Is it just me or has everyone been seeing the pictures on Instagram, and Twitter that have various young people modeling Duran merch?
The first time I saw one, I scrolled past and didn’t think twice. It was only later on when one of my friends mentioned the “youngsters” that I thought to myself, “Yeah, that kid was pretty young, wasn’t he?”
Then later, I saw another comment. This time on DD’s Instagram page, congratulating them on the “diversity of the models.” Truthfully, I hadn’t noticed. I just made a mental note, and went on about my weekend.
Later on, I noticed a few other comments that caught my eye. Most had to do with the age of the models in the photos, as opposed to the assumed age of their fan base. These weren’t congratulatory in tone, either.
First of all, I don’t think anyone would argue that the models in the pictures are young – regardless of what kind of “link” there might be from the models to the band. Secondly, to the best of my knowledge from what I’ve noticed at the Duran shows I’ve attended, the average age of their fan base is significantly older than what is represented in those photos.
Ideally, the band wants to be relevant to a wide range of ages. We’ve written about that at length on this blog, and while I want to be fair to those, such as myself, who have been around for decades – I also get dollars and cents. The wider age range of people who like them, the more is going to get sold. It’s really that easy. On the same token, I’ve been to just shy of fifty shows now, (I know that many have been to far more, and I salute you.) and lately I have paid significant attention to the age and gender of the audience.
Their audience for their live shows is still predominantly female, although there are definitely men in attendance. That doesn’t mean there are NO men present – it means there are simply fewer. As for age, I do think it runs the gamut now that you’ve got parents taking the second (and sometimes even third) generations to see Duran Duran, but overall, in the vast majority of cases, we’re all kidding ourselves if we really believe that teenagers are beginning to take over the fan base at their shows. I can’t tell you who is quietly buying their albums and never saying a word about it online, but I know what the average Duran Duran concert-going fan looks like.
They look like me. And probably YOU, too.
So, back to those disparaging comments. There seems to be a lack of understanding of why management would choose to advertise the band’s merchandise using young people rather than people who accurately represent the age of their fan base. I get their feelings, and part of me does agree. But then, I say the same thing about ALL clothing ads. Or make-up ads. Or anything else. Everything is marketed for that beautifully golden demographic of which I am no longer part. It’s a miracle I buy anything at all, really.
I have a difficult time stomaching the idea that I’m over the age of 45 now and am being thrown out to pasture by the marketing geniuses of this world. I also can’t blame them, exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LIKE to blame someone. Really, I would. But truly, is the band doing anything wrong by having young kids wearing their band merch? I’d love to look and feel young and vibrant, wouldn’t you?
Maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s not about the demographic at all. Instead, maybe it’s the feeling we get when we go to a DD show or put on our favorite Paper Gods hoodie? Sure it’s total spin on my part, but at least it’s positive!
I’d just rather not spend the time I devote to the one thing that makes me happiest (outside of my children and dog, that is) by tearing them apart for a marketing choice. Yep, this is kind of a new thing for me. I’m not saying I’ll ignore EVERY thing they do that I don’t love, but this time – they’re getting a pass. Yeah sure, I wish they’d have real fans wearing their stuff….but maybe those kids really are. I don’t know. On the same token, I also know the overall imagery works a lot better with young, beautiful, energetic kids wearing it, like it or not. Who wants to see me, my bifocals and my 46-year old body in a hoodie? Probably no one. I get it.
The reality is, we all know who their fans are. We know who goes to the shows, listens to their music, and buys the VIP tickets. It’s not typically someone like my oldest – who occasionally swipes my vintage Wild Boys t-shirt and wears it to school. Sure, there are exceptions out there. But on average? It’s me. And you.
And you know, maybe you’re kind and invite the kids and spouse/significant other to come with you every once in a while and share your joy. And that’s cool, because that’s how this whole fan thing works…as long as they know to get the hell out of your way once the band hits the stage, right?