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It’s that time of year when the bitter mid-winter chill and moody gray skies inspire us to clock in more time on our couches than outdoors. Inevitably, this frees up some mental space for absorbing media-a few good books, some quality television, even a few blog posts. When in the “couch zone” you may feel like a sponge, soaking up the warmth of a cozy blanket along with the plot lines and characters streaming across your screen. But have you ever stopped to think that what you choose to absorb might actually say a lot about who you are as a person? Or more specifically, what type of consumer you are? Could your DVR or Tivo reveal insights into your personality?

Marketers and advertising agencies certainly think so. A recent study by psychographic ad targeter, Mindset Media, outlines their “consumption personality predictor” theory. The agency analyzed self-reported data from about 25,000 TV viewers across more than 70 TV shows to find out what personalities are attracted to what shows. The results revealed some strikingly similar personality traits among a show’s viewers. For example, if you’re a fan of AMC’s Mad Men, you’re a creative type. Love Family Guy? You’re likely to be a rule-breaker or a rebel. Are you a Gleek? According to Mindset Media, you’re very open to new experiences and are now classified as a so-called “experientialist.” (For a more in-depth analysis of personalities by TV shows click here.)

But are people’s media consumption choices clear indicators of their personality? More often than not, our personalities are unpredictable, consisting of multiple angles and hidden motivations. A person who tunes into WWEs RAW may also tune into PBS Masterpiece, resulting in a conflicted “consumption personality predictor” forecast. But a good research analyst knows that simplifying someone’s mindset is diving into dangerous territory. Still, this new psychographic predictor trend appears to be gaining momentum among advertisers who often approach the study with enough caveats to remain wary but enough fortitude to push forward. Mindset Media plans to continue analyzing consumers TV personalities in 2011, so if your favorite show was neglected (Big Love anyone?), then maybe you’ll get diagnosed next time ’round.


HBO’s witty, iconic show, Sex and the City, saw better days on the small screen before it’s second film installment received a caustic lashing from film critics nationwide. Now the single girl empire built by stilettos and Cosmopolitans is accused of being bigoted, offensive, and abysmally juvenile for it’s outlandish portrayal of Middle Eastern sexual politics and irreverent take on marriage, motherhood, and the economic recession.

But while the filmmakers-director, screenwriters, and producers- got the formula wrong, the marketing team had the recipe for empirical success. This sequel “outbrands” its predecessor through product placement on screen (think luxurious Mercedes Maybachs on parade and cameos of glittery Louboutin stilettos) and off (HBO marketing has created bra styles for each of the four characters, cocktail glasses, and a “Carrie” necklace).

From a marketing perspective, the former cable series’ transformation into a big-budget franchise is like hitting pay dirt. American women who are sipping on the hype of sisterhood and “labels or love” will flock to the screen and then to retailers to open their wallets for Sex and the City approved (and applauded) bling. Still, some true blue fans are getting frustrated with the series market expansion, condemning it’s capitalistic embrace. Time will tell whether fans are “Carried” away with the sequel’s product placement or eternally turned off.

Last week, the curators of weird, web ephemera at Urlesque counted down the 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos and did so without a hint of irony. It was my first encounter with a website expressing nostalgia for pop culture media that is only meant to be consumed online.

The first question I asked was, is this possible? Can you feel nostalgic about “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” (which came in at number 25 on the list) or any other video that was experienced for two minutes, shared with a few friends, and promptly forgotten a few weeks later?

This is the problem with much of the pop culture media content that is meant to be consumed online – the conversation evolves faster than most people’s ability to keep informed. If you don’t get the joke, you don’t risk being misinformed for more than a few days. Everyone will have moved on by then.

But let’s say I were to encounter someone playing “Counting Blue Cars” by ’90s one hit wonders Dishwalla. I didn’t particularly like that album or the band, but I still feel as though I experienced it in a way that is far more meaningful than any internet video. It makes me think of a particular time and place in my life when that song seemed vitally important to popular culture even though I had no attachment to the song and probably actively told people how much I disliked it.

This is what is perhaps lost in the clamor for realtime information. Shouldn’t the goal for anyone that works with the web – whether it is a company establishing an online presence, web designers, or everyday bloggers – be creating meaningful, memorable content rather than quick laughs?

I expect there will be a time when we are nostalgic about Internet content, and someone (perhaps Kevin Smith) will one day host Remember the Oughts, where we can collectively laugh and sigh at the good old days of “Star Wars Kid” or the “Diet Coke and Mentos Explosion,” but it seems far off.