Are you a YUB?

by MaxPower

If marketers could pick a demographic to advertise to, I suspect many of them would choose the young urban (YUB) male, age 18 – 34. Or female if you prefer, I am a male, but that’s not to say young urban females, age 18 – 34 are any less attractive to marketers– most likely more so. YUBs are a tricky bunch to get a read on, they like beer, gadgets and computer or Xbox games. Their TV entertainment choices include The Simpson’s and Family Guy as well as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Chappelle’s Show. They are early adopters of technology whether that is iPods, digital photography or the latest cells. They have (usually) a fair amount of disposable income. These are not shocking revelations, an “intro to marketing class” or even common sense would tell you this. However, their tastes, especially in the mid to upper age range, lets say 24+, are constantly being refined.

A nice Shiraz and a meal at the new pan-Asian fusion restaurant down the street starts to, on occasion, sound better than beer and nachos at the pub. Discussion slowly turns from what is the newest piece of electronics to interest rate trends and the condo market. University pursuits drift away into a backdrop of work and travel. Household cleaning now seems to occur with more frequency. Gone is the once-a-year whirlwind when the landlord or a set of parents were going to come over to check the place out. A clean house is something that the mid- to upper-age range of the YUBs enjoy as a source of pride.

HoooooooverIt happened slowly. I, personally, felt an urge to clean my place with a greater frequency, not only for visitors and relatives, but for myself. A (maybe) once every three month cleaning extravaganza turned into a once a week three hour clean. I found that it was easier to clean everything when there wasn’t four months of dirt piled up. Imagine that. And that’s when it happened. Vacuum cleaners, those appliances symbolic of the life of domesticity, came into their own. Not only does the YUB aversion to those symbols become less relevant with time, but marketers know this and have strategically placed vacuum cleaners to specifically target YUBs. My first “bought” vacuum was a plain black Dirt Devil, the cheapest on the market. Before that, I, like many YUBs had relied on hand-me-down vacuums from parents, relatives and roommates. These vacuums were memorable only in their incredible capacity to have lost all sucking power yet gained the unique ability to spray the dirt all over the room. Vacuums, up to that point, were something that YUBs needed, but didn’t want, sort of like a toaster. It used bags, had minimal attachments, and absolutely no atheistic qualities whatsoever. When the motor broke on that three year old Dirt Devil vacuum, it was a watershed moment. No longer was I going to purchase the cheapest vacuum on the market, I wanted one that would work and work well. I wanted to liberate myself from bags and go bagless. It was a revolution.

There I was, in Canadian Tire, standing in the vacuum aisle staring at a silver and orange vacuum which could be described as ‘space-aged’, if only the term ‘space-aged’ wasn’t a throwback to late 60’s modernism which is now so far beyond kitsch it has its own theme park ride.

Space Age Modernism
“The Beyond Kitsch 60’s Modernist Theme Park Ride”

It was the Hoover U5262-900 Bagless Upright Vacuum, better known to marketers and YUBs as the EmPower. The name is a stroke of marketing genius, it “empowers’ you to clean your house, as well as utilizing a play on the phrase “M Power”, which is a term recognizable from the tremendously powerful M-series BMWs that YUBs lust after. It is clad in silver plastic with a tinted orange dust container and a menacing orange “headlight”. The brush is housed in a shell entitled “WidePath”. It is seemingly designed and marketed directly to YUBs, turning an ostensibly mundane activity into something more akin to a video game. The EmPower has a “Power Boost” feature which you can flick with your thumb to give you all the dirt sucking power you need to get those hard to clean areas. Utilize it at your discretion because it is a power boost and as all YUBs know, power boosts are highly sought after video game power-ups.

Well it worked on me. I bought it, brought it home and cracked it open with a feeling like this was just another high tech toy. The first spin around the house left the carpet spotless and the canister twice filled with an assortment of dust and dog hair. The marketers must know best, I’m a happy and EmPowered customer. The final revelation came when a casual discussion with a group of YUBs turned to vacuum cleaners and the surprising amount of stock these other slightly metrosexual males put into obtaining a high quality cleaning apparatus. Refined tastes indeed.

  • Are you a YUB?
  • by MaxPower
  • Published on March 1st, 2005

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