‘If you buy me, I will change your life.’
If products could talk, that’s probably what they’d be saying. At least, that’s what the producing companies want you to think.
Over the past decade, there has been a gradual shift in the way advertising is produced and promoted. The content pushed onto the television we watch, the magazines and newspapers we read, and the websites we look at are chock-full of advertisements backed by companies that want to generate not only awareness of a brand, but promote it in a positive way that makes the viewer feel like they must have it to be a part of the campaign.
Nowadays, advertisers incorporate one more thing: emotion. They want you to feel connected with it. And how do they do that? They start a cultural movement.
Producers want you to feel like once you’ve bought their product, you are considered cool. They want you to feel like you’re in the know. They want you to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. They want you to feel like you’re making an impact on the world. And, if done right, this method works.
Take the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty that launched in 2004. According to the Dove website, they wanted to create a global conversation about redefining the term “beauty.” They did not feature the typical stick-thin models in their advertising, but instead showed women whose appearances were outside the stereotypical norms of beauty (i.e. they had curves and real bodies that were not Photoshopped.)
The media put an undying amount of positive attention and press on the brand, which not only publicized the campaign, but also promoted other products and product lines from the same company.
Dove’s goal was simple; to help women, especially the younger generations, feel comfortable in their bodies regardless of the shape, size, or weight. With the help of social media, women openly talked beauty issues, bringing thousands of people to Dove’s website.
And the outcome? It was clean, thought out, and flawless. According to Quora.com, the company raked in over $1 billion, surpassing the company’s expectations significantly.
Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign launched in 2011 had a similar approach by promoting the brand in a way that is up-to-date, cool, and has an emotional connection to the viewers. Wrought with brilliant design, tone, and spirit, it swept through the various media platforms promoting the good ol’ American pioneering. With Walt Whitman and Charles Bukowski’s words smeared all over the advertisements, the romantic ideals of the campaign had a pretty precise target demographic: younger teenagers, primarily hipsters.
Unfortunately, it did not make as big of an impact as they had hoped. Women’s and Men’s jean sales went down remarkably. Even if marketing to a demographic that is struggling in a horrible economy to get a stable income wasn’t the smartest idea, the romanticized, hippie commercials were a visual treat.
This seemingly wide river full of trendy campaigns may seem nice to slip into for a “cool” dip. With alluring advertisements, it is easy to get sucked in. Swimming with the wide-spread media coverage can get pretty comfortable pretty quickly. While we may, as Nike’s campaign says, “Just Do It,” make sure there are enough seat belts before you hop onto the bandwagon because often times when we’re wrong, we’re dead wrong.