Advertising executives don’t share the values of the people to whom they’re marketing.
Many have wondered why television programming seems so obsessed with sexual dialogue and activity, foul language, and graphic violence. One reason is that those who make the programs don’t share their audiences’ values or attitudes; but programmers aren’t solely to blame. So are the people who decide which shows should receive the support of sponsors.
A recent study by the Video Advertising Bureau found that executives and marketers at advertising and media agencies don’t share the entertainment viewing habits and preferences of the customers they’re trying to reach.
According to the survey, media buyers are overwhelmingly younger, wealthier, more technology-centered, and spend more time on the internet than the general American population. Advertising professionals also overwhelmingly prefer more “edgy” and critically acclaimed niche programming than does the American public.This leads ad buyers to purchase time on programs based on their own experience and preferences, rather than those of the audience they’re trying to reach.
“We let our own habits affect the way we see our audiences. We’re nowhere near as in sync with American audiences as we think we are,” says Jason Wiese, VP of strategic insights at VAB. The result is that ad buyers are “creating an echo chamber that warps our perspective on the people we’re trying to reach,” the VAB said.
Both the clients they represent and the audiences they’re trying to sell to would be better served if those in media and advertising stopped promoting sexualized, violent and profane “entertainment,” and started supporting programming that reflects the values, interests, and attidues of the American people.