Not Shy or Retiring
By Reuel Golden.
May 23, 2007

The documentary photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield has cornered the market on shooting young girls and teenagers and is repeatedly given commercial assignments on the back of her two landmark books, Girl Culture and Fast Forward. Ironically, she has just completed her second campaign for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which is not a subject that you would naturally associate with Greenfield's work.

However, the latest campaign, created by Austin agency GSD&M with the tagline "Future Champions," emphasizes that the AARP offers a lot more than just benefits for senior citizens, and the organization is really about people. "AARP's mission is to make life better for all, whether you are 5, 50 or 90," says group creative director at GSD&M Scott McGregor. "Our task was to make the AARP brand more accessible and relevant to everyone members and non members and create a common union between all consumers."

Greenfield shot a series of portraits in and around LA of children - the future champions - in her own honest and direct style to support the concept. The ads feature the children making direct eye contact with the viewer next to their supposed quotes that subtly convey the benefits of the AARP. For example in one ad a girl is photographed with her hand up in class with the words: " So when I'm like 50 do I still get an allowance?" In another ad, a girl is shot next to a blackboard next to copy: " Whenever Grandpa uses that word 'retirement' he always uses those little finger quotes."

According to senior art buyer Sheryl Long at the agency, Greenfield is the ultimate professional: “She is just really great at working with kids and is able to really capture those moments and get the reaction that she wants. The kids like her and we really like working with her.”

McGregor adds: " Lauren captures moments creating a reality that is distinct and provocative. Apart from being a great photographer, we selected her because of her relationship with her subjects, her impeccable casting and her story telling ability."

The ads are appearing in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker Newsweek, Ebony, Time USA Today and The Washington Post.