Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yes, Advertisers are Idiots

Guess what? I'm 50. You old bastard! (That's the way the advertisers feel).

Well, technically, I'm part of the coveted A25-54 demo, but I might as well be named Herman, live in the Ozarks and about to hit 80.

Truth is, the advertisers are idiots. Who buys mattresses? Lots of people over 50. 60 too.

Need proof? Read this.

I've often wondered who are the brainiacs who supposedly know who and what age buys, consumes, this and that. For one, they're as dumb as a rock. Second, they don't live in the real world. I know a bunch of 60-somethings who buy shitloads of Apple products. They don't necessarily spend the night waiting in line to purchase an IPhone because they have a life, but they'll eventually get around to it.

And I watch 60 Minutes. I too have an IPhone, (but it's a mere 3G, so sue me), and I have 5300 friends on Facebook, (of which I know about 30--but that's another story). Twitter? Are you kidding, I'm deep in Tweet-central.

The bottom line is that so-called "younger-demo" is great for the movies. They buy gadgets. They love to text. But "older" people buy more cars, eat out and buy more expensive food at restaurants, and love furniture too. I could go on and on--you get my point.

Just the facts.

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  1. Most young people won't purchase products marketed to older people like you Rich. On the other hand, there is a significant number of the over 50 crowd that will purchase products and services that are targeted for the 25+ crowd, mainly in an effort to appear hip and not appear out of touch.
    Older folks a little more careful with their scrilla, do more research. They won't necessarily make impulse purchases based on an advertisement. So why spend lots of $ targeting them?

  2. Nothing new, Rich.

    In the 70's KGO Radio's management was nearly hysterical about the station attracting "younger demos," which was calculated, not only by Arbitron ratings, but also from the sounds of the callers' voices. Producers had to ask (and write down) the age of the callers, on a form, during the screening process. If they sounded younger than the age that they stated, WE lied. The callers weren't stupid. They knew the situation, and THEY lied to us, and we knew it.

    The pressure was enormous, and ridiculous.

    The sales department had to have evidence of young listeners, to take to advertisers who ... even then ... didn't understand what generation had the money.

    Youth attracts.

  3. Some back-up for you from the Harvard Business Review blog:

  4. Radnich did read an interesting email from some guy who wrote about the "Demographics"..and he pointed out that during your average KNBR chatshow,you have major advertising for Laser eye surgery,hair implants,and knee joint surgery. As he said,not many 20 year olds are balding,blind or need new knee's. And,I might add that those "male enhancer" adds that seem to be every other commercial..who needs that? Not 20-40. From the "blue pill" to testosterone clinics..yeah,the adds do seem to make a lie out of that teeny bopper spending habits importance.
    There is money is old as dirt clients.

    1. 20-40 don't need testosterone boosts. If anything, they need salt peeter for relief as the hot chick availability is low for sports show listeners!
      I'm sure KNBR has come close to "fleshlight" ads...

  5. Will someone find and shoot who ever produced the KARS-4-kids commercial!

  6. Rich, you're old enough to have noticed this: kpix has weakened the light over Allen's seat on the 5pm news. It's like a bulb burned out. Is management sending us - or Allen, more likely - a signal?

  7. Totally agree with you 100%, Rich. But maybe we 50+ somethings should take it as a compliment that the advertisers know we're less likely to get fooled into buying the worthless crap that the youngsters are inclined to see and/or hear (and react to buying) in a 30 second spot.

  8. And I agree with the other guy/gal that the KARS-4-STUPIDS is one of the worst and most annoying radio ads ever!

  9. Old people don't buy stuff impulsively. End of story.

  10. @CGNiners and 6:30, if people weren't using CARS-4-DORKS to dump off their clunkers, we wouldn't hear those lame ads anymore. That jingle is an insidious earworm but it clearly makes them a ton of money. When I have a car to dump off, I call Jr I'm too old for the advertisers to give a crap about me? Cool, I can ignore all their stupid ads then.

  11. It's true that older people have more money than younger people to spend, so it's worth advertising to them. But the older folks are easier to reach with advertising. They watch a lot more TV and listen to more radio. You can stick an ad almost anywhere on broadcast media and reach them. Younger audiences are more selective. If your programming can reach them, you can charge a premium to advertisers. That's the reason for the attention to a younger demographic--the desire to capture the attention of the hard-to-gets, and the attendant rise in fees from sponsors.

  12. Gee Rich, it seems to me that there's a literally endless stream of radio advertising aimed at we old farts.

    For example, it seems like every local radio station is flooded during late-night hours with ads for penis-pills. My personal fave is the one that says their pills are the *same color* as the major national brand, but only cost $3 each and are all-natural. Sure, hydrochloric acid is all natural, but that doesn't mean I want to gargle with it. Gimme a break!

    And how about all the ads for gold bars? Ain't no saggy pants punk who can afford that crapola, less he be dealin' drugs big-time. Yeah, having a 10-pound ingot of gold sounds great. Want a loaf of bread? Just shave off a flake or two with a sharp scalpel blade and pass it to the nearest desperate baker. Right. Gold shavings: a really workable medium of financial exchange. NOT.

    Entire weekends on KKSF and KNEW seem to be filled with infomercials for pretty much any kind of bogus crap that con artists think might attract the older listener. Purity Products for one... clearly an oxymoron, as well as a brand name. Sorry folks, but I'm not going to be a regular listener to a station that makes significant portions of its income by selling its listeners off to thinly-veiled criminals.

    And how about all of those "million bottle" giveaways (of whatever scam product)? For only the cost of shipping, you get a "free" bottle? Just give 'em your credit card number to cover the small shipping fee. Right. Six months later, you're still struggling to get the lousy bastards to stop charging $60 a month to that credit card, claiming that you "ordered" their product shipped to you every 30 days. By the time it's all settled, and you've received some pittance as a refund for their "mixup," you will have paid $5-10 for every one of those "free" pills.

    So, I personally see no dearth of advertising aimed at we fossils; I only wish that more of it wasn't transparently fradulent, with its criminality being supported by their partners in crime at the local radio stations. You know, the AE's that are selling their listeners down the river to a bunch of cheats, frauds, and snake-oil salesmen.

    Of course, selling out their listeners keeps gas in the AE's Mercedes and their lawn in Blackhawk neatly manicured.

  13. Advertisers are so intent on grabbing the 'young demographic' that they've become blinded. Unfortunately 'the young demographic' (by the way, I wish Gary Radnich would stop talking about it, it drives me crazy to hear him use inside industry terms like that, or others such as 'markets.') has for the most part, abandoned listening to the radio. They'd rather tune in music on their i-pod, tweet and text their buds or talk on their cell phones. Sometimes I wonder if they know how to conduct a normal conversation! The other day I passed a young woman in the hall at work and said hello but she was oblivious, buried in her smart phone, her fingers dancing over the keys as she texted some absent friend.

    But back to the original topic: There are so few good ad campaigns that target anyone these days, I wonder how the Cleo Awards manage to find any creative or funny spots.

    About the most irritating commercials on the air on the radio these days are those ones that feature the husband and wife comparing big screen TVs with all of the features and prices, and for the life of me I can't remember the name of the company, which doesn't speak well for the ad campaign.

    Anyway, Most of their discussion has to do with talking about prices and sizes (as if they're really interested!) and it sounds as if they're reading off of a script. No one has a conversation like that!

    But the pair of them end up chiming in together...if you don't go to their store, "you'll be sorry!" Yeech!

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