Targeting Tales: Unwanted Shortcake & Lucky Sharks

TV sets in men’s gym locker rooms are pretty much standard issue these days. Nearly 100% of the time, the programming that runs on those screens will be sports, ESPN in particular.

But one Los Angeles health club had another idea.  I wandered into the locker room in the morning and the TV was showing perhaps the extreme opposite of what advertisers would think of to target male viewers: the animated “Strawberry Shortcake” on the kids’ network The Hub.

Was it motivation to leave the locker room quickly for a workout? I tried to find the answer. Maybe the club manager was looking for a stronger bond with his daughter. Maybe this was some weird viral marketing effort I hadn’t deciphered.

Perhaps more amazing is that returning to the locker room after my workout, The Hub was still on the screen, airing other kids’ fare. Out-of-home programming and monetization can surely be challenging.



Complaints? Why bother when personalized media is in force?  This might not have been the case 10 years ago, when there were more locker rooms with easy chairs, magazines and big-tube TV screens.

This reminded me that media waste is still everywhere -- and not just with old traditional media. How many times, long after doing extensive online searches to buy particular products and services, am I still being pitched those products and services through digital display ads?

We hear about the sophistication of media planning and targeting, especially with programmatic buying, yet consumers are still being bombarded with messaging they don’t want or need.

Be thankful some marketers know -- vaguely --- my areas of interest, even if the timeliness of their messages is off.

It doesn’t help that handshake media deals and off-the-cuff media planning and placement are still in force.  Addressable TV media placement is further down the line.

Some media placement still works, even when an entertainment sensation occurs. Discovery Channel’s 26th annual “Shark Week,” starting on Aug. 4, will benefit from some perfect timing thanks to Syfy’s recent out-of-nowhere fictional TV movie sensation, “Sharknado,” where a waterspout, or tornado for landlubbers, lifts sharks out of the ocean and deposits them in Los Angeles. (And now in select movie theaters!). No waste. Just more media bite for sure.

For my immediate media consumption, however, I’m not looking for perfection. All I want is something a bit closer to the mark. Maybe for my next visit to a health club locker room, I can get in a few minutes in with “The View.”

2 comments about "Targeting Tales: Unwanted Shortcake & Lucky Sharks ".
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  1. Rob Frydlewicz from DentsuAegis, July 29, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

    Wayne, next time this happens ask a female gym member what's playing in the ladies' locker room. Might be a cage fighting match on Versus.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 29, 2013 at 7:29 p.m.

    At one time, repeats of the Muppets in prime access had a huge adult male audience in all age demographics in markets all over the country. Go figure. No one at the agency could.

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