September 25, 2018

Buy my product… and live happily ever after

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Christmas Past ~ Coca-Cola, 1947

Christmas Past ~ Coca-Cola, 1947 (Photo credit: erjkprunczýk)

At a car-boot sale recently I couldn’t resist buying two eerie little framed prints of “Jack and Jill” tumbling down a hill and “the old women who lived in a shoe”; they were over 120 years old and only a pound each!But what is it with society’s fixation with folklore and fairy tales, myths and magic?

It’s not just me: movies, television series, online games and video games can’t resist the temptation of fantasy worlds, and marketers have been enchanted too. Two years ago GHD promised fans Cinderella did not need magic to have beautiful hair at the ball. More recently the Guardian newspaper used the fate of the three little pigs to capture attention. Numerous other brands hook onto well-known stories to promise health, happiness and happy endings.

The question is, why? A recent article in The Marketer magazine suggests fairy tales and folklore evoke a sense of nostalgia in adults, and can be reassuring in today’s turbulent times with their allure of happy endings. These traditional stories also have symbolic significance; with characters that stand for important themes such as heroism and motherhood, and storylines which tackle deep-rooted moral issues and cultural ideals, such as justice, reward and good prevailing over evil. Such stories are simple, powerful and translate well across cultures, making them a useful vehicle for brands.

What’s your favourite example and did it work on you?

Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow About Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow

Teaching Fellow at Edinburgh Business School. Part of the Marketing teaching team, focusing on the Consumer Behaviour elective.