I was just thinking about an old client story. We were trying to determine a voiceover choice. Our target audience was female (more depth to that, obviously), the brief style included ‘feminine’ and so we were looking at female voiceover artists. Three women who neatly represented the audience were listening in and passing comment. They ultimately wanted a male voice, because he was “less threatening”. When pushed for detail on that, they explained that, even though they knew they shouldn’t, they found themselves harshly judging the women VOs, picturing who they were and not liking them. Whereas the guy: no problem.
This cut against my little feminist instincts, because I know it’s often discussed that women could benefit from collaboration, not competition. Same for all of us! It reminded me, though, that the market, the audience, is what it is, not I want it to be. I’d rather those women didn’t cut each other down, and that they didn’t see another woman as a threat – but I’m creating a communication tool aimed at the now, at the reality, not the wishful thinking or even the progressive desire.
When you’re looking at your market, product, item, film, whatever, remember that: you can’t force desires or opinions on an audience. You have to accept who they are and how they think, generally, and create for that. It sucks sometimes, but an imaginary market won’t suddenly appear from a time-warping wormhole. You gotta work with what’s here, now. Or find a different market.
Agree? Disagree? Found ways around it? Tweet us your thoughts.