The Council for Third Age (C3A) is the nongovernmental agency responsible for ageing-related issues in Singapore. Since 2007, C3A has promoted the concept of “active ageing” to change social perceptions about ageing and encourage seniors to have healthy and active lifestyles.
With the falling birthrate and a healthier and longer-living population, older people are working and interacting in the community at increased rates. However, seniors were portrayed by media as feeble-minded or physically impaired.
This scenario demanded the development of a social marketing campaign to change negative stereotypes associated with seniors and establish C3A as the thought leader on ageing issues.
Following extensive research, a campaign strategy was developed to change deeply ingrained social perceptions about seniors and to position ageing as a journey toward greater opportunities. As part of the strategy, it was imperative to better integrate seniors into the community, workplace and home. The multi-faceted campaign targeted seniors and pre-seniors directly, as well as their children and relevant businesses and employers.
Seniors and their families were engaged through creative events, festivals and awards that encouraged seniors to stay active and involved in new activities. Events were organized to garner the support of local businesses, including an expo spotlighting the importance of the 50-plus segment as well as an international conference with multigenerational employment experts showcasing best practices in senior recruitment.
A key component of the campaign was the partnership with POSB — one of Singapore’s oldest and most-established banks. The partnership helped seniors better integrate in the community and positioned POSB as a message amplifier in the business community. Additionally, a public education advertising campaign was developed to further build positive perceptions of seniors.
The campaign increased C3A brand awareness — from 4% in 2008 to 23% in 2009 — and tripled the number of seniors and family members who participated in the Active Ageing festival. The events successfully reinforced attendees’ positive perceptions about ageing. About 95% of the participants felt more positively about ageing and believed they could remain active as they age.
The campaign also attracted considerable media attention and generated, in 2009, nearly 500 pieces of coverage, which represented a 40% increase in the coverage compared to 2008. The minister in-charge of ageing issues, Mr. Lim Boon Heng, provided a key source of high-level support when he lauded the partnership between C3A and POSB.