The Product Is You, No. 12

Posted by Rob Walker on August 17, 2009
Posted Under: The Product Is You


[The Product Is You is an occasional Murketing series collecting advertising that is aimed at advertisers: Magazines or television networks packaging up their consumers — that is, you, the potential ad target — in ways designed to attract advertisers.

Been quite a while since I posted one of these, but I had a chance recently to clear out my office and in the process discovered some examples I’d set aside. Here’s one. It’s an ad targeting potential advertisers on the History Channel.

“There is a type of consumer that advertisers crave,” this History Channel promotion tells members of the marketing profession. “He’s hard to find, but not if you know where to look.”

The idea is that you will find them watching the History Channel, and that’s where you should tell your corporate clients to buy ad time. Here are some attributes of the “consumer that advertisers crave”:



The most interesting attribute of this print ad is that it is set up to resemble a kind of science fiction surveillance/ data collection scenario: These men are walking down the street, going about their business, but the marketing professional is offered fanciful view of their essence, by way of the imagined “SCAN MODE LEVEL” that is set to “ASSESS DEMOGRAPHICS.”

All in good fun, I suppose, but if you think about it a colder lens on you the consumer is hard to imagine. This really is how advertisers think about you. You’re a bundle of statistics, to which they seek access.


The guy above — a composite of whatever the channel’s viewer research supposedly shows — is boiled down to some of the attributes that appeal to advertisers: he’s “fashion forward,” a new homeowner, and a “trader.” I’m not sure if “engaged” refers to relationship status, or his relationship to History Channel’s content.



And the same thing with this guy. Here I’m interested in “wine not beer” and “golf over power tools.”

As always, I think it’s interesting for the rest of us to have a little glimpse, every now and then, about how advertisers think about us.



Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

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