Engaging Culture

Fighting at Christmas, And Why Your Target Audience Isn’t Necessarily Like You

When most advertisers create media campaigns or television commercials, they usually assume the target audience is similar to them. Church, ministry, and nonprofit communicators often do the same. But a story in the Wall Street Journal reminded me just how different people are – and why it matters for sharing our message.  For instance, we normally think of Christmas as a time of love, sharing gifts, and loving the time spent with family. But recently, the journal reported a survey conducted by British hotel chain TraveLodge:

“Two years ago, the chain noticed a sharp upswing in bookings for Christmas Day. Hoping to capitalize on the trend, its marketing department commissioned a poll of 2,500 households to see how the typical British family spends Christmas Day. The findings offered few useful insights for the company but proved a gold mine for sociologists.

The respondents revealed that, on average, the first fight of the day takes place no later than 10:13 a.m., usually after the discovery that someone has consumed all the chocolate. A lull then ensues while presents are opened and the drinks cabinet raided.

At 11:42 or so, the children express their disappointment with their haul while the parents become enraged by their lack of gratitude. At noon comes a “discussion” of the level of alcohol consumption before lunch, followed by simmering tension until everyone finally sits down to eat around 2:23.

The fragile truce established during the turkey carving is destroyed by a massive family row at 3:24. Exhaustion then sets in until 6:05, when tempers flare over the remote control.

At 10:15, there is one final blowup before everyone goes to bed. In short, the average family can expect at least five arguments between Santa’s midnight dash and the time Donner, Blitzen, Prancer and Vixen are back in their stables.”

Shocking huh? Not generally what you think goes on in the typical family at Christmas. The lesson is that great execution of advertising and marketing comes from accurate information. Don’t assume anything. Do you homework, so your campaign can be as effective as possible.

Has there ever been a time when you were shocked at how different your target audience turned out?

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  1. Interesting you should note this. Our television offer for one of our Christian teaching ministry clients was Overcoming Pain in Your Life for the month of December. One of our most requested products of the year!

  2. Messy is more authentic. People connect with it. The Brady Bunch was nice, but if it were remade today as a blended family reality show it would be a big hit. Lots of fights and drama, with fun and family moments as the exception not the norm.

  3. At first, I thought this article was written as a humorous piece….. sad stuff in reality.

    This poll and Trent’s comment makes me think we as a ministry should think seriously about considering promoting teaching materials in the month of December specifically addressing conflict, loneliness, grief, depression and maybe some gratitude for good measure. Great food for thought here.

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