I really like Gogglebox.
I like it for a number of reasons but, wearing my work hat, I like it for three reasons:
Firstly, because it reminds me that – despite every article you read in magazines or on the internet that talk about the Death of TV, the Death of Traditional Media and The Death of The Old Interruption Marketing Model etc etc – television is still a massive part of our life.
So much so that we even tune in in our millions to watch complete strangers talking about it. (YouTubeBox? Nope. InstagramBox? Nope.)
In other words, rumours of TV’s death are not simply exaggerated, they’re utterly wrong.
Secondly, I love Gogglebox because it continuously reminds people like me, in marketing and advertising, that when most people sit down to watch the telly they want one thing: to be entertained. Perhaps to be enlightened. (And if it’s the latter, they still want to be enlightened in an entertaining way.)
So on Gogglebox we get to see regular, ordinary people reacting to telly in a natural, spontaneous manner. They use ordinary, everyday language. They’re watching fairly closely but they talk during the programmes and miss bits.
Just like we all do.
They see straight through anything that’s pretentious. They mock the self-consciously arty. They recognise lame humour and feeble attempts to ‘get down with the kids’.
So if this is how they react to the programmes that they watch voluntarily, how do you think they react to the ads attempting to interrupt their entertainment?
They hate them. They fast forward them if they can. They go and make a cuppa. They go back to their phone and catch up on Instagram for a couple of minutes.
Thirdly, I like Gogglebox because it shows what an utter pile of tosh the average client and agency briefing document is when it comes to talking about a target audience.
On Gogglebox we see people of all ages, classes and colours reacting in ways that are inconceivable to the average agency planning department.
The people in their 20s aren’t ‘Millennials’ (see my previous post). They’re regular people with regular jobs and regular concerns. And smelly dogs.
The people in their 50s and 60s aren’t grey-haired silver-surfers, smiling and riding motorbikes. They’re overweight, they wear jogging pants, they’re smart, cynical and swear like troopers.
The Gogglebox crew bear no relation to the cardboard cutout cliche characters that appear on every brief. And despite their differences in age, class, race and sexual orientation, they all broadly share exactly the same points of view on the programmes they’re asked to watch.
In other words, despite what planners will tell us over and over over again, the fact is most people are pretty much the same.
(This is something that those of us from the direct marketing world have recognised for 50 or 60 years. We tend to sell the product on its benefits instead of tying ourselves in knots about what newspaper our potential customer might read. It seems to work.)
All of which is why people in advertising and marketing should be dragged away from thinking about Apps, strapped to their Eames chairs, and be forced to watch Gogglebox.
Every single week.