In a consumer culture that is continually driven by technology and media, ads say a lot about where we are as a society. Back in 2006, at the peak of the real estate boom, retirement advertising promised a golden future of vineyards, sail boats, and golf courses. Five years later, you’d be hard-pressed to find these images in most retirement marketing efforts. In the midst of a recession that seems to stretch longer and longer, leisurely retirements are simply not on consumers’ minds. Because of this, financial companies had to change their tone, said Barbara Lippert, curator of popular culture for the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and a former critic for AdWeek: “People are worried about being underwater on their mortgages, not about getting out on a sailboat.”

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