Media Audiences – Research Task Week 4

Advertisers rely upon particular categories to distinguish its target audience into particular groups based upon age, gender, economic status, educational background etc. The categories A, B, C1, C2, D, E are commonly used.

1. Find out what these categories stand for
2. For every ‘item’ in your Cabinet of Curiosities… which target audience category do you think they mainly target.

(i) A/Bs
(ii) C1/C2s
(iii) D/Es
(iv) B/C1/C2/D/Es

The categories A, B, C1, C2, D, E represent the Social Grade of the research group. One of the definitions of the term is:

Social Grade is a way to describe people based on the occupation of the chief income earner within a household.
source: (PDF source) UK Demographics & Lifestyle FAQs, Hitwise UK

It is a demographics profiling system often referred to as the ‘ABC1’ system. It has been developed by the NRS (National Readership Survey, NRS Ltd), a non-for-profit company funded by UK media institutions and associations.The system is also called ‘social grade definitions’, and has been used by media, publishing and advertising practitioners for classifying the target audiences.

These are the 6 social grade groups:

Social Grade Social Status Occupation
A upper middle class higher managerial, administrative or professional
B middle class intermediate managerial, administrative or professional
C1 lower middle class supervisory or clerical, junior managerial, administrative or professional
C2 skilled working class skilled manual workers
D working class semi and unskilled manual workers
E those at lowest level of subsistence state pensioners or widows (no other earner), casual or lowest grade workers


There is a very good section on the BBC Radio 4 website where you can select your occupation from a list and you can see which class you fit in. It is located on


Any thoughts?

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