Targeting Is Futile When Our Audience Is Everyone, Everywhere

“Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.”

This little truism is especially true today. We’re all critics, even when we’re consumers at the same time. So can brands narrowly target an audience anymore, or will they hear about their marketing from everyone, regardless of whether they’re the target? Case in point: The recent Mountain Dew “Goat” ads that were deemed offensive by almost — but not quite — everybody.


Every creative brief I’ve ever been handed contains a section about who the target audience is. Some are very narrow, some are quite broad. It’s futile to try to target even a majority of the population.

Yet when large swaths of the public rise up and complain about an ad or a brand, they get attention. Woe to the brand manager or CMO who says, “Sorry, we’re just not talking to you.” All consumers are supposed to matter, and when anyone can write a blog or use the Twitter megaphone, they all need to be heard or placated. In cases where a controversial ad is in question, many people don’t think twice about pouring gasoline on a fire.

It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.