Tag: demographics


Audiences Want Stories With Context & Connection

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Oracio Alvarado

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Oracio Alvarado

Co-Founder & Director of Strategy and Research Kate Canada recently wrote an article for MediaPost about how brands can authentically provide context and connect with their audiences.

You can read the full post here, but we’ve included an extract:

Today’s audience is craving a real connection, and authentic stories that represent the changing demographics of the American landscape are one of the most powerful ways to establish that connection. Stories tap into the emotions we all share. Stories are universal ways of telling our personal view from the individual and tying it all up with what’s going on in the city, country and globe. Our job is to create stories of possibility and resonance.

I see two related opportunities for brands to meaningfully connect with audiences using story: as content for context and as content for everyday storytelling.

Content as Context

2014 was the year for telling the Big Family story, content as context. The 2014 Coca-Cola America Super Bowl spot and Honeymaid’s This is Wholesome commercial are examples of telepathic compelling campaigns; piquing our emotions without running too much in the way of sentimentality. In these spots, we see the “wide screen format” of storytelling as context. It gives the reader the emotional landscape.

Content for Everyday

The smaller but nonetheless still potent pieces of the story are what I call snap-shorts of everyday life, the smaller bits that make up our big picture. P&G’s Tide with a Problem-Solving Dad doing laundry and French-braiding his daughter’s hair; the Thank You Mom featuring kids and falling and learning with lots of support from mom; Chevy Malibu’s The Car For The Richest Guys On Earth piece or the Cheerios Here’s To Dad where the narrator looks straight into the camera and says, “We make the new rules… this is how to ‘Dad.’”

As advertisers, we are responsible for taking the constellation of social dots of demographics, sentiments and media connectivity and turning them into tactics and actions, shaping the data into meaningful ways of reaching out and engaging with consumers. In so doing, we will be able to, as David Ogilvy suggested, respectfully and empathetically become trusted partners with consumers, smart and savvy social beings who live in the world.


Television and The Modern Family Mash-Up

Image courtesy of Hapticgeneration.com

Image courtesy of Hapticgeneration.com

Audiences gravitate towards stories about families because they capture the quirky, imperfect, and often hilarious dynamics of our own lives, and as a content creator, television is uniquely positioned to mirror our changing families and to help audiences navigate what it all means. Only recently, however, has the story been so colorful, and crowded. Here’s a look at how the changes in American families and their continually complicated stories get played out in entertainment.

In the 1950s, the family was viewed as one cohesive functional unit and the need for conformity was a recurring theme in programming. Demographically speaking, television reflected the fact that American households were primarily white, and on TV, white families stood in for other ethnic groups. After World War II, US consumers had more discretionary income and the population was growing. With more money and bigger families, people began moving to the then-new suburbs. Television telegraphed these demographic changes, turning raw data into stories that fueled shows as The Real McCoys, The Donna Reed Show, Bewitched and Father Knows Best.

By the 1970s, the American family had begun a process of dramatic change. Divorce rates doubled, we saw the development of blended families, and the face of the American public was becoming a true melting pot, a multicultural mixture of ethnicities, races and religions under a single American identity. Again, television reflected these changes, now playing off family tension in such popular shows as the ground-breaking All In The Family and its spinoffs Maude, Good Times and The Jeffersons.

Recent demographic changes have further upended American society and culture. We are more diverse than ever, and in a demographic first, immigrant families accounted for the majority of births in 2010. Census data also indicates that there is no longer a “typical” American family as they are headed by divorced, married, single parents, married couples and a rising number of same-sex married and unmarried couples.

This new data reflects our changing attitudes about families and the ways parents and kids should live and love. It is opening up a new canvas on which we can write stories and create meaningful content that is truly modern and celebrates everyone in the household. I have no doubt that television will continue to play a critical role in shaping and depicting family stories and in doing so, attract more audiences.

This is an edited excerpt of Oishii Partner Kate Canada Obregon’s article “Television and The Modern Family Mash-Up,” which appears on Cynopsis Cynsiders. You can read the full text of the article here: http://www.cynopsis.com/cyncity/television-modern-family-mash/



What TV Cultural Norms Can We Learn From The World Cup?

World CupThe Oishii office has been bustling with World Cup conversations. With staff members from Germany to Mexico to England to Peru, everyone has a story to share; a team and player nuances passionately mapped on the whiteboard.

In a recent NPR program, guest Felix Sanchez raised questions about what he perceived to be the racist or culturally offensive remarks made by Univision game announcers during the World Cup. Sanchez, who champions the Hispanic voice and perspective in media and culture, also raises awareness about the lack of inclusivity in content we consume.

During certain World Cup games, Sanchez argued that the racist and otherwise off-color remarks, such as “morena” and grena,” showed a lack of respect for certain players, and reflected racist perceptions about “dark skinned” peoples. While some audiences may grit their teeth and laugh off the bravado, he pointed out that other audiences might be insulted by such racially charged language. Reactions to Sanchez’s comments have fueled further outcry, forcing him to defend his criticisms:

Again, the issue is not how you have used the word “moreno” and “greña,” but how it was used in the context of this broadcast. Here the sportscaster had been calling all the players by their last names, but when it came to the Afro Latino player, he referred to him by the color of skin and gratuitously focused on his hair, essentially he said: “the black guy with the dreds.” That kind of double standard commentary is not acceptable and at a minimum raises issue of fairness and respect to Afro Latino players, and at a maximum reinforces a classist/racist/ mentality.

We think it’s important to look at the World Cup less as a spectator sport more as a moment of television cultural anthropology. How television, culture and sport are symbolic and real “screens” onto which we can see audience values, tastes, opinions and ideas intersecting and influencing one another. How cultures merge and where conversations happen. The World Cup is a great opportunity to see how television works in very powerful ways. In the United States, television audiences reflect demographic trends. Audiences are increasingly diverse and bring with them their experiences and ideologies. With this diversity comes convergence, and merging is not without its conflicts and happy accidents. Rather than label announcers, perhaps we should embrace the chaos and sit without judging. Observe and truly understand the importance of audiences in the new local-global television scape.

What are your thoughts on Sanchez’s argument? What role / responsibility do you think TV should play in this case?