A mile in their shoes

There is a BBC sitcom called Mrs Brown’s Boys. And the first thing you should know about it is it is very popular. It ran for 3 series from 2011 to 2013 and since then they’ve put out specials every year. Although the latest ratings were lower than previously, the team behind it recently signed to keep creating specials until 2026. Episodes have attracted audiences over 11 million people in the UK – a lot in these choice-filled times.

The other thing you should know about Mrs Brown’s Boys is… most critics think it’s terrible. And not just critics. I don’t know anyone who likes it or watches it. And out of the people I follow on various social media platforms who have seen it – they think it’s terrible and don’t know anyone who watches it or likes it.

Trying to find someone who likes Mrs Brown’s Boys is like trying to find someone who will admit to enjoying vegan cheese. If someone said to me, “tell me the appeal of Mrs Brown’s Boys,” I would shrug, suggest they looked “over there” in some vaguely indicated direction, and slink away quietly.

But it has appeal. Lots of it. Clearly not to the people I like to bump up against in a slightly awkward way, but to a different group of people. A segment. The “Mrs Brown’s Boys” segment – who also enjoy some of other terrible TV I don’t watch and have opinions that don’t align with mine or my bubble-tea-loving-bubble at all.

Being a good marketer means understanding the audience for something, even if that audience isn’t like you at all.


“Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Because then you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have his shoes.”

Might be Jack Handey, Johnny Carson, Billy Connolly or Steve Martin, according to the internet

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