Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Commercials targeted towards audience

Targetting a commercial advertisement to a specific audience isn't anything new.  Taking information about each demographic to give different advertisements to different houses is.

Cablevision Systems, a well-known cable company based out of New York, is beginning to analyze data about income, ethnicity, gender or whether the homeowner has children or pets in 500,000 homes in Brooklyn, the Bronx and some New Jersey areas.

According to Cablevision, they will market specific ads to different households but the advertisers will not know the names of the customers.  Some of the ways that different advertisements could surface includes having a Cadillac Escalade ad given to a high-class person, while giving a Chevrolet to lower class incomes.

Other possibilities include giving advertisements in Spanish to Hispanic people groups and marketing video games to households with children.

Cablevision's goal is to expand the project to 3.1 million subscribers.

I think this is a genius idea of Cablevision.  This is the dream of every advertiser, giving your advertisement directly to the people who are most likely to buy your product.

On the other hand, Cablevision has not informed their consumers that they are invading their privacy and selling their demographical information, which is very sneaky.  Still, the information (such as ethnicity, children in household, income, gender, and other data) being provided is all in the public records anyways, by means of tax returns, a census, and any other number of government forms.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, I would much prefer to only see advertisements on TV that relate to me.  I know that I will not buy a flat-screen TV or a nice car, but I would probably buy cheap food or clothes from JC Penney.


  1. What a fantastic article, and innovative idea. I also have mixed feelings about this approach. On one hand, It will cut out all of the needless advertising some of us are exposed to that have no need for. For example, i have no intention of buying life insurance because i am not over the age of 65, i don't have diabetes so i would really rather not watch all of the new equipment of how to test one's blood sugar. On the other hand, I do not have a high income but i do enjoy seeing the advertisments for expensive things like cars, cloths, vacations etc. Seeing those commercials motivates me to stay focused in school so that one day i can afford the higher luxuries in life. There are pro's and con's to every decision in life, and this new commercial advertising idea is no exception. Cablevision systems should also take into consideration that alot of revenue from the advertising of lets say toys to a resident which doesn't have children but has nieces, nephews, and grandchildren helps them sell the product by exposing the relatives to the products so they may purchase it for the younger memebers of the family. great post.

  2. I too have mixed opinions about this article. Sure seeing advertisements made for my needs and interests may be appealing now. I may see advertisements for JC Penney, Old Navy, or the "simple" stuff. But what happens to the people that want to see the other advertisements?

    Some people may want to see the advertisements that may not be their dynamic. I do enjoy seeing car commercials, seeing what I could possibly own one day, or trips I could take.

    All I think, is that even though people changing advertising to specific people will seem beneficial, television shows still need advertising. So people will still have to wait those 2-5 min of advertisements, and playing the same type of commercials may bore people as much as they are now.

    Good Post.

  3. This is very interesting. Cablevision has come up with a great idea. Especially if they are going to do advertisments in the Spanish and Hispanic homes. This would give them a fare share of programs in their language. With people watching more and more television, Cablevision would really benefit from this by targeting these groups and more.

    Great post.