Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Average American – Knowing Your Audience

Pitching news to the average American in an engaging way is a skill that all PR specialists have been perfecting for years. The underlying question that begs to be asked is; do we really know who the average American is? An article from the Los Angeles Times titled “In Search of the Average American” by Breanna Maloney explores this question and offers us a few new and entertaining statistics on the average American.

Did you know…

  • The average American can name all Three Stooges but not all three branches of the federal government.
  • The average American lives within three miles of a McDonalds
  • The average American believes nature is sacred or spiritual but spends 95% of his time indoors.
  • Sixty percent of Americans eat peanut butter at least once a week, and the average American eats three pounds of it a year.

These indiscriminate statistics, among others, were all compiled by author Kevin O’Keefe in his most recent book The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen. For his research, O’Keefe criss-crossed the country for more than two years and knocked down “many of the myths about Americans.”

For example, “We have this image that the average American is lacking in smarts,” O’Keefe says, “but in this country, the average IQ scores have increased three points per decade since nationwide IQ testing began in the 1920s.” Additionally, he disproves the age old assumption of the average American as someone who lives on a farm in Middle America. “The last time that most Americans lived in rural areas was about 100 years ago. Most average Americans live in metropolitan areas,” says O’Keefe.

Kevin O’Keefe initially held high-profile jobs in the sports and entertainment industries, designing countless national marketing and public relations campaigns to reach the average American. More of O’Keefe’s notable research and findings are in the article, In search of the average American.

We found O’Keefe’s research on the average American interesting as it is so very important for all firms and businesses to target and intimately know their audiences.

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