Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in Cocoon

Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in Cocoon

At the Super Bowl one of the fancy commercials was about a group of elderly people out for a wild night on the town.

Taco bell released the commercial on YouTube hoping it would go viral. According to Time Magazine by the day after the Super Bowl 2013 it had been viewed about 1.2 million times and shared 130,000 times (Sanburn, 2013). So, I guess it did.

Why did Taco Bell make this commercial? From their web site, “‘There’s a common misconception that to appeal to Millennials you have to show Millennials.  The reality is to appeal to them you simply need to entertain and engage them.  And that’s what this entire integrated effort does,’ said Mike Sheldon, CEO of Deutsch LA.  Sheldon continues, ‘We’ve all had an epic night out on the town followed by a trip to Taco Bell. Viva Young is a surprising and fresh way to remind people of that.'”

So it’s not a commercial made to appeal to the older generation, nor an homage to how the elderly can still be a part of mainstream life, no, it’s marketing to twenty year olds.

Now, I do admit to finding the commercial amusing, but a few questions do come to mind:

  • Was this something older people would enjoy watching?
  • Did it help to improve the image of growing older in America?
  • Is it respectful of older people?
  • Does it mask some deeper rejection of the idea of growing older, mature and wise?

The commercial also reminds me of the film Cocoon. In that film a group of old people swim in a pool that makes them vigorous and vital again. Cocoon makes two points. First, it’s always good to be healthy, strong and seek new adventures. Second, the true meaning of life may come from following the seasons of life.


  1. Cocoon (film). Internet Movie Database:
  2. Live Mas/Viva Young (commercial): a52:
  3. Sanburn, J. Time, Business & Money, Feb. 04, 2013.
  4. Super Bowl web site:
  5. Taco Bell web site:

Image source:

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