You know this ad. You’ve seen it thousands of times. A good-looking group of thirty-somethings are laughing on a glowing beach. A product is nonchalantly placed in sight –– usually a beverage or piece of equipment. But you don’t really care so much about the product. You want to be as happy as these characters.
Here’s the problem. These aren’t normal people. In these aspirational ads, characters live in luxurious homes with fast cars. Their friends and family are stunning. And that’s the whole point.
The goal of the ad (and the brand behind the ad…and the agency behind the brand…) is to make a viewer aspire to be like them. They want you to believe that by purchasing something, you can achieve a certain social status.
While aspirational marketing has been a popular tactic for decades, the sparkle of it is beginning to tarnish. Between updates on war, economic collapse, and a global pandemic, people are mentally exhausted. They’ve seen your tired, fluffy message before
Brands don’t have to abandon their traditional approach completely. Instead, they can embrace a new wave consumers crave: affirmational marketing.
Take Halo Top’s massively successful “Stop Shoulding Yourself” campaign, which asks a question we’ve all wondered when eating dessert: Should I?
Instead of inadvertently shaming viewers, Halo Top’s message focuses on body positivity and taking the stress out of something you should enjoy.
“There are a lot of “shoulds,” or pressures, that come with choosing wellness. Whether you reach for a pint or pop, Halo Top is here to take the pressure out of indulging in a sweet treat, empowering dessert fans to enjoy what they love – not because they should, but because it feels good.”
So, next time you begin crafting a marketing message for a campaign, consider this: Younger generations understand marketing in a different way than their parents. They can sniff out an inauthentic piece of media. It’s going to become harder and harder to sell them on a fantasy.
Why not pitch a slice of reality? Give them affirmational marketing. Solve a real problem or point of anxiety. Use everyday people (associations, this could be your members). Don’t sugarcoat your message. Make them feel good.
In return, you won’t get one-off purchasers like everyone else. You’ll get advocates.