Building Puppets For Father’s Day - blog article by Jeremy Girard,

Building Puppets For Father’s Day

I spent the bulk of my Father’s Day weekend making puppets with my kids.

I don’t blame you if that’s not what you imagine when you think about how a Dad wants to spend their special day. Look at the promotions targeting the Father’s Day holiday and you will see ads for power tools, gifts emblazoned with Dad’s favorite sports team, or “guy’s day” style golf outings. You don’t see very many marketing campaigns with Dear Old Dad making Muppets-style hand puppets with the family.

The reality is that I had an awesome weekend playing with puppets, while all those typical Father’s Day gifts would be lost on me. I would probably just hurt myself with power tools, I am not much of a sports fan (so gear with a team logo would just end up unworn in a drawer), and outside of the “nineteenth hole”, there is nothing about a round of golf that appeals to me at all.

While those generic Father’s Day ads and offerings may not speak to me, I understand why they focus on what they do – they are playing percentages and going for the widest audience possible. This is something I am quite familiar with from my years of designing websites for clients and their audiences.

Focusing On The Majority

When you consider the audience for a website, rarely is there only one audience for that site or that company. Out of necessity, we often focus our attention on a businesses’ primary audience, doing exactly what those Father’s Day advertisers do by speaking to the majority and hoping to reach the widest audience possible with our messaging or decisions.

From a business perspective, this makes perfect sense. If the bulk of a company’s business comes from a particular audience segment, that’s where they will want to focus since that segment will likely have the biggest impact on their success. At the same time, however, you do not want to completely ignore other parts of a website’s audience simply because they are not the majority, and there can be real benefits of paying attention to those people that fall outside of “the majority.”

Considering Everyone Else

Focusing solely on a company’s primary audience or going for safe, generic messaging (which is really what most Father’s Day advertisers do) is a cheap and easy solution. It may bring some results, but you can do so much more, and find far greater success, if you consider a wider spectrum of a website’s potential audience.

Everyone is targeting the majority and there is often an ocean of messaging competing for their attention, but the audience segments outside of that majority are not being courted so aggressively. This is why, if you pay attention to these people and deliver messaging or offers that speak to them, you can find ever greater success! You will have far less competition fighting for their attention and you can create incredibly loyal customers this way. After all, if no one else is speaking to their needs, and you are, it makes sense that they would be loyal to you and your company.

Does this mean you need to target every possible edge case? No, it does not, but I will tell you that while I would never expect a company to advertise building puppets for Father’s Day (since that is the very definition of an “edge case”), if a company did kick off that campaign, they would find a captive and loyal customer in me!

Finding Balance

In the end, you must strike a balance with a design’s intended audience and how you choose to focus on different segments of that audience. Wasting time on unlikely edge cases may not make sense, but neither does neglecting users simply because they do not fit into the majority. A true balance communicates effectively with as wide and disparate an audience as possible while still considering the overall business needs (time, budget, overall goals) of that project.


The puppet pictured in this article is not the one we worked on this weekend. Unfortunately, that puppet is still under construction and was unavailable to make an appearance here. Photo credit for that image goes to Paul Vaarkamp|Flickr.

Many thanks to the wonderful Project Puppet website, which inspired my family to try our hand at puppet making this past weekend. This site is also where we purchased the patterns we are using to construct our puppet and which, I hope, will also provide us with many ideas and patterns for future puppet creations.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, including those that would prefer a golf outing to making puppets.

Published on 06.16.14

File under: Family | Holidays | Toys | Web

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