Selling reality is now the new ideology of transparency. It’s about placing controversial concerns upfront to associate with the brand. Leo Burnett Toronto scored a top honor, for Webby Agency of the year. Their winning ad was #LikeAGirl for Always—a brand for women’s hygiene products. This ad depicts how it’s insulting to a girl to do things that shouldn’t have a label to them. For example, run like a girl, throw like a girl, and fight like a women shouldn’t be any different from how a boy would do those activities. Close to the end of the video, a cast member asks the participants if it’s insulting to do things #LikeAGirl. This Always campaign is not about sugarcoating reality, it’s about bringing social stereotypes to the table. This advertisement is tapping into the notion of gilt, however they do it with pride because this gilt they’re creating makes their brand real.
About one year ago, being transparent with marketing campaigns like McDonald’s Our Food. Your Questions drew consumer attraction. Today, brands take transparency a step forward to highlight the reality of human life. According to rhetorical theories building common grounds with the target audience is the key to attract their attention. The more people can relate to the subject matter of the ad, the more they feel the connection to a brand. Subconsciously, consumers’ ethos—trust—towards the brand is enhanced because they think that the brand truly understand their pain. That’s exactly what HBO Go has done with their commercial as well. It’s a time when brand’s don’t associate their products with a utopian way of life, instead brands bring out these social issues to show how life is not in utopia.
Placing a social issue at the heart of a branding campaign brings the authenticity of the product to action. Ads and videos go viral when advertisers portray the bitter truth—at least in this day and age. Mullen, Boston designed an advertising campaign for American Greetings—a leading greeting cards brand—called Word’s Toughest Job, which became a top hit for highlighting the reality of being a mother. This video illustrates how hard it is to be a mother. The campaign highlights detailed aspects of being a mother such as standing up almost all the time, constantly exerting yourself, working from 135 to unlimited hours per week, no vacation, the work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holiday, no time to sleep, and $0 salary. The campaign also associates its moral with the viewer’s gilt, which prompt the viewers to send a greeting card to their mothers.The reality of being a mother is not fanaticized in the campaign.
Let’s travel back in time to1960s, advertising was about creating the perfect life with the advertised brand. It was not about selling the bitter truth. The advertisements illustrated below portrays a mother’s duties, but it’s created in such a way that it looks like it’s fun to be a mother. With Velveeta by Kraft they could be a better mother and make their lives happy.
In 2015 advertisers approach is to create a deeper emotional handle with their audience.