The societal heroes of the 1970s and 1980s are back. This time the vintage leadership comes from musical legends ranging from Bob Marley‘s One Love, One Heart and the punk rock anti-establishment bands of the 1970s that prompted Russian female ensemble Pussy Riot to deliver their political discontent in Moscow’s orthodox cathedral. Their subliminal messages have now been weaved into the fabric of the new 21st century consumer sentiment. Monitor this carefully because it is latent but not yet mainstream.
Nothing creates stronger bonds between a brand and a consumer than the perception that thoughtfulness (conviction, commitment, truthfulness) and love (compassion, naïveté, childish innocence) have gone into a product. Thoughtfulness, because products should strive to deliver innovation yet bear in mind that humans are to use them, and Love, because even when manufacturing plants assemble them, the notion of craftmanship is embedded in them. Apple and Dyson, the British manufacturer of bagless vaccuum cleaners, are the masters of this trend.
In previous decades, brand values took the consumer mindset to other realms of satisfaction and brand appreciation. For example, Audi has been decades delivering Innovation Via Technology, yet this does not carry any emotional sentiment. It denotes robotic perfection, and perfection is not human. This is why, finally, Audi has decided to take a radical new approach to its product innovation and it is crowdsourcing it, getting customers involved.
Emotions in 2012 play an enormous role in brand perception and digital campaigns should bear in mind that, in addition to the fun extracted from watching TV ads and beautifully executed printed campaigns, consumers will expect their emotions to be nurtured.
In other realms, expect this trend to appear as:
– a revival of Jamaican 1980s music and fashion styling;
– film one-liners that will send audiences into philosophical forums of re-interpretation (recently, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, is enjoying a fantastic trending bonanza thanks to the catch-phrase “big things often have small beginnings”);
– unsung heroes from the past are portrayed in documentaries (Senna this year is a clear example) showing their Love and Commitment To Truth;
** Updated Entry 25th February 2013
The trend is now in full flow. The film industry this year awarded nominations to documentaries such as Marley, Searching for Sugarman, and to motion pictures based on real events like Argo. The heroes of these films are human beings that kept their integrity by way of doing their jobs, whether artistic endeavours or CIA missions, against all odds. The filmmakers chose to exhibit unknown aspects of the subject’s lives in order to bring forth the level of “purity of heart” that the chosen characters applied to the way they lived and felt, even when life turned against them.
It is this message, that one can still be true to what one believes in even when the world crumbles under one’s feet, what has connected with worldwide audiences. The reason why the narratives have worked well for the message, documentary formats (even in Affleck’s film, the accurate production design and the cinematography give extremely close to reality footage that almost feel as fact, not fiction), shows why audiences today want to see ‘real’ examples of the theme because they need to ‘believe’ that the world crises that still drag people down, people will overcome them.
The world needs hope, the world needs to firmly believe that sooner or later, the good people shall be rewarded, that hard work and honesty do pay. Along the same theme, take “The Silver linings Playbook”, widely nominated as well and depicting the humble efforts of two mental patients to rebuild their lives by way of physically training and practicing with great dedication for a local dance competition.
*Important to note that the previously forecasted sample that the trend forecasted above, the fact that the music industry would also “pick up” on Marley, was 100% confirmed at the 2013 Grammy’s with the award ceremony dedicating an important section to create a live homage to Marley with artists on stage such as Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and two of Marley’s sons.