Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Age of Insecurity and Opportunity

When it comes to brands making statements about us, there are a couple of ways to interpret them.

The first is that they serve as nothing more that confirmation; of something we already know and believe.

At OFD we take a different anthropological interpretation.

Such statements are valued precisely because we don't ourselves believe them and being confronted with the idea gives us a permission to believe that we can't find our way to on our own.

Navigating the duty free area that one literally cannot avoid after clearing security at CDG airport in Paris, we encountered this fine specimen:

At first glance, it seems faintly absurd and rather arrogant that a brand - any brand - would be so presumptuous to tell us we are unique. How can a brand know us after all? On the other hand, it is precisely because so many people don't feel special that being told we are is so appreciated. Affirming our worth makes us feel good and makes us feel warm and fuzzy about what is showering us with affection, in this case a brand called Magnifique.

L'Oreal has gone as far actually referring to worth in the platitude is directs to women: Because You're Worth It.

While insecurity is bad for people it is, in a sense, good for marketers for it creates an urgent, self-directed need for resolution across a number of aspects of people's lives and how they define themselves. The needs are not latent, rather they are very pressing because they are concerned with issues that matter to us a great deal: whether we are successful, whether we are beautiful or handsome, whether we are good parents or not, to name a few.

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