What were we thinking?
How sensibilities have changed in advertising.
A lesson in how important it is to understand consumer attitudes, values and peer environment.
Like everything, advertising has its fashions and some examples of old ads from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s I came across this week got me thinking about just how much has changed in terms of not only design trends but more importantly the attitudes of customers.
However fondly we remember the 50’s. 60’s or 70’s there is no denying that things we find unacceptable today such as racism, sexism and homophobia were endemic and was reflected and magnified by the advertising of the day.
With one headline “Blow smoke in her face and she will follow you anywhere” it says so much about attitudes to health, smoking and women.
Now I am not on a feminist crusade here, about how awfully the media and advertising portrays women (that may be the subject of another blog), what I do find extremely interesting is how it highlights just how far consumer attitudes have changed in a few decades.
Although some people blame advertising for moulding opinions and attitudes, the vast majority of advertising seeks to gain empathy with its audience. If you can appeal to the core values, beliefs and motivations you can then start to influence buying behaviour.
And it is not just an individual’s beliefs, it is also the collective beliefs and tolerances or their peer group. After all, in the 60’s and 70’s feminism was growing and increasingly strident, yet ads such as this for Kenwood, probably was taken as nothing to write home about which reflected the mindset of the general public.
So understanding the collective frame of mind of your audience is extremely important and possibly something that marketers pay too little attention to as they often take a ‘micro view’ of their customers and obsess about ‘pen portraits’ and typologies.
As we continue into one of the most difficult economic and social environments for many years, we marketers need to understand just what an impact it has had, and will continue to have, on our audiences. One study by Mintel Ireland (The Irish Lifestyle Report) examined the impact of the recession and Irish consumers and in addition to making people more price sensitive it has also dented their trust, and this is in turn meaning consumers are relying less on face value messages (advertising) and are looking for proof to back up their buying decisions.
If you would like to discuss how you can ensure your marketing hits all the right buttons with your target audience, contact me on 01472 269 016 or click here