Public Relations Tactics

AARP’s Kevin Donnellan on going digital

August 6, 2013

“Sixty percent of baby boomers feel younger than their actual age and technology is part of that,” said Kevin Donnellan at the PRSA 2013 Digital Impact Conference on June 28. “Older people are being rebranded.”

During a breakout session, Donnellan, the executive vice president and chief communications officer of AARP, shared lessons on how digital technology has transformed the AARP member experience.

He noted that AARP is battling myths about aging and reminded the audience: “The sky doesn’t fall once you turn 50.”

More than 65 percent of those over 70 are connected to the Web in some way, he said, adding that people over 65 are the heaviest users of social media.

Innovations in social media and communications technology like the launch of their website, have helped AARP understand, connect with and empower many consumers, ages 50 and up.

“The digital age fosters digital behavior,” Donnellan said. “We need to learn what people will adopt forever and what connections will be meaningful for the future.”

He noted that AARP The Magazine has the highest circulation of any magazine in the world. Also, direct mail is still the biggest single driver for the association.

“2014 is the last year that a baby boomer will turn 50. Gen X is next. Every member has a personalized, social AARP experience,” he said. “We need to know which behaviors are intergenerational and transformational — such as our digital behaviors.”  — Amy Jacques

Check out #PRSADIConf as told through social media posts here, or follow @PRSAevents for news on upcoming PRSA events.


Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.


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