Ads: Who’s Watching?

Ever since I was little and I would turn on my TV so that I could watch Cartoon Network, I would despise advertisements. Why? Well because I was trying to watch The Powerpuff Girls (don’t make fun of my choices)! Yet, when the advertisements would come on, I’d see Barbies being advertised, G.I .Joe toys, the new Play-Doh concoctions and set ups, new shows to tune in to, etc. Inevitably, a few hours later I would be running to mom or dad to tell them about the new toy I just had to have. So why did it seem that the ad was directed towards me? Why was I not getting advertisements about the new BMW or about the rising insurance company?

Advertisement companies seem to be targeting specific audiences through their use of predictions on who may be watching. As noted in this article by the American Target Network, advertising companies make efforts towards what is known as “Spot TV Advertising” in which the ads presented are being targeted towards certain geographic. For example, if you wanted to advertise a new outlet in the College Park area, you’d broadcast it to only the College Park area. The article also brings attention towards the notion that advertisements should be  directed towards certain demographics so that not all, but only some audiences are getting these messages.

What does it mean when I say that only some are getting it according to their demographics? Well take for example, this video that was posted on AdvertisingAge ( in which the relevance of advertising towards a younger audience is of topic. This particular video speaks about specifically targeting people who are being exposed towards online advertisements. In this video the young boy talks about how he would attract a girl on who is of a certain age, height, etc. (kind of creepy, but accurate). Advertisements are a form of communication, even we ourselves act as advertisements. Yes, I know we aren’t sitting there saying “try me! I am funny smart, witty, and I can write blog posts!” It is more low key than that. Anytime we meet somebody for a job interview for instance, we shake their hand and smile and we are technically selling an image of ourselves- we are selling our reliability, our hard-working aspects, our ability to learn, etc. We are also projecting ourselves at target audiences. We want a job, so we aren’t going to go to a senior home to tell them about how hard we work, though I’m sure they’d enjoy the company and love us anyway! We advertise ourselves to the job market, to the company we want to work for…we are advertising ourselves towards a certain demographic.

So it would make sense that advertisements also advertise at certain times of the day. Say you’re a stay at home mom (just pretend). After the kids have left for school, you have done some house work, and run some errands, you come back home and turn the television on. You think you’re going to see ads pertaining to kids? Well, maybe if you’re on Nickelodeon. Maybe you are watching CNN or…Discovery Channel…or just threw on some random movie channel. You think you’ll be getting more ads pertaining to paper towels after the kid in the commercial spilled his juice? You think you’ll be getting those commercials about the new mini van? It all sounds very stereotypical, but that’s just it! Advertising companies know who is home and at what time. For example, when I was in high school, I would get up early and get ready. After I was done, I would turn the TV on to Cartoon Network (yes even in high school). Now this is geared towards younger audiences. Since I was up earlier than normal though, “Adult Swim” would be on. This was seemingly like a more mature version of Cartoon Network for adults (wow wouldn’t guess adult swim was for adults) and it would only play late at night or early in the mornings. They’d have on shows like Family Guy and American Dad. The advertisements would subsequently be more mature. When I would come home, the kids shows would be back on again and consequently, so would the commercials advertising Gold Fish snacks, Barbies, etc.

Now when you turn on your computer, your television, etc. notice that if you turn on Fox News, the advertisements are more geared towards adults. When you turn on Disney, notice the commercial about the new animated movie geared towards children. How are the commercials different compared to what time you are awake? The advertisements are trying to sell YOU something.


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