Sunday, August 20, 2006

Aiming for a target

Yesterday's post on Snakes on a Plane spawned a good discussion in the comments section. Well, something that captain groovy said got me to thinking about something else worthy of a blog entry. With trying understand the appeal of the film, the groovy one said, "you're not the target audience." This gets me to wondering about general advertising and marketing.

Even though I minored in advertisting/public relations in college, I've always wondered: if something is meant for a specific audience, then why is it advertised so prominently in areas that have a large and diverse audience? In other words, if Snakes on a Plane is not meant for me, then why can't I escape it?

Before I go any further, I must address why I care. If I'm trying to find stuff that is of interest for me, how come I have to wade through all sorts of puff pieces about Paris Hilton, Panic! At the Disco and Tom Cruise? I guess that's a part of the hunt, but why is there such a large volume of these kinds of things? I doubt interest is that high.

This thought process leads me to say this again: life doesn't exist just where the money flows. Where the money flows is such a small part of the story. I can't sit back and say something like all modern metal/hardcore sucks. Why? Because I know there are bands like Killswitch Engage and Converge out and about. I can say the same about movies. But how come movies, records, etc. with a specific appeal are promoted to find an audience in the mainstream?

Maybe I'm missing an essential implication with finding an audience: it's a big stab in the dark. With Snakes on a Plane, my guess is that New Line green-lit the film as a star vehicle for Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson has marquee value, so it's a guaranteed money-maker. But pair a great actor who can play a great bad-ass with a ludicrous concept of snakes on a plane and you have something that could kill most acting careers. Alas, I think Jackson's appeal has been raised even further. Yet the confusion remains with the mass appeal of these blasted snakes crawling around a plane.


captain groovy said...

if it will make you feel better apparently the movie performed well under expectations.I guess people are waiting for the dvd.It upsets me less that this is overmarketed than the fact that a delightful movie like The Illusionist will sink into obscurity because of lack of marketing.
I'm guessing however that you & i will never be a "target" audience.Therefore we sift through the drek for the nuggets.

Jackye Chan said...

There are all kinds of targets that marketing companies aim for. With the Internet, it's with companies like Netflix that have found a great market for target niches like documentaries. Studios will than try to release movies aimed at these niche groups, but usually fail because of the fact that YOU CANNOT PREDICT HUMAN BEHAVIOR. The only time you could ever get an accurate statistic is when every single person has been accounted for. Even then humans will still change their minds, just because they can.

We're moving into more and more of a niche market for everything service-oriented. Think about it. If anything, the smaller, lesser known groups will be heard, and the marketing companies will be scrambling to find that next niche.