Respect The Audience. Remove The Target.

Edelman account exec, Jeffrey Treem, left a thought-provoking comment on Amy Gahran’s Right Conversation.

While I agree with your analysis about the value of strategic commenting, I wish you would have used a different phrase other than “target audiences.”
Audiences, are a passive, static group subject to the traditional linear sender-receiver model.
I think we need to think more in terms of communities of interest. After all, we don’t want these people just to read the comments, we want them to become engaged.
Senatics? maybe. But I think we as communicators need to move away from the restrictive view of targeting audiences that was coined by advertisers.

Personally, I think the word “target” is the problem. Audience seems benign. I understand Treem does not see it that way, but not all audiences are passive, not by any stretch. Sports fans, for one, are far from passive, static bodies that exist only to be pitched by the corporate team in their city.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.