January 1997
s m u g
target audience
by Leslie Harpold

Target Market

The American eye has seen too much television, too many billboards, bus stop ads and print advertising. We've, as a whole, become immune to the standard images of people having your basic family fun, although kids and dogs still manage to help wrest our hard earned dollars from our pockets. Disney, with the mass marketing behind the launch of 101 Dalmatians On Ice - I mean - the live action version of 101 Dalmatians, has been beating us over the head with it since the leaves turned to gold.

Brand preference and awareness is on their side, and a market that's starving for their product doesn't hurt either. Their "target audience" is already paying attention, they are hungry for product, and waiting to be told what product to consume. Disney has it easy.

Not so with Dewars, although the return to the "bon vivant" lifestyle - complete with space age bachelor pad music and big fat cigars - has returned to vogue for the 25-34 year old demographic who, after years of being called "slackers" seem to finally have rebelled by doing exactly what their parents prayed for - becoming them.

This ad evidences that in spades. I'm going to tell you, this sure isn't aimed at women, even though, one could arguably say it could also have been fashioned with an eye on the lesbian and bisexual set, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and refuse to believe that. So, the intended consumer of Dewars, according to this ad is male.

What's he like?

Well, let's see, he's heterosexual, this is most certainly a female here - I'm assuming thats what he's taking home to Mom. He's going to fit neatly into that 25-34 age group, because they use the word finally.

From the finally we can make one of two assumptions. He either a) has never had a girlfriend, ever, due to social ineptness, shyness, or a few months as a youth at Neverland Ranch resulting in some troublesome identity problems; or b) finally has a girlfriend that's presentable. Presentable - meaning attractive, polite, clean, not on smack, couth, of an acceptable race and religion, and of course, pretty enough that the parents wont make any double bagger jokes.

Now - looking at the woman pictured, we glean that she is pleasant and wholesome looking. She is not, however, even close to being a supermodel. Non-threatening, if you will. All American - the kind of girl a guy was supposed to take to the prom. I'll bet she can mend and cook, too. This will also impress Mom.

Mommy Dearest

Mom needs to be impressed, so obviously, Mom's opinion matters to this guy, or he wouldn't feel the relief at taking someone home. If his mother is taking his laundry on at this advanced age it is also safe to infer that he is a little bit smothered and henpecked by Mom, perhaps that's why the girl, sheepishly posed looking demure, has been selected. No one but Mommy gets to push him around like that.

What is that she's wearing? Plaid, a typically masculine statement - and yes, it's oversized. Could this be his shirt? If she's wearing his clothes, well, we all know what that means. He's had sex with her. Metaphorically pissed on her, marking his territory so we know this is his girl. We are supposed to be impressed that he got laid. Don't feel embarrassed for her, bear in mind - she is something and not someone. She has already been dehumanized by this ad, and a little more won't hurt.

Skills that pay the Bills

Dewars is a premium liquor, so he has a job, or a trust fund that puts him over the Blatz-by-the-case income level. Remember, advertising reflects less who we are than who we want to be, so this is also a formula for reverse creation. If he drinks Dewars, this is the kind of girl that will be attracted to him (instead of the cheap floozies he usually gets?). Lucky girl. Basically if you put this ad through the target market machine, shell be going home with a 25-34 year old guy with low self esteem, a mommy complex and a checkered past who fancies himself a ladies man, and may not know how to do his own laundry. I wonder what else he doesn't know how to do?


back to the junk drawer

and such
and such

·feature· ·net worth· ·bumping uglies· ·smoking jacket· ·ear candy· ·feed hollywood· ·target audience· ·three dollar bill· ·compulsion· ·posedown· ·the biswick files· ·mystery date· ·and such and such· ·blab· ·kissing booth·

·contents· ·freakshow· ·fan club· ·junk drawer·

copyright © 1996, 1997 smug.com