Inverting the Archetypal Consumer
Today, most Advertising efforts have been designed to do serve a primary purpose –that’s to communicate and sell your product. But how do you do it cleverly? Well, there are a few different techniques being bandied about, but the one that we are going to focus on today is targeting your consumers through what is known as ‘Archetypal Consumer.’
What is the Archetypal Consumer?
The archetypal consumer is the one that your brand will most obviously identify with, and is usually associated with a stereotype. For instance, the archetypal consumer for nappies might be women and mothers; the archetypal consumer for a power drill might be young-middle aged men. Throughout this article we are going to look at the pros of ‘subverting’ this archetype, helping you to target other potential revenue streams and markets.
Why is it important?
It’s easy enough to target your potential consumer (assuming that they are well known by the brand). Therefore, we are going to use some examples to help explain what we mean by ‘subverting the archetypal consumer’.
Imagine that you are tasked with branding and advertising washing up liquid within the consumer goods industry. Most people associate washing liquid with an adult, usually a parent, as they are needing to tackle a large pile of washing up for the purposes of the advertisement. In many washing up liquid ads, a woman is usually chosen as the washer up – usually a Mum who is perhaps pushed for time and the liquid helps her to tackle tough stains quicker; or perhaps she needs to save money and this particular washing liquid goes further and stretches pennies. To ‘put mum’ in action, let’s take Fairy liquid as an example:
This ad shows how generations of Mothers have bought Fairy liquid, as it has always been the ‘reliable brand’. The ad, of course, is designed to appeal to Mothers and women, who are the major consumer of their brands.
However, how could this ad ‘subvert the typical archetypal consumer’?
Imagine that you are a Mother sat at home watching this commercial. Sure, the product would appeal to you as it saves money and you can see other women using it. However, what about if in the last frame, instead of a Mum standing there, it was in fact a Dad? As a woman, you would probably find this funny – and therefore you would remember it better. You may even wish to share the ad with your friends on social media – other Mothers who might like the joke to humorously have some revenge on their husbands.
By using a stay at home Dad (with a well-designed story settings) instead of a woman could engage other types of consumer segments, making them laugh, feeling included, and encouraging the word of mouth. They might also feel that this subversion of their usual stereotype of a housewife into a house husband is a smart and much more realistic and updated view of their lives.
Using a House husband is just an idea, and that could be extended to other family members or even other places (eg. restaurants’ kitchens, catering services, …etc).
Another good modern example of such subversion can be seen in one of Taco Bell’s 2015 ads: