Monday, February 19, 2007

Target Audience

Last week my friend J posted delightfully on her realization that she and her wife are the target audience for the prime-time tv market.

It happened for me some time ago, when I realized that all of the people buying washing machines and refrigerators were my age. As if people my age need washing machines! Crap!

But last night K and I were shopping in our local Target, looking for a new shower curtain. After we found the shower curtain we wandered through the kids' section, getting ideas for S's room. We noticed that all of the children's things look like the stuff that we had when we were kids; that's because, we decided, people our age are starting to have kids and want them to have stuff like we had. (Welcome back, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake!).

Target is the store created for people of my general age group, and I find myself even thinking that the commercials are clever (singing "you say goodbuy and I say hello" as I brush the snow off the car in the morning). I'm supposed to. That's what they want. K and I shared how unnerving that is.

Then, as we wandered through the kitchenwares, drooling over specialty cooking items that we will never buy but nevertheless like to look at, and noticed that every other person in that section was part of a couple, also drooling over kitchenwares and buying small-ticket items.

It was disturbing. In order to assuage our mass-market failings, we stopped at the local independent video store and rented a movie (David Mamet's Edmond; not recommended) and then stopped by the local independent music store--conveniently located next door--where K and I picked out a heavy metal compilation of music from our adolescence. It wasn't until I got into the car that I realized the hypocracy.

I like to imagine that I'm an independent thinker, but it's just imagination. I'm a target audience, and those ad executives (even local ones) are fucking good at what they do--knowing what appeals to me and what I might want or think I need to purchase at any given time, and then making sure I know where to get it. And I buy into it as well.

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