You've been told by many that to be effective with your ad messages, you must target your audience.
So, you divide up the population by age and gender and decide who your product, goods, or services will most likely appeal to -- and then develop an ad message that will be most appropriate for that targeted demographic category.
In theory -- it sounds so easy.
But there are two stories you need to know in order to give that marketing philosophy some texture and perspective.
The first story was written in 1605 by Migel de Cervantes. It is the story of Don Quixote -- an old man who saw himself as a chivalrous knight and protector of the fair maiden Dulcinea. The world around him saw the situation only as an old man and a servant girl.
In the 1940's, James Thurber's book about Walter Mitty became a popular tale of a man who -- in the space of a single afternoon -- imagines he is the commander of a navy hydroplane, a life-saving surgeon, an expert marksman, and an intrepid army captain.
No Walter Mitty isn't crazy. He just has trouble convincing people who he is inside. In fact, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" became a favorite American tale because it so accurately speaks to the Walter Mitty in each of us.
Ever played cowboy? Astronaught? Princess? Pirate? Ever daydreamed about the life of the rich and famous? Ever wanted to sail the seas? Climb a mountain? Ride in a hot air balloon? Explore the jungles of South America?
Like Don Quixote and Walter Mitty -- each of us has a secret life, secret dreams and aspirations. And, our decisions are often influenced by the people we are on the inside.
Yes, we may wish to urge Don and Walter to abandon their dreams and desires. But the reality is that if we would sell our products, goods, and services -- we must make two customers happy: we must speak not only to a tired old man or a henpecked husband -- but we must also eloquently address the needs of a chivalrous knight and an intrepid army captain.
And that, my friends, is really what advertising is all about.