Megan Reilly | Experience Design & Strategy
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The Sage Initiative by AARP

Experiential Design, Product Design, Strategy
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A taboo-smashing platform advocating for sexual health and activity in later life




This work was awarded Gold at the 2018 Richmond Ad Show in the Integrated Campaign category.



My Role

I collaborated with my entire group on research. Individually, I developed the strategy, named the Initiative, created the problem set-up video, and designed all “Experiential” assets (with the exception of the chocolate bar).


Tools Used

Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, Keynote



AARP takes a stand against ageist views of sexuality.



Our society has deemed sex in older age as laughable, disgusting, non-existent, or all three. Society is just plain wrong.

Sex is at the core of what makes us human, and has been proven as a longevity-boosting activity that helps people stay healthier and happier later in life. Negative attitudes around this issue are not only disempowering, but can inhibit healthy sex lives as people get older.



Disrupt negative attitudes toward sex and age, and empower adults to maintain healthy sex lives as they grow older.

We set out to start a conversation– often funny, sometimes raw, always honest— to challenge stereotypes of how we should live and age.

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Click to enlarge Manifesto.


The Sage Initiative by AARP is a platform created to eliminate the stigma surrounding sex in later life through advocacy, information, and resources.

The Initiative ignites a dialogue around sex and age to reverse negative attitudes that endanger the health, longevity, and happiness of older adults– and our future selves.



Unlike many age-related words, “sage” has a purely positive connotation, celebrating wisdom and experience. It’s also a subtle mashup of sex + age and a wink to the fact that sage, the plant, is an aphrodisiac.


With over 38 million members and a mission to “empower people to choose how they live as they age,” AARP is a natural home for this cause– building on their existing platform to Disrupt Aging.



Sage’s efforts target the same group AARP serves: American adults over 50. But given the universal nature of sexuality and ageism, we aimed to capture younger adults as a secondary audience.

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A platform to start a conversation.



We set out to start a make an impact across four channels.



Launching the initiative

Because over a third of older adults are non-internet users, a special edition of the AARP’s flagship publication will launch the Sage Initiative to the broadest possible audience.


AARP Magazine Special Issue



Speaking out and smashing perceptions

An integrated advertising campaign aims to send a loud-and-clear message: sex is human, and older adults deserve to feel nothing but.



Print communications debunking common myths of sex in later life would appear in publications such as Travel & Leisure and Reader’s Digest.



We’ll create social buzz through targeted ads and posts written from the perspective of older adults. Such messages challenge younger audiences to consider the impacts of ageism on their future selves.



Activating the message

Branded activations and collateral provide a person-to-person channel for the Initiative to break barriers and alter perceptions.


Brand Activation

Introducing the Sage Mobile. She’s a 1962 Volkswagen Camper Van that’s still got some bounce left in her seats. It’s a fitting medium to mobilize our message, given the target audience would have been in their teens and twenties when these “love shacks” roamed the streets.

In the design process, we surveyed older adults as to what vehicle reminded them most of their sexual prime. Vintage VW Camper Vans won by a landslide.

In the design process, we surveyed older adults as to what vehicle reminded them most of their sexual prime. Vintage VW Camper Vans won by a landslide.

Attention-grabbing bumper stickers will help generate buzz on the road.

The AARP sponsors “Block Parties” across the country at events such as the St. Louis Art Festival. We’ll tag along spreading awareness, distributing merch, and defeating the stigma along the way.



At activation events, the Sage Initiative will educate older adults and advocate on their behalf by providing brand collateral– from the utilitarian (see branded condoms), to the subversive (see redesigned granny panties), to the fun (see custom aphrodisiacs).

Click images to explore.



Providing ongoing resources

All communications drive traffic to the Initiative’s website, which serves as a resource hub for education and information.

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Created in collaboration with:

Dixon Muller, Copywriter

Lauren Acampora, Art Director

Ray Zhang, Experience Designer

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