The Apprentice Hip Replacement Error

Cover created in task to create magazine for TV programme The Apprentice
A task set for the teams on popular TV programme displays some remarkably resilient prejudices around images of the older generation

The task given to the two teams on the BBC TVs Apprentice series, to create a free premium, magazine provoked some crucial questions for advertisers, marketers and designers. The idea for Magazine One was a lads mag (a business angle was lightly tacked on) while Magazine Two was aimed at ageing Baby Boomers. The team that got the most ad sales being declared the winner. One magazine raised questions over its jaw-dropping content while the other revealed deeper issues around photography of the over 60s.


The panel and the experts debated the magazine titles (Hip Replacement was a show-stopper) and the content (a feature entitled How Do you Blow Your Load  for the lads mag wasn’t likely to bring in high-end advertisers). As far as the cover images were concerned, the most striking awkwardness wasn’t the woman in underwear, pin-striped jacket and hard hat (the model’s alarmed expression was commented on), but the image of the two Baby Boomers on the cover.


If according to The Apprentice experts, the lads-mag idea was so 1990s, the image of the couple on the cover of Hip Replacement was so 1950s. While many have remarked on the opportunity for marketing and advertising in addressing the Boomer market, the default imagery people associate with this age group is deeply retro. Perhaps it’s difficult for marketing, design and agency people to think that their parents might have a grown-up, adult-life, separate to their roles as parents? Perhaps it’s the family portraits we have grown up with around the house? There were some interesting photos taken at the shoot but in the end the team settled on the one most resembling their Mum and Dad having a hug. The fact is, Mum and Dad have moved on, but the social and cultural perceptions of them haven’t.




Cover created in task to create magazine for TV programme The Apprentice



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