Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's a cluster

So I am sitting here feeding CDs to iTunes, so I thought I would examine my prizm cluster. Don't be embarrassed; it's perfectly natural.

The PRIZM is your "Potential Rating Index for ZIP Markets." It is an acronym with an acronym in it, which can not get any more amerocratic. It is what the cads in marketing think about you, based on the aggregate behavior of people who live where you live, and the American tendency to segregate ourselves into zones of people who are "like us." Funny thing is, we define "like us" in a lot of ways, because we define ourselves in a lot of ways. So what comes out is a Rauschenberg combine of what you are "most likely" to buy. And so they market that to you, and you buy it because they market it to you, reinforcing your likelihood to buy that.

And, man, if you enjoyed looking up your birthday billboard hits, you are going to put your prizm cluster on your facebook page. In fact, someone, right now, go build a Facebook app that will do that for you.

Start Here
Enter your ZIP code. Be the last person in the world to spell that in all caps, as it was intended.
Solve the CAPTCHA puzzle (also a crazy acronym) underneath it. If the captcha presented is, in fact, your ZIP code, play that number and take the day off.

Delight in the hilarious names for your clusters.
It is like pulp fiction novels meets Fisher-Price meets L'il Debbie Snack Cakes.
Mine are pictured above (the screenshot is to prove I am not making this up):
Brite Lites, Li'l City
Country Casuals
Greenbelt Sports
Middleburg Managers

Your results will vary. Before you click for more detail, try to guess which one you are. Now, this is like trying to guess which March sister you are. We all think we are Jo, we want to be Jo, but you know we can not all be Jo. So I want to be an Up-and-Comer, but I believe by this chart, I am probably a Brite Lite. (and I'm gonna let it shine)

So let's click.

Can you read that? It actually calls me a DINK. (double-income, no kids)This entire company is having a huge laugh at our expense. So it says... under 55, college educated, homeowner, no kids, white. 5 for 5. Except for the double-income, so technically, I am a SINK.

I am in Midlife Success, says my cluster, defined as

"The eight segments in Midlife Success typically are filled with childless singles and couples in their thirties and forties. The wealthiest of the Younger Years class, this group is home to many white, college-educated residents who make six-figure incomes at executive and professional jobs but also extends to more middle class segments. Most of these segments are found in suburban and exurban communities, and consumers here are big fans of the latest technology, financial products, aerobic exercise and travel."

Are you laughing at "aerobics," or could you not get past "6-figure income"?

Now, here is where you face the music. What does marketing think you are "most likely" to do?
Be confident in who you are. Take a deep breath. and scroll.

1) Go to college sporting events. Not really. Maybe I would sport the mascot hat if my college had a mascot. But it doesn't.

2) Eat at Bennigan's. damn, Claritas, that hurts. why you gotta be like that? Cause I go to The Old Timer?

3) Macworld magazine. never.

4) Independent Film Channel. Ok. Yes.

5) Volkswagen Passet. Once again, I am revealed to be a gay man. Joke's on you, Claritas, because I drive the

Out of curiosity (and a general miff-ed-ness) I had to see what the Up and Comers were all about. Perhaps if I squint, I could see myself as one of them.

They are very much like me, with less money. They are me in the 90s, with a few major differences.
1) Go in-line skating - no, that's just my thighs
2) Blind Date TV - not even with irony
3) Maxim magazine - I am still a man, but now a lonely straight man on Memorial Drive
4) Travel to the South Pacific in the past 3 years (frighteningly random and can only be to obtain sex workers through some sort of Thai Blind Date TV).

I am no up and comer. My next step, as evidenced by my neighborhood, is Middleburg Managers, and golden years full of .......

I wonder if my Realtor is still up.


  1. FYI - Bennigan's has filed Chapter 11.

  2. Wow! My ZIP is American Dreams, Bohemian Mix, Money & Brains, Urban Achievers and Young Digerati. Evidently my social group is Urban Uptown, I shop at Nordstrom (okay...a couple of times), I eat at California Pizza Kitchen (I have, but maybe three times total), I read the Sunday paper (BINGO!), I watch Wall Street Week tv (not so much) and I drive a Mercedes Benz E Class (actually, a Prius). Very funny! Thanks!


Comments Build Community! We thank you for yours. Spam comments are not welcome and will not be posted.