It’s already started, and it’s going to continue, the newest trend in advertising is community and togetherness and acceptance. And it’s how brands big and small will try to show their brand communities where they stand in today’s geopolitical climate.
Advertising, like art, is often influenced by what is happening in the world around it. And since mid-2016 what has been happening in the news, particularly in the United States, is the push-and-pull of acceptance, inclusion and fairness to all people. Between Trump’s immigration policies and the rise in racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and Islamophobic speech and acts, it’s easy to see that there is unrest, and a yearning for togetherness.
And this is where brands and advertisers come in.
In Canada we’ve already seen it with Loblaws #EatTogether ad, showing apartment building residents from all walks of life coming together for a meal in the hallway. And in the United States there was an assortment of ads preaching inclusivity shown during the Super Bowl.
Major brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Airbnb presented ads that did more to further conversation and social commentary than to pitch their products. They were focused on the community, both on a whole, and of their brands, and (to the audience that yearns for that message) they struck gold.
The key to these ads is that people want to celebrate these ideals. They aren’t seeing these ads and suddenly realizing that inclusiveness, togetherness, and acceptance are important to them, they already know. And they feel that we are currently living in a climate where these ideals are under attack by policy and rhetoric. Kind, caring people believe that these sentiments should be shared, and so they are embracing these ads and their messages.
As long time advocates for embracing and nourishing brand communities, we see the value in these ads and campaigns. Recognizing and putting a spotlight on the shared values of the brand and the community is a key part of building and reinforcing the connection between the two. And long term, that strength and connection becomes a large part in the success and growth of a brand and business.
It’s unclear how long this trend will last, there’s always another just around the corner, but for now it’s plain to see that it’s here. Brands with these values who recognize that their both their core brand community and potential customer base want to support these statements will continue to create these ads to go along with their more traditional product pitches. And while they may face the backlash of the Alt-right and other conservative groups, they will have stood true to their brand and community, and that has value.