New Apple Genius Ads May Annoy Us, But Are Indicative Of New Target Demographic

New Apple Genius Ads May Annoy Us, But Are Indicative Of New Target Demographic

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It’s fairly easy as a longtime Apple fan to dismiss the recently aired “Genius” ads as nothing more than a misstep in a rather stellar marketing history by the, well, geniuses in Cupertino. However, a new study by Brandindex Buzz shows a shift in the demographic trends for the Apple brand, which may go to explain the goofy ads as more specifically targeted advertising.

According to the study, adults 35 and up have become bigger supporters (which assumes they’ll become purchasers) of Apple products than the typically courted 18 – 34 group. This reversal happened as recently as last year – the 2011 shows the 18 – 34 group as the biggest Apple supporter. When the iPhone 4S was introduced, the numbers as measured by Brandindex showed a huge increase in perception for the 35+ crowd, with only a minor rise in perception from the 18 – 34 year olds, with a downward trend occurring over the next four months.

This may be why the commercials, shown during the Olympics to an older prime time audience, show older folks needing a lot more help using their Macs. Using the Apple-styled “Genius” in the commercials might actually help people in the older demographic feel a bit more comfortable about heading into an Apple retail store, where throngs of blue-shirted youngsters await to help the older folks with their new Macs, iPads, and iPhones.

Brandindes asks participants in their study, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” and then compiles the scores (from 100 to -100) for reporting. Before July 2011, the index scores for the 18 – 34 demographic were much higher than the scores for the 35+ demographic, with an average of 35 score (positive) vs the 35+ score of 30. Starting in mid-May 2011, the 35+ demographic rose, hitting an index score of 48 by November 1, 2012, while the younger crowd showed an index score of 36 after the iPHone 4S, but then sliding down to a 22 score by February.

The 35+ demo’s current Buzz score is 32, compared to the 18 – 34 Buzz score of 24, continuing the trend.

What do you think? As a 35+er myself, I do find the advertisements a bit patronizing, but I’m already an Apple cult member fan. What about my parents? Or yours, for that matter? What did they think of the commercials? How do they feel about Apple as a brand after seeing them? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Jason Bartlett

    Can we get off of this already?

  • StarshipTrooper

    Personally I find this ‘computer ageism’ a bit insulting. I’m 52 and I’ve been online since the days you had to program your own ‘microcomputer’. Most people 35+ who buy a computer now will have been using them at work for over a decade and will know very well where the spacebar is. As to the ‘young folks’, knowing how to turn on a PS3, surf the web for vids of skateboarding bulldogs, dab at an iPad and play World of Warcraft makes you neither an expert nor a hacker.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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