If the role of branding was to create aspirations, then brands have definitely succeeded with flying colors. But, if the role of branding is to ensure trust, authenticity and believability, then we are probably miles away from the desired destination. And one of the reasons behind it might just be our choice of models / actors to use in advertising campaigns.
In the name of creating aspiration, Cate Mosses and Eva Longorias are faces that we view frequently in the ads. Just put every ad that you can lay your hand on that figures a woman, put those ads side by side and give an honest opinion…..What percentage of the kind of women you interact with in real life is reflected by these visuals? Do you really connect with any of these gorgeous bombshells? Is our idea of beauty and fame so trivial that we believe just by using a certain cosmetics, we can shine like them?
We definitely have a distorted idea of beauty, which is what Dove has addressed in their “Real Beauty” campaign. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather which tried to celebrate the natural physical variation embodied by all women and inspire them to have the confidence to be comfortable with themselves. Let me repeat – be comfortable with themselves, not to be like the next Elisha Cuthbert.
This is one area that really need some re-thinking. One conventional wisdom was to use established models / actors as brand ambassadors who can attach some glamour in the communication. But when one scale tilts towards glamour, it takes away a lot from believability. Do we really believe anything these brands promise? When we see the same male model used in a mucho Honda ad as well as a pansy sweater ad, can we really identify with that same model? When we see Abhishek Bacchan asking for a new pair of “Flying Machine” jeans, do we think its Abhishek who is asking for it or some actor who will say just about anything in front of camera as long as he is paid right?
The world has moved towards reality and authenticity. Coke is bringing in health-drink as their future “It” business. Reality TV program American Idol is holding on the number 1 rating for the past 3 years. Isnt it about time we really look into this ancient method of using established models in our communication? Cant we go for more authenticity, reality and freshness in our choice of models?