Seeking 18- to 34-Year-Old Males

While I certainly don't claim to be an expert on 18- to 34-year-old men, I have raised an eyebrow to them lately. A while back I wrote about this on the Spin board. At that time, Nielsen came out with some revealing little ditties on the most coveted 18- to 34-year-old male market. In a nutshell, these guys get bored easily; think 30 seconds is a heck of a long time; and like porn, MP3s and music downloads, games, and sports.

This is certainly one of the most coveted markets. Of course it always seems to be most affected by broadcast. If you are reading this, you know just about all the top brand leaders from Coke to P&G have been warning us about them for well over a year now. They've said things like, "The :30 is dead."

In a recent Wired magazine article, this is reinforced. TV bashing seems to be at an all time high. Let me take a step back for a moment though. For those of you who know me, you've heard me say this before: I earned my stripes in traditional advertising. Sure I've been in the digital media space since the first online ad was sold. However, I cringe when I hear many colleagues bash broadcast or make grossly negative (and ignorant) online/offline comparisons. I mean gimme a break, broadcast is not dead. Consumers want and need choices. Fragmentation and clutter are at an all time high. The Net gives us a blank canvas to integrate, launch, capture, track, and entertain.



While I hate to admit it, these always-been-still-are-hard-to-reach boys can teach us something. Drilling down on their media consumption foreshadows the way media consumption is changing today: They are watching 12 percent less of primetime TV. This represents almost a half hour they apply, at a minimum, to surfing the Net, playing video games, downloading music, etc.

According to Wired's interview with Jeffrey Cole, who heads up the UCLA Internet Project, "Broadcasters used to say, Internet users are different," says Cole. "But we show that as you go online, you watch less television. The business model of television, which is to deliver viewers to advertisers," he declares, "is as troubled as that of the music industry." He has consistently found that Net users always watch less TV no matter the demo or country. Cole echoes my sentiment by highlighting this demo as falling, but also being ahead of the curve in regard to blogs, PVRs, and gaming.

Research and usablility studies have shown us these guys flock to porn, reality TV (even though they say they hate it), and other music devices (mainly iPods). They are heavy viewers of MTV, Comedy Central, and ESPN. Many of you posted to the Spin board and said you were part of this demo. You told me that TV shows "sucked" and that reality TV was getting completely out of hand. Many said, "Talk to us and give us something we really want...then we'll watch it."

Could we possibly learn from the 70 million of them (GASP)? I think we can. Have advertisers been listening? Of course there has only been a handful. Seems like everyone wants to make brazen statements, but few actually put their money where their mouth is.

Widly talked about Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami has this down pat. While I've never worked there, I've watched them with envy. They've won and stolen business from the biggest, baddest Madison Avenue agencies for a reason: They've nailed the art of advertising as entertainment. And they know this demo.

Alex Bogusky, executive creative director, said "The younger group is a lot more positive. They're not so angst-ridden, not quite as ironic and cynical. They wanna have fun.The hardest job is surprising them. Usually they know what you're going to do before you do it."

Ahh I'm sure I'll get flack on the Spin board from someone for plugging this shop. But hell, I have never worked for them, they are not a client, and they are the first that come to mind. Who comes to your mind when you think of agencies, brands, or creative that's successfully captivating this demo? I'd encourage you to post to the Spin board. For those of you who want to plug your site for hitting this demo, spare us and be brief. This is not a forum to sell your wares. We want your ideas.

For now I'd just like to say: sorry Cyndi Lauper. Let's face it, now guys just wanna have fun.

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