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February 2007 - Leonard "Rosie" Ross

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  Leonard "Rosie" Ross, 101.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rosie still plays at The Pine Cone Inn on Fridays.
Photo by Nathaniel Kastelic;
courtesy of the Prescott Daily Courier

One of Arizona’s great living treasures, Leonard “Rosie” Ross is a testament to the twin pillars of dedication and determination.
      Rosie, who turns 101 in February 2007, is more active and mentally sharper than many people much younger. As a lifelong musician — he’s been playing trumpet professionally since 1923 — Rosie hardly ever slows down.     
       His life has been extraordinary; his many accomplishments include being a member of the band that replaced Glenn Miller’s band and performing the “Retreat Ceremony” at the nightly lowering of the our flag for General Eisenhower in London during World War II. 

         Prescott, Arizona, is where Rosie has called home for nearly three quarters of a century. 
        "I fell in love with it,” he says.
        But he’s hardly a homebody. He can be found every Friday night, without exception, playing his trumpet at the Pine Cone Inn in Prescott. He even drives himself there! He is frequently called upon to play “Taps” for services held by the American Legion Color Guard and also plays private parties and other gigs.       

       In addition, Rosie was chosen a few years ago to represent Arizona in the “Oldest Continuing Workers” celebration in Washington, D.C. Rosie sat in with the band at the Washington Hilton and schooled them in showmanship!
      He has appeared in numerous local newspaper and television stories and is honored and valued by all who know him. Asked to what he attributes his longevity, he says it’s simple: a love of performing. “I love to entertain and make people happy. I look forward to each gig. And that makes me happy. As long as people want to hear Harry James ‘You Made Me Love You’ or Clyde McCoy’s ‘Sugar Blues,’ I’ll be here to play it for them!”


Leonard "Rosie" Ross - 1953

 

Genworth Financial TV commercial

Rosie is starring in a TV commercial, airing on CNN, CNBC, Fox News and other networks, for Genworth Financial, an insurance and investment company. Rosie is one of Genworth Financial's 100+ Stories - 100 Years of Living, Countless Stories of Life.  
      

Click here to watch and listen to Rosie.


National Centenarian Awareness Project and the Media
The National Centenarian Awareness Project is very proud of the centenarians who participated in Genworth Financial's advertising campaign. Again, these active centenarians are showing America what its eldest citizens are all about. Centenarians are the role models for the future of aging, a statement that is one of the foundations of NCAP. Active centenarians are breaking the mold, defying the stereotypes of old age, and enjoying doing so.
           NCAP is pleased again to have played an integral role in presenting interesting centenarians for media involvement, as well as offering an interesting opportunity to centenarians. Our documentary, "Centenarians Tell It Like It Is," and this website were used by the creators of these commercials to "pitch" the client, demonstrating the capabilities of centenarians. Genworth Financial is pleased with the result, and we commend them for breaking new ground in the advertising field!

Click here to view "Rosie's" story on Genworth Financial's website.     


Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2006

Insurer Celebrates Well-Lived Lives

Vibrant Centenarians Star In Genworth Campaign - Will Boomers Be Turned Off?
By Kelly Greene

Many marketers have avoided using the elderly in commercials targeting baby boomers, worried that reminders of aging would turn them off. But insurer Genworth Financial is featuring six centenarians — wrinkles and all — in a series of television and print ads starting this week.
     WPP Group’s Impact advertising agency in New York came up with the idea of using vignettes of vibrant people in the 100-plus set to raise the profile of its insurance products, all of which are tied to security in later life. The list includes life insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and mortgage insurance.
.... If the ads attract attention from consumers, too, so much the better, says Buzz Richmond, Genworth’s senior vice president and brand leader. “We thought this concept of centenarian would be a fascinating story of no matter how long you live, it’s important to plan for the future,” he says.
     The people featured in the ads aren’t your stereotypically frail elders. The first commercial, running on cable networks including ESPN, CNN, Fox News and Discovery, shows 100-year-old Leonard “Rosie” Ross playing the trumpet — he still has a regular Friday gig — and driving his own car.
... Mr. Richmond says he worried that the campaign could misfire with baby boomers “in total denial about aging” and with younger people who “don’t want to look at old people, period.” But when Genworth employees, brokers and agents saw a mockup of the ads, he adds, “the response basically was, ‘I want to be that person. I want to be 100, and I want to be as healthy as that person when I get to be 100.'"
     To find the six people finally chosen for the Genworth campaign, Impact combed the Internet and worked with groups that study centenarians [including NCAP] to assemble a pool of about 80 people. It then whittled the group down to eight finalists for four TV spots...  
     "Their frame of reference was so different from ours," says Rachel Howald, an Impact creative director. "They all remembered seeing a car for the first time, and getting electricity in their homes.”

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