Learning Marketing from Late Night Talk-Shows

Late night talk-shows have long been a standard of American television. But they are not all fun and games. Sometimes they offer important new research on marketing like this segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live . . .

It may not be the most scientific – or truthful – source but this comedic take on the Thor trailer does suggest an interesting idea on targeting customers.

Every product, whether it is a musical, soft drink or holiday destination, has a wide range of target markets. Take Disney on Broadway’s Newsies for instance. This product appeals to many different segments including tourists, families, New York locals, theatre connoisseurs, first-time theatregoers, adults, children and many more.

The ideal target market is probably family entertainment as that is clearly supported by the Disney brand and the movie on which the musical is based. But how many families will be seeing the show on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night in the middle of school terms? Probably very few.

So with that in mind, the show has to cast its net wider and entice a broader range of consumers to engage. This is why the Jimmy Kimmel skit is important.

While no show will alter its communications quite as dramatically as the satirical Thor trailer, the idea does have some merit. Different forms of communication will reach different kinds of people with different motivations to see the show and these motivations need to be reflected in the advertising.

For example, the wide-reaching advertising would be rather general. Groups of adults aren’t going to want to see Newsies if on the way to purchase tickets they walk past a huge billboard branded with ‘A fun night out for the whole family’. But at the same time, not all advertisements can be general because they don’t provide much of an incentive to go to the show!

To attract New York-based theatre junkies through one of the many arts-centric magazines the advertisement would highlight the rave reviews it has been given with quotes along the lines of ‘A great night at the theatre’ and ‘Phenomenal entertainment’. While a target market of families may involve advertisements on the Disney Channel showing lots of footage of the young cast and an emphasis on family-friendly entertainment. Maybe even a discounted price for booking four tickets?

It really is a fine balance between satisfying all the different profitable consumer segments while not alienating another diverse group. But as Jimmy Kimmel suggests, a female-targeted advertisement for Thor may increase the number of women who want to see the film. And in the case of the theatre – a market heavily dominated by female ticket purchasers – maybe it is time to also target some other demographics.