Suburgatory Commercials

First premiering on September 28, 2011, Suburgatory is now on its second season being renewed for a third season. On Wednesdays, from 9:30 pm- 10:00 pm, this show is about a single father, George Altman, who moved his precious daughter from the big city of Manhattan to a small suburban neighborhood of Chatswin in order to give her a better life. This teenager, Tessa Altman, feels trapped in this neighborhood of “plastics” by trying to navigate through her new surroundings while maintaining her own city identity (Appendix A). The background of this television series helps give an understanding of the type of commercials played throughout the show.

The commercials presented during this show airing on September 6, 2013, were about cars, fashion, cell phones and coverage providers, a cruise, and food. With the coming of tax season, car sales tend to increase during this time increasing the amount of advertising about them giving them two advertisements during this television show. Both Volkswagen Passat and the Crystler 300 series shared the same themes of having an up-coming event.

Volkswagen Passat is having, “The Sprintoberfest Event” and Crystler 300 series states, “Hurry in for great offers at the showcase event.” Fashion on the other hand has a theme of saving and buying things that are fashion forward. Marshalls famous saying is “Never pay full price for fabulous” while JcPennys stated “Truly yours” in their advertisement. Lens Crafters advertised more towards savings and less on fashion by advertising, “The Semi-Annual Sale.” Another set of commercials during this time deals with cell phones and coverage providers.

The new Droid RazrMaxx HD had two commercial spots while Verizon and AT&T only had one. Both of the service providers shared a theme of saving. Verizon stated, “Never have to surrender the things that matter” meaning basically pay this large amount of money for the better service while AT&T is stating, “It’s not complicated, saving is better” basically competing with Verizon by stating that they offer the same cell phone service so why pay more. The Droid is a new product and focused more on informing the customer on its new functions. Its themes were “Droid endurance, Droid powerful” and “Droid smart, Droid powerful.” Royal Caribbean is another commercial in a set on its own since it is not related to any of the other products or services.

Royal Caribbean is cruise line that is advertising to those that cannot afford that pricey trip to Europe by stating, “The best way to see Europe is through Royal Caribbean.” Lastly, food categories are the next set of commercials. Olive Garden, Lean Cuisine Salad Additions, McDonalds’ Shamrock Shakes, and Tropicana Farmstand all were advertising their food products but with different messages or themes. Olive Garden wanted to advertise their new deal that they are currently having of “3 courses, 2 people, just $25” while Tropicana Farmstand and McDonalds wanted to introduce their new or returning product.

Tropicana Farmstand advertises their chilled juice by stating, “A deliciously chilled fruit and vegetable” and McDonalds’ wants to remind its followers of the Shamrock shake by stating, “The simple job of mint.” The Lean Cuisine Salad Additions I found very interesting. Being a consumer of Lean Cuisine, I did not purchase this new salad product due to the fact that I thought that lettuce would not taste well from a frozen state. With their new message of, “BYOL, bring your own lettuce” I now understand that their product does not contain lettuce and am assuming that others will know that now too. It is a new product that needs explaining and they are doing this by showing this twice in a 30 minute television series.

During these commercial sets, I noticed a few common target market groups for the majority of the commercials (Appendix C). These target market groups aligned with some of the viewers but not all of them. One target market is that not one commercial was geared towards children and all of them were geared towards adults. Since the show starts at 9:30 pm the logical reasoning for that would be that most children are in bed by this time on a school night.

This goes against who is actually watching the show. On 2/13/2013 ratings showed that only 2.1 million viewers were between the ages of 18-49 out of the total 5.91 million (only 36%). The share was 6 million. This means that there are probably a lot of children and/or adults over the age of 49 that were viewing this show (Appendix B).

Another common target market group is that all of the commercials besides the Droid RazrMaxx HD were based on Western Culture (not just based on language). Although broadcasted internationally, this is consistent with the viewers here in the United States network. Food based commercials were all Americanized and the fashion was all similar to this culture as well. A third common group was that most of the commercials were geared towards straight individuals with 5 out of 16 of them even advertised for families and couples. There is no breakdown of this lifestyle for the viewers but it would be interesting to see.

Lastly, many of the commercials are marketing towards professionals. This is correlated to the viewers due to the fact that most professional jobs require someone to work 9 am to 5 pm. If someone is working second or third shift they would not be able to watch this series. Even though the commercials were not exactly on par with the viewers as far as age, I did not see any commercial that I would consider out of place.

As a viewer of this television series, I do share come characteristics of the other viewers of this show but not all. I am a professional that works 9 am to 5 pm that is straight. Given that I do not share the age groups with the majority of viewers, I do not share this characteristic. One of the commercials that connected with me, as I mentioned above was the commercial for the Lean Cuisine Salad Additions. Even though the fact that I will not be buying this product, I still was a consumer that benefited from this commercial information.

Before this commercial, their new product was confusing and not appealing. Another commercial that enticed me was the McDonalds’ Shamrock Shake. After that commercial I immediately wanted to purchase one even thought the amount of calories stopped me. The last commercial that caught my attention was by Lens Crafters. I just bought really expensive glasses from my eye doctor’s office and would have probably not done so if I saw this commercial first.

Appendix A:

Appendix B:

Appendix C:

References:

* Genzlinger, Neil (2011). “A Worried City Father Seeks Wholesomeness”. The New York Times. http://tv.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/arts/television/suburgatory-on-abc-review.html.

* Mitovich, Matt (May 10, 2012). "ABC Renews Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Grey's, Castle and Three Wednesday Comedies". TV Line. http://tvline.com/2012/05/10/renewals-abc-2012-fall-tv/. Retrieved May 11, 2012.

* Seidman, Robert. (2011) “ABC Announces Fall Series Premiere Dates” TV by the Numbers.