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Mass media is often designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences. There is usually a desire for profit present, and so most purveyors of media (newspaper publishers, television producers, etc.) have an interest in reaching many viewers/readers and to expose them to advertisers. In order to reach audiences, one approach is to target people of specific categories or demographics (which refers to information advertisers use to increase sales, by appealing to qualities these groups share), and one way to do this is to portray stereotypes that can be widely recognized. These stereotypes can be based upon race, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, age or other factors. For example, a television commercial might portray a middle-aged couple from New York City on vacation in Maine, wondering why they can't get organic free trade coffee at the local coffee shop: the stereotype is that urban New Yorkers expect to have access to the goods they're used to. Modes of dress, ways of speaking, word choices and other cues can also give hints of specific demographics.
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