What we mean by ‘Hee Haw demographic’

Since we deployed the phrase “Hee Haw demographic” a while back without much elucidation, we’d like to more fully explain what we mean by the phrase: We are not referring to a type of people or a location where they live, but, rather, a practice performed by U.S. television networks in the early 1970s to shift from targeting for generic volume to targeting those with the more disposable income.

At that time, TV networks and advertisers realized that success wasn’t necessarily about the size of a show’s audience but rather the size of their target demographics within the audience. Specifically, they wanted to target the giant Baby Boomer market and they wanted to make them their customers for decades to follow.

Hee Haw was simply one of the many TV shows that was cancelled from network TV during what is known as the “Rural Purge.” In fact, these shows were popular in urban areas, too, but, the shows were broad brush programming, not focused targeting. For our purposes, the “Rural Purge” moniker is especially misleading. The TV shows that were cancelled generally contained “rural” themes (Green Acres, Hee Haw, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., etc., but not all: The Lawrence Welk Show was also among the shows cancelled in the “Rural Purge”), but the point is that we’re not referring to “rural” vs. “urban” when we use “Hee Haw demographic,” we are referring specifically to targeting for volume (Android, Windows PCs) versus targeting those with the more disposable income (OS X, Mac, iOS, iPhone, iPad).

Apple targets high-value consumers. Apple separates the wheat from the chaff with their value proposition. Android phone assemblers generally do not target high-value consumers (they target price-conscious customers with endless BOGOF promos) and when they do go after the high-end, they simply do not compete well against iPhone.

Apple customers are the wheat. The “Hee Haw demographic,” for whatever reason, failed to make the cut; they are the chaff.

We’ll link our use of “Hee Haw demographic” to this article going forward.

Related articles:
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IDC data shows two thirds of Android’s 81% smartphone share are cheap junk phones – November 13, 2013
IDC: Android worldwide smartphone market share passes 80% – November 12, 2013
Apple Maps makes killer comeback as Google Maps loses access to world’s most desirable mobile customers – November 12, 2013
Android phones 3 times more likely than Apple iPhones to have been bought at discount store – August 22, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor – June 20, 2013
Apple’s iPhone generates more in carrier fees than rival smartphones – January 30, 2013
Unsurprisingly, survey says Apple’s iOS is highest priority among mobile developers – January 23, 2013
People buy more Android phone units and do less with them vs. Apple’s revolutionary iPhone – November 14, 2012
Study: iPad users more likely to buy – and buy more – online than traditional PC users – September 29, 2011
iPhone users smarter, richer than Android phone users – August 16, 2011
Yankee Group: Apple iPhone owners shop more, buy more, remain more loyal vs. other device users – July 20, 2010
iPhone owners more likely to pay for digital content – November 26, 2009
Study: Apple iPhone users richer, younger, more productive than other so-called ‘smartphone’ users – June 12, 2009
Apple iPhone users buy many more apps, surf the Web much more than other ‘smartphone’ users – March 27, 2009

75 Comments

    1. He uses a black rotary phone, I recall.

      If you do a google image search (sorry) ‘gomer and phone’ the third image is that of an iPhone. Go figure.

      The difficulty with using the “Hee Haw demographic” term is that there are lot of people who identify with the phrase on a basic level (the rather sophisticated explanation above notwithstanding) who vary quite a bit in education, income, lifestyles, and interests, and have iPhones. Some of us are therefore confused by the application of the phrase to those would not have iPhones.

      1. If you follow the link you’ll see the image is used in an article called “the Wisdom of Gomer” and is about how some businesses have been working with “Shazam”, thus the reason for the title. So the picture isn’t about an iPhone (or Gomer Pyle for that matter) , but about the app running on the screen of the iPhone displaying how one company is doing this.

        Another example of where a search engine can’t handle anything more than simple logic …

        1. @GTDworak:

          Wow. You must be the most hate-filled individual on the planet. And all because you don’t like someone else’s politics, religion, or geographic location? You have my deepest pity.

          When you do leave the planet, the world will be a better place because you are no longer in it. That’s not being mean; it’s simply a truthful statement of fact.

        2. To me, you come across as wanting to give the perception of being of higher education, but you obviously missed the POINT of an education!

          Me – I am from the south right smack in the middle of your heehaw demographic with a masters degree, bi-lingual (asian language and can read and write as well as speak professionally in the second language. What does your non-heehaw education do for you, except make you look like an dunce? I am very conservative but spend considerable time volunteering and helping at a clothing and feeding center assisting those in generational poverty, and in addition, mentor those without role models. What do you do to help society except rant hate for those not like you on the political scale?

          Shame on you!

  1. Instead of linking back to this article, why don’t you try the simpler approach of ending your use of an offensive catch-phrase that only you seem to have understood to begin with?

    1. How about if you don’t like their phrasing find your apple news on another sight. There is plenty. I think it’s a perfect term and enjoy this websites commentary because their are frank and fall left of PC.

      1. You misunderstand. I grew up in central Florida in the 70’s and 80’s–pretty much the whole period of hee how’s syndication–and upon adulthood happily moved to put a thousand miles between myself and every shit kicking country redneck idiot that ever sat through a full episode of the thing.

        That MDN was appearing to insult cousin-marrying countrified contingent bothers me not in the least.

        At the same time, this site regularly trolls for the political party that, according to all recent polling, relies heavily on exactly that inbred bunch of hill dwellers for core of its support.

        So it isn’t hard to believe that the dozens if Limbaugh/Apple fans come here and wonder why they are being insulted.

        1. Opj,

          I was not previously aware that the Republican party relies on inbred hillbillies, so thank you for that info. Also, thank you for your obvious lack of bigotry. I’m glad you’re not sanctimonious.

          As for those inbred hillbillies, I seem to at least remember that they weren’t altogether fired up about voting for Obamacare. And as we now see, boy were they wrong.

          Whereas it is obvious that all of the good and smart people who DID vote for Obamacare really knew what they were signing off on.

          I wish this country had more smart liberals. Not only are they very very smart, but they are good people, too. The most tolerant people you’ll ever come across, in fact.

          Yay for Obamacare.

    2. It was pretty easy to understand for this Midwesterner. Hee Haw demographic – people who buy a bunch of cheap crap for everything, even the important stuff like a good pair of shoes.

    3. And what phrase would you suggest MDN use?

      In today’s multi-ethnic, sexual orientation, religious belief, etc., splintered society there isn’t a word/phrase that doesn’t “offend” someone. The politically correct police have ensured that, except when the user of such “offensive” word/s are the group/s allegedly “offended”. Ever wonder how Exxon got its name? They could not find a single language, anywhere in the world that used a double “x” in a word. In other words they made up a complete nonsensical word for the Company’s name. That is where language is headed with all this nonsense about words that “offend”.

      Controlling the words we use is just another way (albeit more subtle) for one group to control another. Read George Orwell’s “1984” (not required in public schools anymore. What a shame.).

      1. There are plenty of phrases/words that do not offend the majority of the country (most folks are “chaff”). This has nothing to do with political correctness. It has everything to do with bigotry and making hasty generalizations.
        Words, you might or might not know, are made up. They are often derived from past language, but those, too, are made up. “Hee-Haw” is a made-up word. Ever use it in everyday language? Didn’t think so. Nonsensical, indeed.
        The Orwellian distinction here is ridiculous. Nobody is making anyone do anything. Criticism about how a blog uses language from free-thinking people, no gov’t involved is far from Orwellian. Perhaps you should read 1984 again.

      2. There are plenty of phrases/words that do not offend the majority of the country (most folks are “chaff”). This has nothing to do with political correctness. It has everything to do with bigotry and making hasty generalizations.
        Words, you might or might not know, are made up. They are often derived from past language, but those, too, are made up. “Hee-Haw” is a made-up word. Ever use it in everyday language? Didn’t think so. Nonsensical, indeed.
        The Orwellian distinction here is ridiculous. Nobody is making anyone do anything. Criticism about how a blog uses language from free-thinking people, no gov’t involved is far from Orwellian. Perhaps you should read 1984 again.

  2. Although I like the explanation, why you decided to elaborate now, suggests maybe you were getting tired of the misinterpretation complaints.

    I remember Hee-Haw on the tube, in close proximity to the Lawrence Welk Show. I mean, when you are 4 or 5 years old, you wished Emergency! would come on instead.

    1. “Why you decided to elaborate now, suggests maybe you were getting tired of the misinterpretation complaints.”

      No shit, Sherlock. Not too bright, are you? How do you like your Android phone?

  3. Thanks for the clarification. Some people here are just so passionate with where they live, and are offended when terms like “Ghetto” or “Hee Haw” are used to refer to their living arrangements. I grew up in a small town, and I plan on living in a city later on, but I still think both areas have their pros, and cons.

    1. I think of Green Acres as a comedy classic with good writers, well-developed characters and an unusually good cast (from Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor to Arnold). Definitely better than the vast majority of sit-coms. Tell me there’s a rerun and I’ll watch it on my iPad Air or Apple TV. 🙂

    1. Looks like you are trying out for the “Hipster” demographic. Some great bands for you include Autechre, Bon Iver, The Aphex Twin, and Sufjan Stevens. All of their posters would look great in your Williamsburg apartment.

  4. Dear MDN:

    Unfortunately, while you meant no insult to any particular person, the inescapable conclusion is that this phrase characterizes a definition of a societal Class, even in the supposedly class-averse United States. ‘Hee-Haw Demographic’ means Poor People. This is especially telling of the state of things in the US today.

  5. Anyone who claims not to understand this concept is either an idiot or is too hell bend on political correctness political to ever understand. This has nothing to do with whether you or anyone else not you is a special snowflake, so relax.

  6. I see. So it sounds like a belittling term for rural people, and the term has some historical ties with TV programming targeting rural people. But the way you use it, rural people shouldn’t be offended because it’s just a disparaging term for poor people in general. Got it.

    1. Lol. This is pretty spot on, but I don’t think MDN should have to be sensitive for the sake of being sensitive. Indeed, we are talking about an entire class of people in the HH demographic (many who are poor, many who are simply tasteless), but this is capitalism and targeting the right demographic is important.

      Apple’s products are premium but not to the point that they are unaffordable. They make reliable products that last for years and maintain their value.

      Those that can’t or won’t appreciate this should have a name that we can identify. “Bumpkin”, “Bottom-rung”, even “Poor” are worse identifiers, IMO. It is the opinion of this blog and many of its participants that people who don’t believe in Apple should have an identifiable name. You know, like all of the bottom-chucked cheerleaders that said Apple should sell things at a loss and dilute it’s brand.

      1. chuckers*

        Like BBall players who make terrible shot selection, there are people out there who will say anything negative about Apple (no matter how poorly founded or illogical) to see what sticks.

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