mates is check out the sens.org site at which point they stop cold. The End.

That is one of the very big reasons why all Aubrey's talks fail.



#5 Sanhar

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 08:16 AM

 

 

A traditional advertising campaign is at this time premature [...]

Time is a luxury you /we/ do not have. Please wake up to this.

 

By seeding resources (articles, more information portals, instructional videos, forming groups, talking to people locally and then networking them into a greater whole) you can accelerate preparation for the time when advertising is helpful.  That time is coming and the more we do to make it successful the better off we will be.  The means by which you can do this are many.  For example: plan and hold a small convention in your area.

-Sounds very much like advertising.

 

 

[...] we don't have enough solid *results* to show for what we do.  The public doesn't care about what it looks like we'll be able to do or even what we've proven we can do that does not yet have application to the general public.

Thankfully that is not true or else it would stop other medical research charities advertising on say; cancer. It is catch22 to the second point. As soon as something were to be ready the cycle of mistrust would bring appeals for what we cannot yet do back to square one. Furthermore, global research has accrued mountains of medical miracles to-date. So the public ought to know better by now and thankfully many do.

 

 

If we engage in traditional advertising at this point we will wind up opening ourselves to too much counterattack and ridicule from our opponents and they are numerous at this point.

It depends on how and what is said, and if one already has people and a concrete presence to be seen to walk the walk. The era of such vulnerability has now passed. Might seem a bit drastic but compare all this to SETI -also of Mountain View. SETI advertise and do not seem unduly bothered worrying about the h8te trollz lol. 

 

SF should have a sufficient quotient of tech-progressive open-minded individuals to make it worth while to try to reach them.

 

IMO a whacking amount approx 50% of sens aimed trolling is an understandable process resulting directly  from partial, functionally incomplete messaging which leads to obvious suspicions of either deluded beliefs or a charlatan at work. Both ripe irresistible targets; not the LE itself proper..

 

 

That takes a bit of money but if it even affects 200 people positively you've made a real difference going forward as that 200 will talk to maybe 800 more, and so forth.

-Yes but not as it stands now. Those 200 whom you speak to go home and the very first thing they do before speaking to their mates is check out the sens.org site at which point they stop cold. The End.

That is one of the very big reasons why all Aubrey's talks fail.

 

 

In order:

 

1. Saying we don't have the time to wait is not going to make efforts more likely to succeed.  We run a real risk of backlash and/or wasted resources if we make a push before we're properly ready; this is a risk of a negative, not a null.  Unless I see SENS, Methuselah or what have you making a real push I am not going to believe that the time is right to push things given that we just overcame being called pseudoscience in the scientific community over the last few to several years.  Now, this doesn't mean we will likely need much longer.  What with the rapidly advancing Internet of Things, advent of personalized medicine, bionic limbs, quickly developing 3-d printing (and how about that Microsoft Hololens!) the public is about to lose all ability to disbelieve anything, or so I feel.  That is going to open the door for both our efforts and likely a lot of other things to be believed.  This is all happening within the next three years I'd wager.

 

2.  No, that's pre-advertising.  It's what you do to make advertising efforts more likely to work afterwards, similar to how you wait to launch a campaign until people are ready to hear it... this is how you make them ready to hear it (along with the societal shifts I noted above).

 

3.  I was specifically talking about, literally, what we do, i.e. life extension.  The public has some serious mental blocks when it comes to the idea of not dying.  Cancer, on the other hand, is far scarier, and worse people lose a lot of loved ones to it and that makes them hate it.  Yes, I know, they lose a lot to death itself too, but people have been conditioned for generations untold to accept death as inevitable.  Cancer never quite made that category.

 

4.  So you're saying SENS has simply done a bad job of advertising so far?  Well, I have to tell you, I'd be hard pressed to get people to accept the message in the current environment, never mind in the past.  There may have been more problems than that but I really do see this.
 

5.  By "affect them positively" I mean engaging in some kind of connection that is going to make them do more than that.  I run a nonprofit that holds frequent, small events and you do have to make an effort to get them to care about what you're doing; if they're just going home and checking a website with nothing more... you're doing it wrong.  People keep coming back so I figure the concept must work.  I expect I'll help plan some LE conventions, too, once my network is more mature than it is now.



#6 Logic

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 12:35 AM

I think the public pictures a person in twice as bad shape when one talks about life extension.
ie: They picture an 80 year old person...X2!
Emphasis should be put on decreasing the rate of aging.
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#7 Brett Black

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 02:17 AM

Thanks for the input so far guys. My impression is that SENS advocacy typically has more of a science-heavy, technical, in-depth, intellectual style. That style is suitable for engaging certain audiences, for example those who are in the STEM fields, but it may not be effective in reaching the much larger broader public. When I think about using mass media I think about using techniques that appear to be more suited to the casual person who is not particularly science or technology savvy, who won't respond well to long detailed expositions on concepts and fields they have little interest or knowledge of, and who probably doesn't have or want to spend much time or energy proactively searching and learning about these topics.
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#8 Sanhar

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 02:56 AM

Thanks for the input so far guys. My impression is that SENS advocacy typically has more of a science-heavy, technical, in-depth, intellectual style. That style is suitable for engaging certain audiences, for example those who are in the STEM fields, but it may not be effective in reaching the much larger broader public. When I think about using mass media I think about using techniques that appear to be more suited to the casual person who is not particularly science or technology savvy, who won't respond well to long detailed expositions on concepts and fields they have little interest or knowledge of, and who probably doesn't have or want to spend much time or energy proactively searching and learning about these topics.

 

So true.  I am working on an informational video that should be ready next week.  That might give you an example of a way to reach out to the "everyman".  It's designed for that.



#9 Brett Black

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 03:29 AM

I agree that the focus should be on anti-aging, not life-extension. It should be about retaining (or recapturing) youthful health and vitality. There are many arguments for and against extending lifespan, but I think there are far fewer arguments against, or opponents of, extending youthful health and vitality.

Carefully tempering the message, not overpromising or overselling, in short just being honest about the limitations of current science, but still being hopeful about the future based on current research results and trends, seems like it should defend aginst questions of legitimacy.

We already have numerous concrete peer-reviewed anti-aging results in rodents that look good and might be useful as a starting point for optimism that progress against aging is feasable. These are real live relatable animals that lived longer healthier more youthful lives thanks to science. It might be important not to get bogged down in the technical specifics of how the current results were achieved or how future progress may be attained.

The point is just to plant the seed that the basic proof exists that aging, or at least the current rate of aging, is not absolutely inevitable and appears amenable to medical/scientific control. Translating that work to humans is not going to happen overnight, but the more funding and resources that are available for work like this, the quicker it can become a reality.

Cancer research and funding has been ongoing for decades making mainly slow incremental progress and I see no evidence that this has made people overly distrustful, or that funding has dried up for that endeavouor.

The advertising may benefit from being short and to the point, not too technical and have features that draw people in and engage them. The advertising could be beautiful, funny, touching, inspiring, surprising, unusual etc; it just has a "hook" that captures people immediately, engages them, doesn't overload them with information and then links through to a website/social media etc to very straightforward means of donating, online sharing or otherwise helping the cause.

#10 Sanhar

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 03:33 AM

That's right.  I don't know at this time how much of LE opposition stems from "not wanting to be old for 500 years etc." but it does seem to be an obstacle to overcome.  Whatever we do we will need to push the "rejuvenation" aspect of LE as embodied by SENS, Methuselah and other such causes.  I'm not trying to leave the drug and nutritional supplement markets out in the cold (sorry, LEF) but I don't see those as a long-term solution to the issue even if they do help in some ways.







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