Advertising To Humans As More Than Just Selfish Machines
For decades, companies have made you feel inadequate in order to get you to buy things. In an excerpt from his new book Story Wars Jonah Sachs traces the history of the growing field of marketing products in ways that make us better people and the world a better place.
Empowerment Marketing: A Resistance to the Dark Art
For nearly a century now, inadequacy marketing has provided the favored weapons for fighting the story wars. And though the cautionary tales of Groupon and Kenneth Cole show how the digitoral age is putting chinks in its armor, the approach is anything but dead. In fact, its practice remains the automatic starting point for most of us, whether we’re selling fish curry or social action.
But that’s only half the story. For nearly as long, a countercurrent has run through the story wars. Empowerment marketing eschews every assumption made by the inadequacy approach. Acting much in the way myths have for millennia, this approach builds stories that point out the possibility for human growth and even transcendence. Empowerment stories often delight audiences by mocking the familiar anxiety provoking assaults of the dark art. They inspire action by painting a picture of an imperfect world that can be repaired through heroic action. And most importantly, they create deep affinity by acknowledging that human beings can be something more than selfish machines seeking status, sex, comfort, and convenience.
Media mogul Arianna Huffington, who sold her homegrown, virally powered news site to AOL for $315 million, knows a few things about what works in the digitoral era. She recently described what she called the most important trend in marketing: “the recognition by businesses that there’s much to be said for appealing to consumers’ better instincts, and engaging them with something other than materialism, sex, money, and self-interest.”
“It’s not a coincidence,” she added, “that this trend is escalating at the same time social media have risen to the forefront in the worlds of both marketing and activism
via Fast Company
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