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Broad Audiences Blow

By Leroy James King · April 16, 2010

The big rewrite meeting was this morning with the director and producer. The long and short of it:

They’re underpaying me, but they love what I’m doing and want me to continue doing subsequent revisions of the material.

So that’s good… but my god, this better get optioned because if not they will have gotten a HUGE deal from me. And I’m sick of giving people deals. I seethe…

I think one of the hardest parts about being a writer is getting past whatever is floating around in your head, or rather, tormentingyou on any given day. Because, really, we’re a weird, niched bunch, having to conjure cohesive strings of words and phrases out of thin air, and more times than not (if you’re writing for hire), whatever you come up with has to be universally relatable. That’s one aspect of commercial treatment writing in particular that is such a splinter in the ass. Whether you’re writing the approach for a tampon commercial or for a sports drink, everyoneneeds to be drawn to the product. The main reason for this is the fact that commercials aren’t only intended for the guy sitting down in front of the TV to watch his “stories.” Commercials, at their core, are intended for everyone near a television, whether they’re watching it or not. Honestly, from the commercial work I’ve done over the past few years, it seems that there’s a flux of spots that are specifically geared toward a peripheral audience – passersby who get a glimpse of giant breasts on a screen, so they continue to watch and find out it’s a pregnancy test commercial.

Anyway, the whole notion of making productsuniversally relatable is something I’m becoming more and more sick of everyday. I mean, shouldn’t we stop wasting time talking to broad demographics? Shouldn’t we make our content more specific to our targets? It seems to me that if clients (or whomever) made their advertising (or whatever) more niched for their audience, they’d get a more positive response from people that actually “matter.” And I also argue that this would foster the whole idea of making truly original, innovative media.

Imagine if clients actually started making incredibly niched spots for incredibly niched demographics. Like Budweiser for example. Obviously all their spots are targeted at dudes from 21 to 35 or so. But each of their spots are marketed so broadly – they’re trying to appeal to every dude within this demographic. I mean, I get it, but most guys I know that see these kinds of spots immediately call out every guy as being a douche bag, that Bud is trying to hard to win everyone over. Believe it or not, Budweiser, there’s a lot of nerdy ass dudes who like beer too, and I’d venture to say with equal or greater gusto than your metro sexual bros who still find time to be misogynistic towards women, while stillmaintaining a vibe of total androgyny. So I say make niched spots – market a spot to the nerds, market a spot to the meat heads, and even the metros. It’ll be more interesting for us. And aren’t we the ones who matter? The viewers.

That’s another thing that clients seem to forget about. They get so caught up with how they feel their image is being conveyed amongst themselves within their little company sphere, that they forget about the fact that these spots aren’t for them. Yes, they technicallyare because they’re paying for them. But give me a break! These commercials are for your consumers, man. I’m going to stop with this rant now because I’ll just start chasing my own tail around the room.

Anyway, where the hell was I…

Oh yeah, things tormenting you while you write. Yeah, it sucks. Especially when that “thing” is money.

Eh, fuck life right now.