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#13 - People aged 46 to 55 spend more money per capita than

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Good evening,

Can someone please walk me through an analysis of this question and how D is the correct answer? I quickly eliminated A, B, and C, and chose E instead of D even though I didn't like that answer choice either. I don't see how D does anything to resolve the issue in the stimulus.


Clay Cooper
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Hi ubrjames,

Thanks for your question.

First, let's identify the paradox here. What is it? That the group of people advertisers target most (people 18-25) is not the group that spends the most money.

Why might that be? Well, what if it were the case that it was illegal, and punishable by death, for anyone who is not between 18 and 25 years old to watch television? That might explain why advertisers target their ads at this group; no one else, in that scenario, is even going to see the ads.

Answer choice D explains the paradox in a related (though less extreme and more realistic) way, by suggesting that advertisers believe only this group is very susceptible to advertising. So, as far as advertisers are concerned, you're never really going to be able to change someone's mind about what to buy after age 25; why not, then, target ads at those 18-25 years old?

That's how answer choice D explains the paradox. Does that help?
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I chose (D), but spent considerable time thinking about why (A) is incorrect before just moving to the next question. In (A), companies target the people who are most likely to purchase their products. If they are targeting the 25 and younger bracket in their advertisements because that group is the likely customer, then that would explain their behavior, and still allow for the fact that the 46 - 55 age group spends the most per capita. They may just not be the target customer of the companies that are advertising on TV?

Thank you.
Francis O'Rourke
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Choice (A) would only deepen the paradox. If older people spend more money, and - a la choice (A) - it is crucially important for companies to target the most likely consumers, then why would companies not target this older group? After all, they spend more money and that is the only difference between these groups that we know about.

You wrote in your post choice (A) would make sense "because that group is the likely customer," but in reality choice (A) does not tell us any information about which group is the more likely customer. You are assuming extra information to make choice (A) resolve the paradox.

While Choice (A) only tells us that it is important to get the decision right, it does not provide us any rationale for choosing the younger group to focus advertisements on. Choice (D) however tells us that it is pointless to target the older group, which would give us a direct reason for targeting the younger group.
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Thank you. I guess I understand, but still struggle somewhat with that reasoning. The stem asks us to assume the answer choices are true, and answer choice (A) tells us the the companies are targeting people who are most likely to purchase their products. If that is true, then it is not introducing outside information to conclude that the 25 & under group is the most likely customer. Or what am I missing? If they are the most likely customer, as (A) suggests, then why doesn't that explain the decision to focus on this group of people - regardless of whether the 46-55 group spends more per capita generally?
Alexandra Ruby
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Hi SGD2114,

Although answer choice (A) states that the ads are tageted towards those who are "most likely to purchase products," the stimulus does not give any information that those aged 25 and under are a part of this group. Rather, the stimulus provides information that those aged 46-55 are more likely to be likely to purchase products. So it would require one to assume that answer choice (A) is referring to the 25 and under group.

But even if you take answer choice (A) to mean those aged 25 and under, this answer choice does not explain the other part of the paradox i.e. why advertisers do not target those older than 25. It would only explain why they target the under 25 group. And, again, if you take the stimulus as true i.e. that the 46-55 group spends more money, answer choice (A) does not shed light on this side of the problem.

Answer choice (D) accounts for both sides of the puzzle. It explains why advertisers would choose to focus on those aged 25 and under and not on those over 25.

Hope this helps!
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I feel like A DOES resolve the paradox b/c if they are trying to cater to people who are most likely to purchase their products - and they focus on 25 and under ppl, they must think that their products are suitable for 25 and under ppl not 46-55 year old ppl who (even though they generally buy a lot) would not have an interest + no use for it??
Adam Tyson
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That analysis requires us to assume that the under-25 folks ARE the ones most likely to buy the products, akanshalsat. But we shouldn't be assuming anything here - we should be explaining why the advertisers made their decision. What if the old folks, the ones spending the most money, are the ones most likely to buy the products? If we assume that, then answer A doesn't resolve the paradox, but instead deepens it! Don't assume that the advertisers have made a good decision. Instead, SHOW that they have, by picking an answer that explains why their decision is correct.

Answer D does this by telling us that there is no point to focusing their ads on the older group, because nothing you do is going to change their buying habits. They will either buy your product or they will not, and the advertisement will make no difference to most of them. This tells us that focusing on the younger group makes sense, even though they spend less money, because if we can influence their buying habits now, we might increase sales now, and perhaps lock those customers in for life once they get older and their buying habits become fixed. Hook them while they're young!

Think again about answer choice A, and ask yourself why you think the younger folks are the ones most likely to buy. Why do you think the advertisers are making the right choice? You should find that whatever your reasoning is, it requires that you bring in additional outside help to the answer that isn't provided in the stimulus. That makes the answer bad, because the answer should stand or fall on its own, with no help from you.
Adam M. Tyson
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Okay why is c wrong? It would make sense advertisers were influenced by TV programmers....also, this makes more sense than D, which we are all forgetting, even if that it is the case that nobod changes their habits past 25, the ads could be directed toward re-establishing awarensss to products that are in alignment with their buying ads. You have to presume ads are definitionally meant to sell new products out of alignment with its target popluation’s typical buying habits. For instance, Toyota Prius 2009 comes out basically the same feature-wise, but now it’s Toyota Prius 2010...such is why d makes no sense to me