Monday, March 18, 2013

Know Your Target Audience

First, let me say that, as a consumer, I deeply dislike advertisements that try to appeal to... well... things other than my rational mind. At the same time, as an analyst (broadly speaking), I do understand that some products, for a variety of reasons, just cannot be sold by appealing to the minds of the target audience.

Here is a perfect example of such an ad:

I am not going to discuss the artistic value of the commercial here. After all, advertising is not an art form. From the business standpoint, there is absolutely no difference between a million-dollar Super Bowl commercial and a low-budget creepy ad for penis enlargement pills on late night TV. If it boosts sales - it's good, if it doesn't - it's bad. That is the only thing that counts. If you deny that, you are being an "ostrich-man"...

Image from Blogging Blue. License unknown (I claim "fair use").

...but I digress. Getting back to the above commercial for the barbecue burger, it is very easy to see what its target audience is, isn't it? I am not going to give you the profile here simply because I don't want to be accused of "stereotyping".

And here is the most recent advertising masterpiece for the same fast-food chain:

With this one, I am having a hard time figuring out what target audience they are after. In the related behind-the-scenes video (see below),

one of the creative directors says something about "mature people". Considering the fact that the commercial has obvious references to the 1967 movie The Graduate, age-wise, the "mature people" they seem to be after have to be at least in their mid-sixties now. There is a problem here though.

The long-term patrons of the restaurant chain advertised in the commercial fall into three categories:
  • those who are already dead and neither eat nor watch TV anymore (one can hardly expect to increase sales there);
  • those who love their triple-bypass-in-a-bun diet and will stick with it until they die (not a very promising group as far as sales growth is concerned because, most likely, they already consume as many burgers as they can; besides, they hardly need any extra encouragement);
  • those who have already had their triple bypass and now have to watch what they eat in order to stay alive (these might occasionally sneak out and indulge, but that is unlikely to produce noticeable sales growth).
The rest of the 65+ population can be divided into two more groups:
  • those who get their arteries clogged elsewhere;
  • those who watch what they eat and stay away from that kind of food.
Any psychologist will tell you that the older a person is, the less likely he or she is to change his or her habits and preferences. So, I strongly doubt that the commercial will produce enough "converts" to justify its cost.

At the same time, the ad is unlikely to appeal to younger audiences because most will simply not get the humorous allusion to the movie. Without that, all that's left is just another formulaic commercial trying to sell something not related to sex by using sex. In this case, however, this is unlikely to work because younger males will have a hard time positively identifying themselves with the male character of the commercial. Or, maybe, they are actually targeting "women of a certain age"... What a fiendish scheme, indeed! :-P

P.S. One last thing. When Heidi Klum (as herself) says "I do eat a lot of burgers", the famous Stanislavski's (the founder of "method acting") "I don't believe it!" immediately comes to mind. I wonder why...

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