In this documentary, PBS uncovers the evolution of marketing. Marketing has moved from targeting large groups, to targeting individuals and smaller segments. With so many messages being transmitted through the media, the line between what is being absorbed and what is not has become blurred. Getting through the clutter is difficult. Every thing is done to break through the clutter. Therefore, marketers need to market to only those who really want to hear the message, and to get those people that hear that message, to have an emotional response to it.
One of the ways to break through the clutter in advertising is to create meaning through emotional or spiritual branding. Marketers are targeting consumers in a way that tries to get consumers to have emotional experiences tied to products. This line of thinking is best displayed in ads like those of Nike that say “transcendence through sports,” or ones by Starbucks that say that Starbucks is a “third place meeting house.” What this does is get the consumer to act on emotional response that can be evoked from certain ideas or phrases that an ad contains. It is selling an idea, not a product. This can go even further – it can depict a product as a lifestyle. This approach revolves around people’s desire to belong to a group or cult. In this way, Apple i-pod users become a sub-culture, and you can share a special bond with other i-pod users. This is spiritual branding.
Another way to break through the clutter is to aim your messages at one individual, rather than a large segment. This can be done by targeting people individually through a process called narrowcasting. There is a large amount of date available on every person, and this information, for a price, can be sold to marketers to tell them, what you like to do, your tendencies. This saves marketers precious resources like time and money.
The documentary follows different ad agencies, marketing theorists, and products, like Song airlines, in light of the emotional branding theme, and others. It gives several real world advertising examples which display what the advertising agencies are doing and why.
2) High-light the Major Issues to be discussed.
Narrowcasting – The idea of marketing to one individual as a whole segment. This done using data mining and database marketing.
Attitudes – Person’s enduring favorable or unfavorable evaluations, emotions, or action tendencies toward some object or idea.
Emotional Branding – Generating an emotional response from a product that you can associate a favorable experience with.
Marketing Myopia – Having the largest scope of activity possible. Not limiting your product scope.
Focus Groups – Simultaneous personal interview of a small group of individuals, which relies on group discussion about a certain topic.
Product Placement – The placement of products in movies and T.V. shows to advertise the product.
3) Discuss these issues in light of the Marketing/Business Theory and Literature / 4) Evaluate the situation presented in terms of the appropriateness of the strategy being utilized.
Narrowcasting has become popular because it allows a marketer to send a personalized message to an individual, and to tailor that message directly to that person. Data companies such as Axciom, have compiled information through the use of credit cards and personal interviews from mailings, and they have learned what people like what. This is very appropriate because it allows marketers to screen messages and give a consumer only what they want to hear.
A person’s attitude toward a product comes from their perception of what the product is all about. The film begins by focusing on a new up and coming airline called Song, a sub-siduary of Delta Air Lines. They tried to invent a new culture in an airline. They did a lot of word association to accomplish this, to find out what kind of attitudes people had toward their product.
They noticed that women were going unnoticed in the airline business. They don’t have an airline. They tried to forge a real connection with women. Their niche is having a spirit you can’t copy. Song is not just a company but an attitude. They looked for people who had what they thought were a character trait called “song, “as if someone could be “song.” Employees auditioned by acting in character and demonstrating their song attitude. Their attitude was not only a representation of what their product was, but their attitude was the product as well. The utilization of creating an attitude that mirrored the attitude that the consumer wanted in a product was not just appropriate, but genius. Their goal was a good one, to create something that communicates with the person on another level, aimed at heart and not the head.
When trying to emotional brand someone, pun-intended, one must appeal to those feelings or causes that elicit an emotional response, one that leads to brand-loyalty. Brands become an invitation into a whole new lifestyle. They are looking to transcend through spiritual meaning. Saachi and Saachi is an advertising agency, Kevin Roberts, its CEO, describes a “loyalty beyond reason,” its where the “premium profits lie,” argues Roberts. He thinks he can turn any product into an object of devotion.
Roberts calls these particular products “Lovemarks,” ones “infused with intimacy, mystery, sensuality, and you recognize it as having an iconic place in your heart.” This is how emotional branding occurs, which leads to brand loyalty. For example, picture a Cherios commercial that shows a baby and a grandma telling a story by playing with the Cherios, using them as props. This commercial cuts right to the core of our emotions by using family. This utilization of a family scene creates meaning to most people. It is appropriate in creating branding. It’s just about making an emotional connection.
Polaroid, it isn’t a camera. It’s a social lubricant. These neo-slogans help products and companies avoid marketing myopia. For instance, Polaroid is in
the business of entertainment, family and friends and memories, rather than the business of photographs. This kind of idea projecting keeps the scope of a products use broad, and allows consumers to not narrowly define a product, but to expand it further, and to allow them to attach its use to emotion.
Focus groups have helped Frank Luntz, marketing theorist, discover how to crack the consumer code. Luntz believes it doesn’t matter what you want to tell the public, it’s what they want to here. He has been working with the Republican Party for years, to help them phrase issues in the right way. He doesn’t do issues, he does language around issues. He does focus groups to find the right words. He looks for those words that get you to act on an emotional level. Luntz looks for words to sell the policies. The right name makes the policy sell better. For instance, estate tax changed to death tax. The war in Iraq, becomes the war on terror.Global warming becomes climate change. This type of word association changes the connotation of something and can make anything sound reasonable. This work is captured through focus groups, which have proven to be invaluable to a marketer.
The film talks about product placement. Not only are brands being placed in films, but they are becoming heroes in those films too. For instance, in Cast Away, Fed Ex turns out to be a hero. Tom Hanks comes out alive and ends up delivering the package that he saved while on the beach for years and finds love as well. Product Placement works and is appropriate because these not so subtle subtleties try to create a lasting positive image in the viewer’s eyes. If they can make it seamless, like it belongs there, then it will work.
5) Recommendations and/or the direction for the future.
I think it’s clear that ads are moving towards becoming more narrowcasted. The messages of the future will be tailored for and aimed at the individual more than the masses. This is true for consumer advertising and political advertising alike. With so many messages available, are minds have tuned most of them out, so messages that create meaning and are geared towards our interests, have the best chance of breaking through the immense amount of clutter in advertising.
The future of marketing depends on one’s ability to segment the market appropriately and find your target market. Once you have your target market, you must reach them with a message that evokes an emotional response, which creates meaning, resulting in a greater likelihood of making a purchase decision. These messages cannot be placed anywhere, they be must be absorbed by the consumer. Therefore, Tivo and other DVR devices make T.V. an obsolete medium. The future lies in personalized advertising, where a marketer already has a wealth of information about you already, and instead of wasting their efforts marketing to a large group or segment of people, they can market to the individual, one with unique tastes, one who you may not want to hear a certain message. This can be done through personal mail adverting, cell-phone ads, and through email and internet sites.
“The Persuaders.” Frontline. PBS Corr. Douglas Rushkoff. WGBH, Boston. 9 Nov. 2004.
Boone, Louis E. Kurtz, Daivd L. “Contemporary Marketing.” Thomson. Mason, Ohio. 2008.