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August 31, 2015

Who You Are May Be Evident in What You Watch

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 4th 2010 6:30PM
'Family Guy'"Only snobbish boors watch 'Mad Men.'"

"You'd have to be a narcissist to watch 'The Real Housewives' shows."

"'Family Guy'? Maybe if I was an immature man-child!"

These kinds of blanket statements permeate our society. We often try to broadly define the personality traits of fans of certain kinds of shows, and more often than not we're deriding others for being into shows that aren't particularly our fancy. That's human nature.

The researchers at Mindset Media have taken this notion and extrapolated further with it. If there is a common thread between most viewers of particular shows, then you've a narrower audience type to target with advertising. Love it or hate it, advertising is where television still makes most of its money, particularly the broadcast networks.

This research can help make sure all those immature, boorish narcissists are being targeted more directly with advertisements suited to their tastes. Oh, and according to Mindset Media, all three of those above stereotypes are wrong.

HouseAnalyzing viewing data from approximately 25,000 different individuals, Mindset Media was able to see clear personality types among the fans of more than 70 different television shows. They also found that some mainstream shows, like 'House,' appeal to a wide variety of viewers and are much harder to pinpoint by personalities.

Reading at times like a horoscope in this Advertising Age article, marketers came up with this idea of making psychographic analyses of television viewers to see if they can target appropriate audiences more directly. There's no point in advertising a Mercedes on a show whose audience is made up of rebellious rule breakers (or at least there's less point). Not when there's a show out there simply filled with the personality types that love Mercedes.

It looks like Mindset has defined a wide variety of personality types, and then categorized even more currently-advertised products into those different group types. From there, it was simply a matter of finding out which personality groups were watching which programs. Advertisers already had some data based on traffic to their websites, and Nielsen household income averages and the like, but Mindset's may be the first to analyze personalities.

The company is planning to offer quarterly updates of its data analysis to its clients, and the plan is for you to be more inclined to watch those commercials because they're more likely to be hawking wares that interest you directly. Unless you're a fan of 'House' or 'Bones.' Then you'll see the same wide spectrum of ads you get now.

If this works, we might find psychographically-specific shows able to charge a premium to advertisers over more popular mainstream shows, like 'House,' with a winder spectrum of viewers. Sure, networks could argue, there are more people watching that show, but they're all different kinds of people. But we know most of the people watching 'The Office' are alpha personality types who like to be in charge, and tend to think of themselves as superior to those around them. They also like to seek out new experiences to live fuller lives. More significantly, we know they're far more inclined to be into Starbucks than McDonalds, and prefer V8 over Doritos. What advertiser wouldn't pay a little more to have a ready-made audience gathered before their commercials?

As for the above-mentioned show's personality types? 'Mad Men' fans are more creative types, which also means they're emotionally sensitive and intellectually curious, and they tend to be social liberals. This means yes to advertisers like Apple and American Express, while saying no to Microsoft and Cadillac.

Real Housewives of NJPugnacious "antagonist" leaders make up the core audience of 'The Real Housewives' franchise, which means people who put honesty and the truth over keeping the peace and protecting people's feelings, as well as take charge types who can take decisive action. Botox, Nike and Crest Whitestrips are good for this audience, while Maxwell House and car companies like Honda and Buick aren't so strong.

It's risk-takers and rule-breakers at the heart of the 'Family Guy' audience. These people are accepting of others and easy to get along with socially, but also sarcastically reject authority or rules they deem unfair. Target them with Ford F150 and Totino's, but don't waste your time on products like Dannon Light & Fit yogurt and the Volvo C70.

There are all different types of people in the world, and it is of course impossible to define all of them with these methods, so there are bound to be rebels watching 'Mad Men' and pugnacious people turning into 'Family Guy.' But these personality trends can help advertising be more effective both to the viewers and for the advertiser. In that regard, this data could prove invaluable to the future health of the medium.

So let's play armchair psychographic analyst, if you will. What do your favorite shows say about who you are? Knowing what kind of person you are, and most of us do deep down inside, what kinds of shows would you say appeal to your personality type, both presently and in the past? Maybe we'll create some hard data of our own to help the cause.

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So, if you watch "The Middle","RedNeck wedding"(think that's what they call it) or "Swamp Loggers" or even ((shudder)) "Swamp People", you'll see a lot of Walmart commercials and Geico commercials.... Guess that makes sense...

November 05 2010 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fringe is my favorite Show... Nothing for me?

November 05 2010 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard Ott

If I've watched Sesame Street for 35 years, who am I?
Well, I prefer Pepsi Cola over Coke, because The
Simpsons are advertising for Coke, and I hate The
Simpsons. Anyway, I remember my first calendar year,
1976, and I know I first got into Sesame Street by
that time, but I'm still uncertain of Alaina Reed's
debut as Olivia in 1976. I would have to see a clip
of that on YouTube, but I have a pretty good Idea
about her debut song. Maybe, she sang "Feelings".
Growing up with Sesame Street, having been extremely
fastinated with Jim Henson's work with The Muppets,
and being a fan of Star Wars since 1977, thus getting
to know all the Muppeteers and casts in the process,
both past and present, and following all of their
projects and appearences on Television, I've developed
a memory for Sesame Street, alone like you wouldn't
believe. Why, you might even say I'm......Memorybot!
See The Best Of Elmo 2 on DVD (2006).

November 04 2010 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard Ott's comment

Who are you? Well, after reading that the word weirdo comes to mind.

November 04 2010 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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