This Spring I’ve noticed a lot of subway posters for Bravo and Oxygen advertising the quality of their audience. I’ve spotted these ads, which are obviously aimed at media planners and buyers, all over the NYC subway system; not just in prime media stations like Prince St. or Rockefeller Plaza. The pictures I’ve posted above were taken at the Forest Hills/71 Ave. station in my Queens neighborhood, which to my knowledge, is not exactly a major hub of planners. Granted New York is the advertising capital of the world, but it’s a bit unusual to see posters touting high engagement and ROI occupying the same space as ads for movies, radio stations and Skechers.
I first became aware of Bravo’s “Affluencer” campaign when I saw a banner for it included in a Jack Myers newsletter, which directly targets media professionals. Soon after, the “Affluencer” ads appeared on almost every major media and marketing-related website just in time for the May upfronts. The neologistic term “affluencer” was coined by Bravo’s president, Lauren Zalaznic, to describe the network’s highly coveted audience of “affluent” and “influencial” viewers. It makes sense for Bravo and Oxygen, which are both owned by NBC, to promote their trend-setting audience, but why did the networks create such public ads for all the world to see?
I don’t think people generally like viewing themselves as rating points or pawns in a greater marketing scheme, but the Bravo and Oxygen ads seem to frame consumerism in an empowering way. Although geared towards planners and buyers, the posters also help the public identify themselves and define their media habits. Being described as “engaged” and “cable’s best audience” does wonders for a viewer’s self-esteem and serves to add a sort of creditability to their taste in television.