(Kenn Venit takes a different approach to telling about
To: Don Fitzpatrick, ShopTalk. 1/18/2000
From: Kenn Venit
Re: Being a "Key Demo"
I am about to be booted from television "key
demo" status. I have nowhere to appeal this decision, but hope to raise a little cain
(cane?) about it. I am mad as hell, but the advertising industry, lots of tv account
execs, and the folks at Nielsen, say I do have to take it. It's been bad enough that
the Census Bureau won't even let me be classified as a "baby boomer" because I
was born several months before the end of World War II, on January 31, 1945. Somehow, I am
supposed to consider myself part of my parents' generation (okay, my mom was 17 and my dad
20 when I was born, so I guess it's mathematically possible) and not part of the
post-war baby boom.
So, on the last day of this month, when I turn 55, membership in my last
remaining valued "key demo" designation, "male 25-54," will be
revoked. Supposedly, I will no longer be "prized" by advertisers, despite the
fact I am still a purchaser of Clearasil, Prell, Mitchum, Dial, Colgate, Dentyne,
Tic Tac, and Victoria's Secret gift certificates (those are for my daughters, ages 31 and
30, who are the mothers of my grandchildren).
Ironically, at 54, for the first time in my life, I received invitations to jury
duty and to be a Nielsen family. The invitations arrived on the same day in
mid-summer. I went in for the jury selection process but was not taken (no one was needed
that day). declined the Nielsen offer because of my occupation as a news consultant,
talent coach, and NewsTemp (at the time of the invitation, I was filling for the news
director at a tv station).
I do plan to party on Super Bowl Weekend, January 29 & 30, as they say,
like it's 1999. Oops. Make that 2000. I may get a hotel room for my wife and me,
using my AARP discount (minimum membership age: 50), and might even line up some
discount e-tickets for vacations later this year using my soon-to-take-effect-status in
United Airlines Silver Wings Club (minimum membership age: 55 or over).
I will watch the ads during the Super Bowl with extra interest, knowing it will be
the last time businesses reputedly will consider me even a small part of the audience
they really want to reach with their super-expensive commercials. If I see something
I want, I will try to buy it within 24 hours, on my double-nickel day. By the way, at 9 am
on that milestone day, I am scheduled for my annual physical...the first in my new 55+
Author Gail Sheehy, in "New Passages," says being fifty these days is
like what being forty was just a few decades ago. Maybe that means I could slip back into
"male 18-49" with some kind of asterisk, if I send a copy of the book to
Nielsen, along with a copy of my birth certificate.
On the other hand, maybe I will enjoy having the
pressure off me to keep up with the younger Joneses.
Don, I hope you realized when you turned 50 during the 1999 RTNDA Convention that
you entered the final years of your key demo "attractiveness" (having
just left the "male 18-49" category. I'll be close to 60 when you
turn 55, so if you need help getting through that milestone birthday, I should be able to
be of assistance!