I was reading an article and could not make sense of what author means by the following:

So let's see. Right now, when people think of Malaysia Airlines, what do they think about? Probably the fact that they're missing an airplane full of human beings and nobody knows what happened. OK, great. So how can we use that to our advantage?

Malaysia Airlines could target the huge market and untapped demo of missing persons, and also get bonus wordplay points, with the addition of “International” to its company name.

What does the author mean by "untapped demo of missing persons" in this context ?

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    I think demo is being used as a jargon abbreviation for demographic – Jim Nov 3 '15 at 15:45
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    Whoever wrote this, he has a serious problem with English. Furthermore, he doesn't have any respect for those who were killed in the accident. – user140086 Nov 3 '15 at 15:52
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    It's hard to think of anything else 'demo' would mean in that sentence. But referring to 'missing persons' as an 'untapped demographic' seems odd. Hardly a 'huge market' either, surely? Mind you, the idea of 'bonus wordplay points' for adding 'International' to their name is strange too. So perhaps the whole of the second paragraph is meant to be taking the mickey out of marketing-speak. – Rupe Nov 3 '15 at 15:53
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    @JHCL You are right. All I can think of is, if you put international to the name, it becomes "MIA", Missing in Action, making it sound like it is really targeting missing persons. – user140086 Nov 3 '15 at 16:03
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    Ah, very good spot with "MIA". – Rupe Nov 3 '15 at 16:16

The word demo in this context is likely short for demographic. (This is admittedly confusing, because in the vast majority of cases demo is short for demonstration.)

The author of the original article is writing a farcical/parody piece. Clearly missing persons do not actually constitute a demographic that can be tapped. Whether the original author is a comedic genius or highly offensive (or something in between) is up to others to judge. But it's worth understanding the tone to help interpret the meaning of the paragraph. And in any event, it's still a great question from the OP (because, as stated above, this is a nonstandard abbreviation).

  • Your answer is primarily opinion-based and I am thinking about downvoting your answer. Missing persons cannot constitute a demographic as they no longer exist until they are found. (We actually know they are all dead and it is the undisputable fact.) Furthermore, the question can be considered as a request for proof-reading (without any reference/research) and it is clearly off-topic, too. – user140086 Nov 3 '15 at 16:58
  • @Rathony It is precisely because they cannot constitute a demographic that I interpreted the quote as a parody piece. No sane author would write something so absurd. I don't dispute the facts as you have laid them out. I was merely trying to isolate the linguistic question (meaning of "demo") from questions about how offensive the author was. Please understand that I meant no offense while conducting the linguistic analysis. – Nonnal Nov 3 '15 at 17:16
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    I understand your valid point. "Demo" cannot mean so many words as we don't use "demo" for "democracy" or its related words. A few I can think of are "demonstration" or "demographics". Anyway, we exchanged our views and I will leave it there if you don't mind. Also I apologize if I made any unpleasant remarks to you. – user140086 Nov 3 '15 at 17:23
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    I think it's worth making it very clear that the joke, such as it is, is not at the expense of the people who lost their lives, it's at the expense of people who write this kind of stuff and the idea that they might try to take advantage of such a tragedy. As such, any offensiveness is deliberate and part of the satire. – Rupe Nov 3 '15 at 17:42

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