FOGO to the Rescue?

Here’s an acronym you may not yet have heard of: FOGO. It stands for Fear of Getting Old (as in “old fogey,” maybe?), and it’s being brought to us by Pfizer, the big pharma company that also gave the world Viagra. (Hmmmm… I wonder: could there be a connection?)

I learned about FOGO in the business section of the New York Times online recently (“Pfizer to Inject Youth Into the Aging Process,” July 15), and of course it caught my attention. In case you happened to miss it, I’ll quote some of the article here. New York Times reporter Stuart Elliott writes:

“Pfizer – No. 51 on the Fortune 500, with revenue last year of $53.8 billion – is promulgating FOGO as it refocuses an initiative, carrying the theme “Get old,” that was introduced in 2012. The initiative, intended to stimulate conversations on subjects like aging and longevity of life, is being augmented, beginning [this week], with additional content that is online and on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”

Elliott quotes Sally Susman, Pfizer’s executive vice president for corporate affairs, who is overseeing the initiative: “This is not about selling a product, it’s about our philosophy, reintroducing ourselves,” she said. She acknowledged that “the topic can be tough,” but it will be leavened by “introducing some humor, which will be a new and dynamic part of this campaign.”

According to the “Mission” statement on the campaign’s website, “an estimated 10,000 people are expected to turn 65 every day through 2030. However, perceptions of getting old haven’t changed. Younger adults in particular hold negative views, with many fearing loss of memory, sexual ability, and general physical abilities…. Complicating this sentiment is the reluctance of many to discuss aging, constraining our ability as a society to take actions that can help increase the likelihood of a long, active life.”

To which I say: All well and good. But the no-longer-naïve-because-I’m-a-wiser-older-woman-now also thinks: Any “mission” that has a dot-com (instead of a website is selling something. And it doesn’t surprise me to see that one of their main categories of concern on the website is “Sexual and Romantic Relationships.” (More Viagra, anyone? Cialis seems to be winning market share at the moment.)

Nevertheless, I’m all for healthy discussions about aging and raising consciousness on this important issue (although, I confess, my “mission” concerns wisdom, which doesn’t come in pill form). I even took the FOGO quiz “How Do You Feel About Getting Old?” found on the website, just for fun. It said that I’m destined to be “Chairwoman of the Board.” Just not Pfizer’s board, I’m sure.

I’m interested to know what results other WOW Factor readers get to this FOGO quiz. Let’s open the discussion among ourselves. You can find the quiz at their website, Please post your responses below.