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.



5 thoughts on “FOGO to the Rescue?”

  1. 1. I am a little worried
    2. Espresso
    3. I don’t eat pizza.
    4. Curl up with a good book.
    5. 5 miles.
    7.Hope to be a part of the wedding
    8. Meryl Streep.
    9. I’m not thrilled about getting old, but it’s better than dying.
    10. Jane Austen.
    Thanks for the lunch, amiguita!

  2. Hi Bon — My answers were similar to Teresa’s (except that I agree with the WHO & think 2 miles is probably more realistic than 5 ;-)) & I got that Chairwoman thing too:

    YOU ARE…
    Congratulations – you’ve never had a problem with the idea of getting old. You’ve taken care of yourself and when you do Get Old, you’re going to enjoy the h*ll out of it. Your decades of globetrotting will get you star treatment at the world’s best hotels, and you’ll be wise enough to let your students become the teachers. The sooner the world gets used to the idea that The Chairwoman isn’t even slightly interested in slowing down, the better off it will be.

    Very interesting post — M. xoxxx

    1. Thanks for this, M.! So far, I’ve discovered that all of the WOW Factor readers who took the FOGO quiz got “Chairwoman of the Board.” Hmmm…what does that say about all of us? 🙂

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