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September 17, 2013


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Tammy Gordon (@tammy)

Actually you can, please email your name and address to mcsupport@aarp.org to suppress your name from the mailing list. It won't stop anyone from aging though, so hopefully we provide you compelling reasons to join one day.

- @tammy and the #AARPsocial team


DAVID: Great post. My dad died when he was 51 but we kept getting mail for years afterward from AARP even though he'd passed away. Then I started getting the mail in my early 20s! It was sent to my new addresses (not my parents home) because we had the same name (John Nemo) and they thought I was him. Frustrating but it finally stopped. Also you make a great point about "interruption" marketing being so annoying. Certainly with the "older' generation of people who maybe are in their 70s or 80s and not using Social Media I can see U.S. Mail as possibly effective, but for 50 year olds and even most 60 year olds I think online marketing and social media marketing makes WAY more sense. Plus who can retire at age 50!?!?!? Not in this economy!

TAMMY: Even better job "listening" online and responding so fast! Super smart move and everybody wins - David gets what he wants and you guys look great to his (sizable) audience as a company that is "with it" as far as listening and responding online with social media!

David Meerman Scott

Tammy, Thank you for quickly responding. I am opting out now.

John, I agree that it is good that AARP are listening and engaging. And they have a sense of humor too!

Joseph Ratliff

I have to give Tammy kudos for listening to the social media. :) Nicely done, and a solid response to David's concerns IMO.

(can't answer for David, of course)

Don Bates

AARP is actually an insurance company masking as an association. Yeah, they lobby on behalf of old folks like me and that's great, but they have to sell insurance, so the drumbeat of mail and email will never stop. That's what insurance companies do.

Don Bates

Scott, don't worry, all those kids will eventually be old, too -- sadly but true.

Tammy Gordon (@tammy)

David, good points! Over half of our members aren't retired. They are still working. You might dig www.lifereimagined.org rather than AARP.org for your current life stage. It's definitely tough getting the right mix of content and platform to reach 4 generations in our audience.

Don, if you email mcsupport@aarp.org and ask them to suppress all mail, that includes the companies who license the use of our name. Might be something you want to look into.


I'm 24 years old and got an AARP card last month.

Jeff Marhafer

"AARP pisses me off because when I see those stupid envelopes it reminds me of mortality."

"Getting old sure beats the alternative. But I’m not old now and won’t be for a long time."

Please plan for when you are older, Mr. Scott. I can help. So will a long term care protection plan. Please email Jeff Marhafer @ jmarhafer@genworthltc.com for expert advice on the consequences of denial and what to do about it.


AARP pisses me off because they sold out the elderly when they supported major cuts to Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. They'd like us to forget that but we won't.

I guess they hoped that folks on Medicare would buy AARP supplemental insurance to make for the lost benefits.

Writer Vixen

@David: WORD. Thanks for a great post! And I've been getting mail from AARP since I turned 40. Seriously, AARP -- WTF?!

@Tammy: You rock. Thanks for joining the convo. I've emailed a request for mail suppression, as you suggested. Many thanks for the ip!

@JeffMarhafer: I think you missed the point, dude. Just a hunch. ;)

Steven Spenser

Whenever I get junk mail, I carefully excise all the lines that identify my name & address (including bar codes and insert-identifier codes). Next, I stuff what remains of the original solicitation--the letter and all inserts--into the pre-addressed, postage-paid response envelope so thoughtfully included. Then I simply return the original piece(s) of junk mail back to the sender.

I know it costs them only a small amount (already paid) to receive it, but if the weight of everything I stuffed into it is beyond the weight already paid for to imprint the USPS bar codes, perhaps the junk mailer will have to pay a little extra back to the USPS.

Even if I'm wrong about that, someone at the return address will have to spend time opening the envelope and sorting through all the slips of paper, looking for an order sheet that isn't there. Productivity suffers, costs skyrocket, stock prices falter, layoffs ensue, the CEO is fired...and my revenge is complete.

Peter Johnston

We all like to belong. But we like to choose what we belong to. We choose our tribes, not salespeople (and email marketers are salespeople).

Perhaps we need to create a new association. The "We choose" organisation. One which publicises the people who interrupt and annoy. Who believe that if you send to 1,000 only the 1 who signs up matters, not the 999 whose time you've wasted.

Why not front it David?


Hey, really? Complaining about a marketer doing it's job. As A DM pro for many years, direct mail still works and works even better when combined with today's inbound marketing approach.

We all know data is not perfect and I can assure you no marketer tries to mail to the wrong age group. Stats prove that your entire marketing efforts are enhanced by all your inbound and outbound efforts—can be as much as 19%–35%.

David, you are only as old as you feel and act...but dude, get over it and become a member. The discounts you get as a traveler are quite good...and YOU travel a lot. Why wouldn't you want what is basically FREE money. You know you're not old...so don't let your own mind stop you from taking advantage of the great savings members can get. Mind over matter my friend.

AARP, kudos for having an opt out policy and for responding so quickly to David's post.

Raúl Colón

They are so bad a mailing junk they have been sending me stuff since I am 25 years old. Not sure if they thought I was older because I don't drink, or party much, and I don't eat meat.

But I also wish you could opt out of it. The other thing is the post office loves to have AARP around so they can make a profit and still operate. The same way I also get information from other organizations which I have no interest with.


When I turned 50 and began getting AARP mailings, I was a little taken aback, but thought it was funny...marking a time when I couldn't have felt less old. However, I began to review the magazine, website, etc. and found it included a lot of valuable information and discounts and I came to appreciate the source...and didn't associate it with aging at all. Getting comfortable in your own skin is the way to go. AARP won't make you feel older unless you let it.

David Meerman Scott

Wow - some excellent (and passionate) comments here! Thank you all.

Megan AARP at 24? and Vixen at 40? WOW

Steven - Cool idea! In his "Steal this Book" Abbie Hoffman suggests pasting the return reply onto a brick and putting it into the post box.

Interesting idea Peter. Why don't you start it?

Patrick - Thanks anyway, but I prefer not to get the discounts.

Raul - so true. They probably spend a hundred million US dollars a year with the USPO.

Joanne Tombrakos

I agree. Completely. 100%. And am thrilled that they have such great social media trolls that could respond and offer us a suppression route!

Tom Borgman

My thoughts and actions exactly. 56 and been throwing away the junk for 10 years. Will opt out now based on the info above. It FEELS like AARP sends more stuff than all the other insurance peddlers combined. What a waste of paper/trees. While it's nice to see that there is some current thinking/inbound/social tactics being used by AARP as evidenced by Tammy's response, I'm also making an educated guess that AARP leadership, due to age, old comfortable habits and metrics, metrics metrics, is still trailing way behind in adopting Meerman Scott Strategies. Seems to me that AARP, of all organizations, is one that has all the reasons and wherewithal to follow your tenets David!

Shane Kercheval

I'm going to have to be the ignorant one here, but what techniques did AARP (or could I) use to monitor and respond so quickly? I used google blogsearch and alerts and searched with "AARP" but I didn't see anything. I just started reading "The New Rules of Marketing & PR", so the response time resonates with me, but I'm not that far into the book (it might touch specifically on my question).

Tammy: Very impressive response time!
David: Thank you for providing the book. It has been extremely informative and compelling!

Writer Vixen

Now the AARP has co-opted George Takei's internet celebrity . . . which means we're NEVER going to get rid of them!


Pam Rucinski

Totally agree! They piss me off more than a little. AARP is partisan, political and mostly into making money selling insurance. Since when did AARP become the landmark for entrance into senior living? I will forever be too young for AARP.


My first AARP mailing arrived just before my 50th and added insult to injury. They keep coming and never get opened, so I hope their cards are paper because it goes in recycling. I question whether AARP truly represents the age demographic's views. It is why I won't send them money. To opt out requires sending them an email which could add to my email spam. No spam filter I have tried gets it right so I prefer to protect my email as much as possible. I don't think AARP uses social media well at all. Simply responding does not offset the original invasion of privacy based on acquiring people's birth dates.

Patrick Albanese


I am 52 as well, and receive an AARP solicitation every few weeks. But I also have a 3 year old son and a 4 year old daughter, so those pieces of direct mail are often interspersed with offers for all kinds of kid related items.

I find it a wonderful juxtaposition. "I can't be old. Chuck E Cheese sent me a coupon!"

Mary Mancera

I hear ya David. What other stage of life lasts 30 years? AARP is behind the times.


I can tell you how to get off a mailing list, anyones in fact, real quick....Cost them money.

All that mail has some sort of Business Reply Envelope where they pay the postage for its return. Contracts with the post office, they HAVE to pay for any return mail using those prepaid envelopes. And the amount is higher than regular postage.

The max amount the postal service will take is 70 lbs with a combined width, height and gurth of 108 inches..

So simply take one of their business reply envelopes, use some shipping tape and apply it to a cinder block, which are still fairly cheap. That will run them $30.00 or so in return postage.

Do that a couple of times, and they will get the message.

You can write them all the letters you want to get off of a mailing list, and that never works.. this does...

If the keep sending you stuff, switch to using an old bald tire..
a Pickup truck sized one..they get the message fairly quick.

Not only does it work, it gives one a feeling of satisfaction.

Also considering that these places all sell mailing lists back and forth, believe me.. it will get you off of a lot of other people's mailing list real fast..

a bald 31 x 10.50 truck tire costs them about $75 or $80.. and by postal contract, they have to pay for it..whether they like it or not.

I'll guarantee this works real well..

I learned this off of a lady who was a customer of mine about 10 years ago. She was trying to get off of some company's mailing list, and after a zillion letters to them, nothing worked.. her son who worked for the Post Office told her about this.

So she tried it several times.. Not only did she get off that mailing list, but a whole bunch of others..plus she was rewarded with a scathing letter from that company's president.

Which she promptly framed and put on the wall in her office.
gotta love happy endings like that one.

David Meerman Scott

Elaine, Wow. Cool idea! I would love to try it some time. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

karry franklin

People are complaining amount junk mail??? Y'all missed something. AARP is a corporate profit pushing - insurance selling HACK! Take a look and see how many times AARP did NOT go to bat in Congress for retired people. Check out a CEO making hundreds of millions when AARP became an insurance company - instead of speaking up for retired people. They have been silent on so many issues, they have had minor membership revolts and had to apologize. Next time you get something from AARP - take a look - I'll bet there will be an insurance offer in that junk mail.

John D

Late to the party, but there it is.

In my experience, "opt out" doesn't work very well. I joined in 2002 but by 2004 had to terminate in order to stem the flow of junk mail. Was still getting it literally 5 years later. After that they left me alone. Recently signed up again to access that pesky supplemental insurance, after being assured that my name would not go onto any mailing lists. Predictably, 4 weeks later, here comes the junk. Upon enquiry, I was told that it would cease after 12 weeks - the same thing I was repeatedly told at the start of the millennium but which never actually worked. They clearly couldn't care less about this - but it would be preferable if they simply told the truth up front, that you can't join without going on to these lists. Informed choices and all that good stuff. So I'll look around for other insurance and switch out at my convenience. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Over to you, Tammy!

Jay Driscol

10/12/13 Elaine wrote: "All that mail has some sort of Business Reply Envelope where they pay the postage for its return."

"So simply take one of their business reply envelopes, use some shipping tape and apply it to a cinder block, which are still fairly cheap. That will run them $30.00 or so in return postage."

That was a great idea Elaine ... but ... now AARP is sending their business reply envelopes with "Place Stamp Here" on them. Just got another spam through the USPS (US Mail) "Register Your AARP membership now and get a BONUS GIFT" today. How arrogant for to them ask me to pay for this "free" gift.

****** It would be nice ****** if there were a way to BLACKLIST or BLOCK a company like the AARP at the post office. Create a block for any sender we chose - companies we do not ever want to be contacted by. Write your senator and ask for his response.

Melissa Graham

I am trying the above address via email to stop the incessant deluge of AARP mail to my husband and me. Thanks for the info.

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