It is interesting to me that products emerge with a designated customer in mind.
Ads are placed attracting that customer and then people buy it, share it perhaps with those “outside” the demographics—and snap, you have a winner!
Facebook grew like that. Once for college students and then newly graduated ones, a site to stay in touch and keep friendships going. Then their older siblings caught on, their coworkers and bosses, some “older” family friends, then Mom and Aunt Sue, and then, Grandpa wanted to get in and see what was going on.
Over the course of six or eight years the market customer base grew up.
Now think of this: what if six years ago the following ad had been placed in the Sunday News?
What would Grandpa have thought then?
First, it was in the newspaper so it must be legit, right?
Second, he would know its a nostalgic ad, but it would have caught his attention and fed into a form of marketing that he understood and trusted. No fancy bells and whistles. No neon colors or blinking ads on the internet. It played to his generation.
My guess is more Grandma and Grandpa’s would have asked about it, and this time, listened to the explanation with some understanding of the possibilities of its use. The ad spoke their language. Even the retro feel would have played into its appeal: they would have found it amusing, comforting, and perhaps, a real motivator to learn more about it so they could use it at some point.
It may not have worked at all, but it brings to light an important point about marketing today. Knowing your intended customers is what its all about, but also imagining a wider range of customer requires casting a wider, more thoughtful net.