Tracking a difficult target

The 18-to-34 demo is increasingly tough to catch, particularly those of the female persuasion. With so many vehicles in which to advertise - from television to the Web - cutting through the clutter becomes ever more important.

The 18-to-34 demo is increasingly tough to catch, particularly those of the female persuasion. With so many vehicles in which to advertise – from television to the Web – cutting through the clutter becomes ever more important. ‘They’re a difficult target,’ stresses Mariam Hoosen, VP, print investment director at Toronto’s Starcom Worldwide, ‘they’re more selective in terms of media consumption.’ To help out, Strategy MEDIA has compiled some suggestions in the way of magazines, specialty channels and Web sites that effectively reach Canadian women. By no means the definitive list – since rankings can be viewed in several ways, and readership and viewership numbers can change at the drop of a hat – these vehicles are simply efficient means for reaching young Canadian women.


While there’s a magazine out there for every topic imaginable, women can be a fickle lot when choosing their preferred content.

‘The magazine medium is unique – it looks like a mass vehicle, but it attracts readers based on what they’re offering,’ says Starcom’s Hoosen. Advertising through magazines is also not as immediate as television, she adds. ‘It takes a little bit longer for people to remember seeing the ad, since it takes about a week to go through [the magazine].’

The following top three magazines are ranked based on total absolute reach (i.e. highest readership against the target of women 18 to 34). The data was provided from the Print Measurement Bureau’s 2002 Two-Year Readership Study.

Reader’s Digest (English & French)

Publisher: The Reader’s Digest Association (Canada)

Readership (women 18 to 34 only): 1,055,000

Description: Editorial includes stories about real people, world issues, events and advice.


Chatelaine (English & French)

Publisher: Rogers Media

Readership (women 18 to 34 only): 1,002,000

Readership Profile: 47.2% of Chatelaine readers have a post-secondary education; 1 in 4 have a household income of $75,000+; almost half of readers have children under 18 living at home

Description: Editorial focuses on women’s health, cooking, fashion, beauty and decorating.

Spin-offs: (see Web sites section)

Major advertisers: L’Oréal, Parmalat

Canadian Living/Coup de Pouce

Publisher: Transcontinental

Readership (women 18 to 34 only): 809,000

Description: Editorial includes practical advice on women’s health, food, style and family.

Spin-offs:;, Canadian Living Television

Major advertisers: L’Oréal, Clairol, Sears, Kodak

Specialty television

Theresa Treutler, SVP/broadcast investment director for Starcom Worldwide, says it’s important to consider an individual brand’s target when choosing a network on which to advertise. ‘Sometimes a network doesn’t rank top five, but it has a very strong relevance to its target group.’

Dennis Dinga, VP/director of broadcast buying at M2 Universal, adds that when targeting women 18 to 34, he looks at channel rankings along with audiences for the best-rated programs. The downside of specialties, he says, is that most are national in nature, and therefore one spot would have to run across the country. ‘But these are female-skewed stations, and they’re relatively cheap compared to conventional television. They’re flexible in terms of doing additional branding, such as billboards, features and sponsorships.’

The stations are ranked according to greatest percentage of viewers who are women 18 to 34 versus total audience. The data is from Nielsen Media Research, the period measured is Sept. 2 to Oct. 27, 2002.


Owner: CHUM Ltd.

% of audience in 18-34 female target: 34%

Average minute audience (women 18-34): 6,000

Spin-offs:, MuchMoreMusic, MuchVibe, MuchLOUD

Description: 24-hour specialty music channel

Major advertisers: Record labels, movie distributors, confectionery products


Owner: CHUM Ltd.

% of audience in target: 24%

Average minute audience (women 18-34): 3,000


Description: 24-hour specialty classic and contemporary music channel

Major advertisers: Record labels, movie distributors, personal care products


Owners: Family Channel (40%), YTV (20%) Nelvana (20%)

and Cinar (20%)

% of audience in target: 22%

Average minute audience (women 18-34): 5,000


Description: A 24-hour animation channel

Major advertisers: Kraft, Minute Maid

Web sites

The Internet is constantly evolving, and the same is true where advertising is concerned, particularly to women.

Peter Vaz, VP general manager of M2 Universal Online in Toronto, says choosing a Web site usually comes down to the actual product in question. From there, Vaz determines what sort of dialogue is available between the Web site and the consumer, and looks at the so-called ‘stickiness’ of a site.

Beyond the top-ranked sites with regard to composition and/or unique visitors, Vaz also considers high overall reach sites such as MSN and Yahoo, and specifically targets areas with content related to women, such as family or health matters.

According to comScore Media Metrix Canada, the following were the top community Web sites, by unique monthly visitor, for Canadian women 18 to 34 in July 2002.

Owner: BabyCenter L.L.C. (San Francisco, U.S.)

Unique monthly visitors (women 18 to 34): 115,000

Description: An information site for parents of children ages two to eight.


Partners: Johnson & Johnson; Nestlé Carnation; McNeil Consumer Specialty & Pharmaceuticals

Owner: Rogers Media

Unique monthly visitors (women 18 to 34): 113,000

Description: Modeled after the magazine of the same name – includes features and advice for women on money, travel, fashion and home.

Major Advertisers: Parmalat, Volkswagen

Owner: iVillage Inc. (New York, U.S.)

Unique monthly visitors (women 18 to 34): 112,000

Description: Offers information for women on various topics from diet and fitness to shopping and astrology.

Partners: Clairol, eDiets, imaternity,,