Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, December 19, 2003  

Aren't I always right?

I've annoyed people for years telling them that mass media TV and Hollywood shoots itself in the wallet by not making entertainment for adults instead of for teen age idiots.

Here's a Wall Street Journal article with the clear dope.

You can't blame network execs for their distress. Advertisers regularly pay more than twice as much to air commercials on shows that deliver the youth market. The question is: Why? You'd think they would follow Willie Sutton's motto and go where the money is. And when it comes to selling stuff--especially expensive stuff--the money is in the pockets of consumers over 45.

And this is funny:

Blindly chasing the young is a marketing mistake as costly as it is inexplicable. Take Mitsubishi Motors' recent efforts to woo young car buyers. The company's signature ad featured a loose-limbed girl in a Babe Ruth hat sitting in the passenger seat of an Eclipse. In dreamy slow motion she grooves to a robotic techno-ditty.

The ads were cleverly cool. But to actually sell cars to the target market, Mitsubishi had to offer easy credit: nothing down, no interest and no payments until, well, whenever. It seems that Mitsubishi didn't ask if the rave crowd--once it had covered the monthly nut for Ecstasy and glow-sticks--would have much left over for car payments. In just six months this year, Mitsubishi lost nearly a half-billion dollars in loans gone bad.

Advertisers have their reasons for targeting teens and 20-somethings. First among them is the belief that long-term brand loyalties are set when people are young and impressionable. The problem is that the belief is based on market research that is 40 years out of date. "It's a cliché and a fallacy to think you can build a customer for life," says Al Ries, a longtime New York ad exec who is now a marketing consultant in Atlanta. "As people grow up, they change brands."

Conservatives too often assert that businessmen are clever, and the market is smart, but they and it can be awfully stupid, too. People buy into a myth, a paradigm, a cliche, and can never seem to let it go.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 4:41 AM |