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The recently concluded BuzzInContent Awards 2021 saw as many as sixty-six pieces of marketing and branding content get recognition across numerous categories. Following the event, we aim to further look at the winning content over the next few articles.

The first in the series that we wish to write about is the Columbia Pacific Communities that won no less than four awards and is at present emerging as an important voice in the discourse around elders in India.

Senior citizens today are emerging as increasingly independent and self-sufficient. At 104 million, they are a large demographic. In a previous article, we had discussed some major emergent as well as residual narrative codes associated with elders. Our article mentioned how conversation by brands is functioning as an important negotiator between the reality and symbolism associated with seniors.

Columbia Pacific’s vision as they articulate it on their India website is bold. It is Senior Living, Reimagined. In India, an estimated 98 million citizens are approaching the golden age. Unlike the generations before them, these independent, financially stable, well-travelled, and socially connected individuals approach life – retirement or not – in their own way. They defy the conventional notions of senior living and demand a fuller life.

Columbia Pacific Communities was founded to address this growing demand in the country and to completely reimagine senior living.

In a country like India, the cultural symbolism is all about the veneration of elders and looking up to them for guidance in living one’s life, thus creating a permanent role for elders within the social structure. In practice, elders may often be neglected or not attended to.  However, what is clear is that the ethos that Columbia Pacific Communities promotes, of “Positive Ageing” is a huge cultural shift to be engineered. For this effort, branded content offers the best tool. 

We consider a few initiatives by the Columbia Pacific Communities brand to make cultural inroads via branded content videos:

Ruskin Bond: The Icon of Positive Ageing

The video message by Ruskin Bond starts with a figurative as well as a literal image of a window with a perfect view. The video brings together the concepts of positivity and happiness with ageing.

Using the prolific author as a symbol for positive ageing, Columbia Pacific Communities attempts to redefine living for seniors. It intersperses mundane everyday routines like taking a cup of tea or coffee with one’s work - to visualise an environment where one can choose not to slow down due to age while managing stress.

In Indian culture, seniors and parents are looked upon with utmost respect. It is usually considered selfish to leave one’s parents at an old age home. So, advocating for an independent community for seniors needs to fight this stigma.

Creating a living space for seniors (not an old age home that is synonymous with abandonment by children) but as an alternate lifestyle that needs to find acceptance, free from all taboos.

One way to do this effectively is to highlight a lifestyle that is still dominated by work rather than care and support. So, an author like Bond who is talking about his work environment is a good step in the direction.

The cultural code concerning aged people is thus widened to include work and hobbies in its ambit.

Even as the Columbia Pacific brand envisions a self-sustaining community of elders living together based on their own choices and agency, the idea is not to isolate. Therefore, an initiative like #ReplynotReject by the brand tries to negotiate intergenerational communication codes.


In the same format as the Ruskin Bond video, Boman Irani here shares some personal experiences with his own sons. He motivates the younger generation to engage in conversation with their parents or elders on messaging apps. He tries to decode what the younger generation often considers as ‘spam’ or ‘forwards’ by seniors.

When trying to initiate a new cultural movement, it is important to include as many people as possible in addition to the target group. So, while it is quite obvious to redefine ageing and provide old people with new outlooks on life, it is crucial that the new definition reaches younger people, too.

#ReplyDontReject is one such initiative where the targeted audience is different from the targeted consumers. Content of this kind widens the scope and increases the viability of content in terms of cultural impact.

Apart from being perceived as people who need care, support and sometimes even pity- the residual narrative around seniors also posits them as people who safeguard our traditions and customs in ways both positive and negative. More often than not, seniors find themselves boxed in when it comes to festive customs and celebrations. They are either there for the mandatory blessings or to maintain the purity of rituals.

A very recent initiative attempts to create an altogether new narrative concerning seniors and festive customs:

Ms Santa - Christmas 2021

This video depicts small kids as they describe their idea of how a Santa looks. Their descriptions are juxtaposed with visuals of ‘female Santas from the silver generation. Senior women are shown getting ready and dancing as Santas as young kids go on describing Santa as an old man with a flowing white beard.

Content that challenges a major cultural stereotype creates space for questioning of culture. Again, by including kids the content appeals to a larger audience and increases its chance of relevantly engaging with culture.

Additionally, a video that meaningfully depicts seniors in the season of joy goes in the direction of including happiness as an emotion to be associated with the category.

With the aim of reimagining an alternate lifestyle and a new way of living, the Columbia Pacific brand uses content that appeals to segments like youth and children, in addition to seniors.

The content embodies the ethos of positive living by replacing pity as a trope with happiness, togetherness and bonding through common lived experiences. The icons used by them are people not perceived usually as ‘old’ such as Ruskin Bond or Boman Irani. Instead, their most identifiable characteristics lie in the field of their work.

Content by the Columbia Pacific communities brand is quite unique and it strives to visualise the senior citizen archetype and their communication with other demographic segments in a new way. The appeal in their content does not bank upon an overload of emotions or melodrama. Instead, they bring quite a few positive emotions to be associated with ageing.