Meanwhile, here's evidence that a lot of people want to see progress in aging research: "Forget '40 is the new 30.' Now even twentysomethings are joining the quest for eternal youth by using anti-aging products and wrinkle treatments." Think how big the market will be when the products actually work.
I don't think that this is the psychology at work here - people don't associate "anti-aging" the cosmetics branding to longevity research or scientific efforts to actually hold back the aging process. It's not even the same association as "anti-aging" the health brand. In the cosmetics case, people say "anti-aging" and hear "high class, better looking" and in the health case they hear "healthier." Just because the branding contains the words "anti" and "aging" does not mean that people actually think of either of those terms in a way that includes their stand-alone meanings.
One might say that my own life is something of a laboratory for studying the way in which people overload a word. Know me for long enough and your brain will carve out a whole new association for the word "Reason" - without you being all that aware of it until it is pointed out. That new association is pure name, with none of the meaning of the original word. The same thing happens with brands.
If there really was a significant spill-over of sentiment and support from consumers of "anti-aging" brands to meaningful, scientific anti-aging research - or even between different "anti-aging" brands in the marketplace - I don't think we'd be seeing quite the same sort of hostile confrontation between brand-holders and scientists as takes place today. More to the point, I suspect that volunteer organizations like the Methuselah Foundation would be having far less of an uphill struggle than has been the case to attain their present level of success, and scientists backing rapid progress towards working anti-aging therapies would not be struggling to raise large-scale funding and fight conservatism within their ranks.
Looking back at the past two decades, the pro-healthy life extension communities of the time built up a very effective distribution mechanism, but failed to overcome the very same hurdles we struggle with today: how to generate widespread public support for healthy life extension and direct large-scale funding into meaningful anti-aging and longevity research. So now we see the distribution mechanism spinning its wheels on branding, while the present generation must address the same problems: how do we develop useful anti-aging technologies in time for us to benefit?