A collaborative project between the VCU Brandcenter Strategy track and the VCU Masters of Gerontology program. Teams investigated four different open-ended topics, all with the aim of disrupting ageism within our society. 


The Ask

Explore and expose the differences between society's perception of and the reality of aging. 

how we got smart

Interviews | Social Listening | Survey

the challenge

With baby-boomers beginning to become retirees, ageism has started to gain national attention in recent years. This is because ageism is one of the most prevalent, yet least talked about forms of discrimination.

How can we bring this issue to life in a way that creates awareness, action and challenges people's perceptions of their own age?

What we learned

Midlife can feel like a void to younger people.

We've all heard jokes about 45 year-old men buying Corvettes or Porsches. This is because the midlife crisis is one of the ageist tropes that we encounter most. It turns out, making midlife the punchline of our jokes is largely rooted in fear and anxiety. 

Younger people fear midlife because it appears to be a place that's devoid of any milestones. While for midlifers, it can feel as if the things that they want to do are pushed aside for the things that they have to do, and it's during this time that many people leave their personal passions behind. 

However, when asked about the positive aspects of their age, midlifers consistently expressed being comfortable in their own skin and loving financial independence.

though we may feel that our obligations outweigh our personal needs during midlife, it's actually the time when we have the most control to change our situation.


Shine a light on the things midlife has caused us to ignore.

Creative Concept

In memory of…


  • Designed and written in the form of obituaries, each topic was chosen to reflect an activity that people may have let go. 

  • There is a call-to-action to drive readers to the Midlife Happiness Index website.

Midlife Happiness index

An online tool for creating awareness and action about personal happiness.

  • Users will rate themselves in areas of their personal life and receive a MHI score.

  • After receiving a score, users will be directed to tools that can improve their MHI.

  • To spread the word, users can share their score on social media and the MHI calculator with friends.






Stuart Good - Strategist

Christin Johnson - Strategist

Mishaal Abbasi - Strategist