What do the commercials tell you about the people who comprise their target audience?

1. First, you need to  ( identify and watch a program you like on commercial network television. (ABC, NBC, FOX, etc.–Not Netflix, not PBS, etc.) Write down the name of the program, the network and channel, as well as the date and time you watched it. For example, “Dexter, NBC, Channel 11,Yes, I know, Dexter is off the air and never showed on NBC. This is merely a hypothetical example.)

2. As you watch your chosen program, make note the products featured in every commercial that is aired. Write down each one. You may find that some of the commercials are repeated several times. If so, just list the product and the number of times it is seen. For example, you might see a commercial for the Ford Fusion Hybrid six times. If you do, you will write: Ford Fusion Hybrid: 6 times.

3. The companies (like Ford) that buy commercial time on any given program do so because they believe the people watching that program–the members of the “target audience” (in this case you)–constitute the portion of the viewing public that is or will be interested in purchasing their products. Answer the following questions about the target audience for your chosen program. What do the commercials tell you about the people who comprise their target audience? Are the commercials aimed at men or women or both? What is the general age they are trying to appeal to? Are they aimed at a particular race or religion? Are they directed towards people who are rich, middle class, or middle class aspiring to be rich? Are they directed towards people who are single? Married? Do they have children? Do they engage in certain identifiable activities, such as sports, travel, education, etc.? What are their eating habits?

4. Finally, compare yourself to the target audience. How well do you fit into the demographic identified by your answers to the questions in #3? Do you own or want to own any of the products?

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