And the Call is Free!

On marketing to the doddering

Sherry McGuinn
4 min readDec 4, 2023


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Note: The following was recently published in my Substack, Sherry Raw.

My husband and I are watching the latest catastrophe unfold on CNN or MSNBC when they cut to a commercial.

Oh, hell, no.

As if aging isn’t tough enough to deal with, we have it shoved down our collective throats every five minutes by yet another spot extolling the virtues of Medicare Advantage plans, with which most of us on Medicare are already well acquainted.

They never stop. It’s as if they’re on an endless loop and designed to drive us mad.

As someone whose longtime gig was that of an advertising and marketing writer and creative director, my gorge rises every time I see one of these dreadful spots. They “speak” to us as if every aging fuck on the planet is on the cusp of dementia.

I want to meet the branding team behind this hellacious shit so I can wring their discriminatory necks. Because, apparently, all of us of a certain age are tossed into the same rusting bucket: Old. Doddering. Gullible AF.

One of the worst examples of this is the spot featuring “Cranky Martha.” Just thinking about this broad makes my stomach turn. Whoever the “actress” is, she does a fine job of inciting the viewer to violence. One wants nothing so much as to shoot Martha in the head and then, piss on her.

Cranky Martha is a seventy-five-year-old, mean-looking grandma-type. You know the “type” I’m referencing. Short, gray hair, what looks to be a seersucker house dress, and eyeglasses bigger than her stupid head.

Because this is what all older women look like right, ladies?

This piece of marketing shit has Martha interacting with the equally annoying narrator and screeching at top volume about the fact that she ALREADY HAS MEDICARE!!!

it gets really embarrassing when this crone puts her hands on her hips and bleats, I AM NOT CALLING!

Oh, please, Buddha, let me put my fist through the screen and choke this bitch to death.



Sherry McGuinn

Long-time writer and big-time dreamer. Screenwriter. Cat mama. Red lip aficionado.