Sunday, March 15, 2009


I signed up for 3 different survey groups online. These are organizations which conduct consumer and other research and contact you by e-mail when they have a survey for you. They can be on a variety of topics from what movies you watch, to what brands of cereal you buy to how likely you are to get a new cell phone and service.

Of course, virtually all of them start with basic demographic questions like what kind of work you do, how much you earned last year, gender, ethnicity and your age. I’m white, male, 57. Nobody gives a crap about my opinion or my consumer habits.

Maybe it’s because they think I’m old? All the surveys have pretty narrow bands of age—like 18-25, 25-35, etc. But usually it’s combined with 50-65 or 55+. Yep, I’m pretty sure that they think that older white guys don’t count.

Well, I have to agree. I just want a cell phone where I can make a call, get a call, leave a message or get a message. No G3 or internet. And I wear glasses so why would I want to watch TV on a 2” screen? Surveys don’t seem to like it that I couldn’t care less about most brands of cereal. I don’t need a 14 ounce, $5 box of designer “sticks and twigs” with almonds and dried cranberries. Give me my $2 box of fake Cheerios—that keeps me out of trouble with my doctor who wants me to eat more fiber to keep my cholesterol under control.

But here’s what the surveys miss—I can read right through the hyperbole and B.S. of most advertising. It’s not that I’m immune; I’m just not going to be that swayed by it. I can definitely differentiate between Enzyte and Extenz although I’m not going to get either of them. And since when do men have to use “body wash” in the shower—whatever happened to plain old Irish Spring or Ivory? For crying out loud, I use unscented deodorant! I don’t want my armpits to smell like anything—no b.o. and no fresh scent and no pine fresh (if I want pine fresh I’ll stick those pine tree thingeys you use in cars under my pits)

The other thing surveys miss—I can buy whatever I want and make my own decision. There’s just not that much that I want. My generation is getting older, and it’s a big generation. We’re still working, still spending money and still enjoying life. The kids—yeah they’re the ones targeted by advertising and the surveys. They have to have all the new cool stuff. So how about getting some cool, hip-hop guy to plug IRA accounts for the 20 year olds instead of some cool, hip-hop chick to shill for Axe? Makes sense to me. I don’t even listen to Sam Waterston so why would a youngster?

Anyway, I’m tired of being marginalized by these surveys and by media advertising. But, maybe that’s OK. If they were targeting me, it wouldn’t work—although fast food joints have now discovered the virtues of advertising their $1 menus, something that "cheapbastids" like me discovered a while back.

The bottom line? I may have been marginalized because I’m over 55. I’m cynical rather than gullible. But, I buy stuff. And I have money. But I’m not going to piss it away. So there.

1 comment:

  1. I guess the majority of advertisements are targeted toward the youth population but I can think of a few exceptions: medical products, insurance, (some) cars, vacations, and real estate. The older you are, the harder it is to sway your opinion with a flashy ad, so some advertisers may not even bother with the older population.

    By the way, this would make for a good rant on WriteBite :)

    - Ahmed