I work in PR and advertising. Which is another way of saying I work intensively with people. Without people - or more specifically, without people's emotional and physical needs - there wouldn't be advertising.
To paraphrase Don Draper, "Advertising is about one thing: happiness." And despite what many an erstwhile college prof would teach on the subject, there's always going to be an ample dose of art in the science of playing to people's emotions.
Maybe it's because it's part of my job to notice this kind of thing, but if you're like me, you've seen a noticeable trend in how that's being accomplished recently. It's toward realism.
Take a look at these spots from current marketing campaigns.
Sure, there are plenty of campaigns that camp it up. But I can't help but notice the trend in advertising - and perhaps in other media as well - is toward showcasing real people doing real things.
And it's a welcome shift. Consumers today are demanding more from companies. It's no longer enough to have a good product at a good value. That is a given anymore. How you treat others around you and in what state you leave the world after you're gone is the new point of differentiation among brands. Today's successful brands are the ones showing a realism, a humanism that resonates with consumers.
I wonder if there's a lesson in there that transcends advertising. Clearly many of today's top advertisers believe being real is how to win people. And we should take note. Authenticity is at a premium these days, because the supply has failed to keep pace with demand. The people who live their lives authentically and with integrity will find most interest in the "product" of themselves.
People have always been attracted to what's real, and they've always had a loathing for what's fake. Not just a loathing for it, but also an innate ability for detection of it. So it behooves all of us to ask ourselves if the product we're advertising - personally - is real. That's the kind of product people are interested in. If it's not, it may be time to go back to R&D.
You feel me?