The gap between the harsh, gritty and often beautiful reality of everyday life on planet Earth and the “nothings wrong in here”… high-fiving, straight teethed, tanned gym buddies who seemingly champion my favoured household brands at me – are at odds with my life, and marketing needs to get ‘real’ with its audience.
There’s nothing wrong with being sold the dream… we’re all canny enough to decipher the hype, but from parenting adverts that don’t have any correlation with how life is. From sanitary products that will immeasurably improve your life, Government backed Nudge Units or Behavioural Insights Teams suggesting what the nation ought to be doing, or not to be doing, dressed up as scientific reports, leaks and ultimately slow-drip marketing, I’m sick of blanket information aimed at buffoons.
The web display network doesn’t get me either – or my households browsing habits, it’s a catch-all and a ‘shared device’ seemingly is a concept lost on this form of prospect targeting – I can’t imagine how much pay-per-click or display spend a certain high street gaming company has wedged out appearing on every banner placeholder for the last 60 days, as someone (other than me) in the household, 58 days ago – shopped for an Xbox game. This retailer – or their agency – has been spending their clicks erroneously ever since. It’s that catch all algorithm again – as David Ogilvy once famously stated “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife”
The advertising world and marketing agencies who shape average demographic classifications are not being realistic with their clients’ brands, not using data with enough intelligence and worst of all – not connecting with audiences. This represents; at best a missed opportunity and at worst data segmentation laziness. Mumsnet commissioned some research recently by Saatchi’s to understand their core user demographic and the agency identified 66 separate Mums groupings; including such ass-holy terms like ‘Millennial Mum’, or ‘Tech Savvy Mother’ etc, even down to groupings like ‘Mum’s who’ve had C sections’ can you imagine marketing to that list? Mumsnet and almost any online community or forums work, because people go there for impartial advice and to be ‘real’ and honest with other members, I’m sure if they knew they were being classified so inaccurately, they’d be less candid – and less frank, which is rather self-perpetuating.
What does real advertising look like?
Take a look at this very cool VIDEO advert from Channel4 – which aired at the time of the Olympics to push the Paralympics they were airing, some 40 million people watched it and is displays a hard-edged realism that connects with people. The message of “Thank you for letting me be myself” has never been so well broadcast and inspiring. We’ve all seen ad’s that chime with our consciousness and make us want to actually connect or engage with a brand or its messaging, so why can’t all advertising be more thoughtful and work harder?
Of course, there’s always going to be a place for Beyonce’s increased thigh gap (via L’Oreal, though not sure how it feels to have your anatomy re-shaped because someone thinks your legs are chunky)There’s always going to be a place for Hollister/GAP/Ralph Lauren adverts and Victoria’s Secret models – it’s not a question of wanting to strip away the beautiful or the aspirational – to want to elevate ourselves from the norm of the everyday, but a happy balance is what we need, to pave the way for a more positive relationship between advertising and society.
If you want to engage real people, real consumers for products they actually may be interested in purchasing, talk to us, just don’t offer to high-five me!