Blog: Chris Brook-CarterA changing marketing climate

Chris Brook-Carter | 13 November 2003

Marketing speak and the cynicism of journalists do not mix well. The usual phrases wheeled out by brand managers about how their brand of whisky/vodka/fruit juice (delete as appropriate) personifies the characteristics of the “urban go-getter” or “intellectual opinion former” are usually our cue to switch off. After all we have already been given the facts about spend, timing and sales growth by this point – and facts are what we are most comfortable with.

So it was with a little surprise yesterday that I learnt that the fastest growing research category on just-drinks dealt not with facts and figures but with concepts and, even worse, marketing concepts.

The author of these reports is a company called style-vision and its research is based around the idea that consumption is driven by mood and themes. They argue that due to the saturation of advertising in the marketplace, targeting people is no longer about age, sex or other demographic data but more about fashion, inner beliefs and social attitudes.

Once I had turned my marketing babble filter off, the reports really do raise some interesting questions about the future direction of advertising. How, for example, can you advertise effectively to a target audience if you can no longer define that audience by demographics alone?

Style-vision recently held a conference in Nice where delegates across a wide range of industries, from automotive to beverages, voted on the concepts they believed the most important to the future of their sector. The winner from among the food and beverage options was called “pro-active ageing”, the idea that consumers realise they are going to live longer than previous generations, while also wanting to maintain their youth through the food and drinks they consume.

Certainly, recent comments from the likes of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo suggest the larger companies have come to terms already with this future, and the growth in functional beverages bares this out. However, the real point of interest will be to see how these companies now attempt to engage with their target markets as the traditional consumer boundaries they have relied on in the past become increasingly irrelevant.

For more information on the style-vision report on Mega trends in global consumer moods to 2006 click here.

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