Targeted Online Advertising Means Products Can Be Hidden From All but a Select Demographic

Who else just learned about the Wunderbrow today?

Screenshot from Wunder2 on YouTube.

My makeup routine includes a full kit of primer, highlighter, blusher, etc. etc. etc. that comes out on certain days, and two smaller items that come out every day: tinted lip gloss and a tinted eyebrow pencil.

The lip gloss is to give my face a little bit of color. The eyebrow pencil is to pretend that my mouse-brown eyebrows are actually the same color as my red-gold hair.

So I put on my lip gloss and I quickly wisp some color onto my eyebrow hairs—because you’re not drawing on the skin, you’re drawing on the hairs, this is how it doesn’t look weird—and then I’m done.

But, as I found out today, I could have been using the Wunderbrow.

Why Your Mom Knew About the Internet’s Most Viral Eyebrow Product Before You Did

Wunderbrow—which is pronounced “wonder brow,” not “vooooonderbraw”—is a $22 eyebrow enhancer that creates a very defined, very dramatic brow.

It has also been marketed to a very defined audience:

The thing about the eyebrow category that [Wunderbrow founder Michael Malinsky] noticed right away was that it had a potentially broad demographic of buyers — from women in their 50s and 60s, who had plucked off all their brows in the ’90s, right down to 18-year-olds who want to look like Cara Delevingne or their favorite Instagram makeup guru. But instead of branding it millennial pink and going hard on Instagram after young consumers, the way a lot of new indie beauty brands do, Wunderbrow went after the former group.

If you are also just learning about Wunderbrow today, this is because the product was never meant to reach your eyes. (Or, technically, your eyebrows.)

As Racked’s Cheryl Wischhover explains, the company decided to promote the product using Facebook advertising targeted at a specific demographic—which just happens to be a demographic that’s more likely to purchase something they see in a Facebook ad.

“We were able to direct more sales to the 35-to-60 age segment because that segment is a little more…” Malinsky pauses to choose his words carefully. “They more easily respond to direct advertising, whereas the younger consumer is extremely biased to word-of-mouth, recommendations, and a more native approach to discovering new products. For the purpose of our very initial growth, we were able to target the 35-plus category a little bit more.”

Wunderbrow’s advertising strategy has expanded, in the way an eyebrow expands when you use Wunderbrow’s applicator to add “hair-like fibers,” but they’re also spending $80,000 per day on Facebook advertising.

Which brings me to the point of all this. Advertisers have always worked to target specific demographics; there’s nothing new about that idea. What is new is the idea that a product could be made visible to some people and nearly invisible to others. Everyone gets their own custom-designed internet experience these days, whether we want it or not—and that has implications far beyond eyebrow enhancement tools.

The Wunderbrow, meanwhile, has decided to go mainstream. They’ve expanded their Facebook advertising to include other demographics. They’re placing products in CVS, where anyone who enters the store might be able to discover them. Will all of this expansion make Wunderbrow less cool, the same way Facebook became less cool when everybody could use it? Or will Wunderbrow make even more money now that more people have the opportunity to apply “hair-like fibers” to our eyebrows?

And—more importantly—what other products are being virtually hidden (PUN INTENDED) from a majority of people?

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