Media Planning For An 87-Year-Old Man, Awake Or Asleep

My father doesn’t have a DVR, though he has a big- screen TV. Turning on his TV, he flips around perhaps once or twice -- and starts watching. “I stumble on things,” he says.

He can’t really tell you the names of the shows -- or movies -- to any degree. He knows “Seinfeld” when he sees it -- and likes “Big Bang Theory,” remembering that it comes on “around 8 p.m.” What night? He can’t tell you that.

My dad will look to catch the local Las Vegas CBS affiliate’s news at 4 p.m. and then the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” -- only if he doesn’t have a hot hand at the casinos.

Cable? He likes HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” a lot.

Typically he falls asleep after about 20 minutes of watching anything. About two or three hours later, he wakes up and continues to watch whatever is on the air then.

This is his TV behavior -- and if you are a TV marketer, you may wonder how to get some messaging to this man. You’ll need to think harder. He shops the 99-cent stores almost exclusively. There are a lot of generic brands in his medicine cabinet and his refrigerator. Minor clues: He loves his Keurig, and going to Panera Bread.



To be sure, my father isn’t in a demographic that many marketers are pursuing: 87-year-old men set in non-brand-centric ways. That said, many marketers are still not even interested in the 25-54 demographic, at a time when “the median age of broadcast TV viewers has increased from 41 to 54,” according to Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. That’s “not a three-year jump, but a 13-year jump.”

While marketers continue to pull their hair out figuring out how to get Millennial/next generation consumers to buy their products and services, what about other consumers -- those light and often lazy TV watchers and media users -- of any age?

Surely, everyone has some media patterns and usage -- and you can always make some general assumptions. Don’t send my father any messages through Instagram, email, Vine, mobile (in general), the CW, or iHeartRadio.  

This upfront season, do you have any better clues to what TV viewers are actually doing?  Time to wake up.  Random media planning might get you more, or the pass line at the craps table -- one of my father’s regular wagers.

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