At the movies, they show 20 minutes of trailers and advertisements before the movie begins.

Most of the time, the ads are for movies that are similar to the movie you’re there to see. If you’re there to see a comedy, most of the ads will be for other comedies coming out soon. If you’re there to see an adult drama, you’ll see ads for luxury cars and adult dramas. If you’re at a kids’ movie, you’ll see ads for minivans and other kids’ movies.

Of course, there are ads for the concessions stand, featuring delicious-looking popcorn, candy, and gigantic carbonated beverages.

This isn’t coincidental.

Amazon and Zappos have applied this technique to the online world. On a product page, they’ll say, “If you like this, you’ll also like this other thing.” Most of the time, they’re right.

This is along the lines of using the right tools: you have to be where your audience is, or they’ll never see you.

You’ll never see ads for Clearasil in the AARP magazine.

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