Life Alert ads niche audience
I have seen several versions of this commercial while watching the Price is Right; however, this particular advertisement has an eerie beginning to attract the audience’s attention. The language is the hegemonic norm, white people addressing an issue. But, it is targeted toward a higher income bracket and an older age than I am. Thus, I rarely see these commercials and do not feel like they are applicable to my life. While looking for the clip, I thought it was interesting how many young people showed the commercial and then inserted a laughing segment at the end. This proves that we are not the intended audience seeing how some younger people may find the product pointless. Also, considering the age of our parents, who are not old enough for this product, there is a lack of purpose from our perspectives. This proves Blumler’s and Katz’s research about uses and gratifications. As viewers, we have the power to choose what media source fulfills our needs. For the older generations, the social, emotional, and psychological needs are easily met with television and personal relationships whereas younger generations utilize social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for those connections.
The visual presentation of a nice home with family pictures around the home signal the audience that this is a middle aged or older individual, since younger people do not have an established income to live in a nice neighborhood, usually. The images frame the commercial around a white family and women, who are more than likely heterosexual.
Since children and adults, aged 20-40, are at school or work by 9 a.m., the only age demographic typically not working are the elderly or middle-aged individuals, in most situations. Thus, this advertisement airs from 9 a.m. until mid-afternoon, 3 p.m. According to the Washington Post, the broadcast and cable television audience has steadily increased into the mid-50 year old and above range. The Washington Post also noted a trend away from television in younger people so this advertisement is targeted at television viewers, not online or via radio, since that is where Life Alert’s target audience tunes in. So, Life Alert’s advertising committee use an alternate media vehicle of television to effectively reach the older audience being targeted in the advertisement. Even though television may not be viewed as an alternate media vehicle, it is due to the social constructs of television in the older generations lives. This commercial also utilizes cultural awareness, values held by that audience that vary across cultures, about the dominant class’s value of family through display of pictures and the woman surrounded by laundry, a domesticated, feminized job. This product is also aimed at older people who wish to reclaim their individualism and avoid uncertainty of a tragedy in their lives, which Kent and Taylor articulate in two of the five Hofstede’s cultural variables that influence communication and relationships. These variables act as a connection point between the public relations sector and the audience. The use of male voice overs and visuals at work correlate to the cultural awareness where the man typically works. Hence, it would make sense that the dominant, male group is taking the phone call. Furthermore, it briefly displays a background patio with a family in the background. This is also a cultural adaptation that may not be present in all cultures, since family gatherings are less frequent.
Life Alert’s advertisement campaign involving the well-known phrase “Help me! I can’t get up” provides the larger society with insights about what each subculture of white culture values and how those trends change over time. Although young adults may not find the commercial correlated with our current lifestyles, we will find how age determines what is most valuable. Eventually our parents will become a member of the Life Alert age demographic and the pictures on the walls will reflect our family and our fears of losing them. Thus, we see the power advertisements surrounding social justice and well-being are only effective when you are personally invested in the product because of life’s circumstances.