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Busting up stereotypes - Ensuring your message suits a wide audience

Recently, my better half and I opted to stream The Last Blockbuster on Netflix.

You know, because we are interested in pop culture, business stories, documentaries, and irony.

I mean, it is a documentary about a chain that was pretty much rendered irrelevant by the medium we were using to view it.

The title says it all.

It is a look at the last surviving Blockbuster retail outlet, but it is also a nostalgia fest, in which several filmmakers, comedians, actors, and patrons share their memories of a time when movies were something you rented because you missed them in the theaters, couldn't afford to buy your own copy, or did not have HBO.

I don't think we made it through a half hour before we moved on to something else.


I could say it wasn't particularly insightful, but the big problem that we had with it, my better half in particular, came down to one very peevish thing.

The documentary was content to hold up certain stereotypes about filmmakers and movie geekery, specifically that these are the domains of white males.

All but two of the talking heads fit that stereotype.

And one of the two who didn't, Sandi Harding, who is general manager of the last Blockbuster, was referred to as a mother to her employees.

So, more stereotyping.

You're probably wondering what this has to do with writing.

Here's the thing: when you are creating content that is intended to engage a wide audience, you have to consider whether segments of that audience will struggle to see themselves in your messaging.

If you uphold certain stereotypes related to your product, your service, or your initiative in the way that The Last Blockbuster does, some of your audience won't find your content compelling, or relatable.

If anything, they may find it offensive, because you are either marginalizing some of your audience by not being inclusive or you are depicting them in a light that they find restrictive or problematic.

Obviously, not all content is for all audiences, but the kind of error committed by the creatives behind The Last Blockbuster is one that limits its reach and its appeal.

So keep that in mind when you are crafting your content.

Otherwise the message you want to get across might go the way of the dinosaur.

Or a video rental chain.


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