'Anthropomorphism' is a literary term that pertains to the projection of human attributes onto the world around us.
YouTube is littered with examples – talking pets, inanimate objects with seemingly personal vendettas (‘My car is called Beverley and she hates me’), chips made to look like people, and who can forget Grumpy Cat. Obviously it’s all just a metaphor, a device that helps us visualise complex ideas or interpret the world around us.
As an industry, we anthropomorphise the interplay between people and brands. We’ve all used phrases like ‘generating brand love’ and ‘the key to this is greater engagement’.
No-one loves a brand in the same way they love their partner or mother. People don’t enter into relationships with brands they purchase. In many ways the purchase decision couldn’t be further removed from a genuine human relationship, a mix of heuristics and choice wrapped up in 0.25 seconds. Hardly Romeo and Juliet.
The interaction between people and brands is complicated. But saying we need to ‘build love’ asks us to look for an insight-driven solution that projects understanding of the consumer.
The concern is that our industry gets so carried away, we start to believe our own rhetoric, investing time and money attempting to build complex assimilations of human relationships that remove the product from the role it plays in the real world. A washing powder is not my friend. I don’t want it to have a meaningful dialogue with it.
In essence, anthropomorphism of branded interaction runs the risk of falsifying and overblowing the role the brand plays in consumers’ lives. The obsession with chasing a relationship clouds the important brand requirements like saliency, reach and bottom line results.
Engagement metrics set expectations that are difficult to meet and are removed from the reality of how that message will be consumed. Measuring engagement on a link test is nothing like watching an ad break surrounded by three screaming kids and a second screen.
I’m not suggesting we ditch anthropomorphism. But let’s understand it for the metaphor that it is.
The challenge for advertising isn’t to create complex relationships between brands and people. It’s to combat apathy by being relevant and interesting. It’s not forgetting how and why people interact with it, and most importantly it’s about creating tangible business results.
Stewart Gurney is strategy director at PHD Australia.
Please login with linkedin to comment
Independent brand and digital agency, Archibald Williams (AW) has been appointed to lead the NBA account across the APAC region. The NBA is one of the most prestigious sporting leagues in the world and basketball is one of the fastest-growing sports in Australia. Effective immediately, AW said it was “excited” to work across all digital, […]
B&T's shining a light on industry folk prior to adland. Preference given to anyone purporting actual UFO abduction.
Leading digital outdoor company QMS has announced it is the first-ever inaugural partner for Most Contagious APAC, the landmark London event by creative and strategic intelligence company Contagious, which will be showcased in Australia on Tuesday, 12 December in Sydney and Wednesday, 13 December in Melbourne. Most Contagious is an event that delivers key advertising […]
Omnicom’s data and analytics division Annalect has partnered with Meta, giving it access to Advanced Analytics (AA) – one of Meta’s privacy-focused measurement solutions – to provide Omnicom’s clients with future-proof, next-level measurement. Omnicom is the first holding company to have access to AA. AA allows advertisers to combine their first-party data with Meta’s ads […]
WPP’s AKQA has launched Fixmas.gift, an environmentally conscious AI-powered DIY assistant, affectionately known as Fixie, for a one-stop solution for all things repair. Fixmas.gift hosts an array of guides and inspiration to empower people to prolong the lives of their belongings or purchase pre-owned items that need a little love and care. Fixie can: Help […]
Marc Collister (pictured) of P2 Content Creators spills the beans on his 2024 predictions drawing from two decades of experience in the advertising, film and television industry. I’m certain it will come as no surprise that in 2024, we can expect our industry to move at breakneck speed again. With even more rapid shifts in […]
Zeno Australia has announced expanded creative design capabilities and the appointment of Jim Michell (lead image) to its senior leadership team. The new moves support strong growth in the region. Zeno Australia’s clients, including Abano Healthcare, Motorola and Yorkshire Tea, can now tap into a suite of creative design services to augment the agency’s work […]
Assembled Media, is drawing upon the creative power of TikTok Creator Marketplace to help generate unique, impactful content for iconic stationery brand, BIC. The social activation campaign titled ‘A Pen for Every Side of You’ promotes the flexibility of BIC’s 4 Colours pen and is active nationwide on the BIC Stationery TikTok account. The campaign […]
Pinterest reckons jellyfish & moody cowboys will be big in 2024. Refused to be drawn on the return of shoulder pads.
IAB Australia has launched ‘Evolution in Market Mix Modelling’, the fourth module in its Marketing Measurement Innovation Series, which has been developed by IAB Australia’s Ad Effectiveness Council. The module explores what is driving the increased use of MMM and how the technique is evolving with advances in computing power and machine learning to provide […]
Scope3, the collaborative sustainability platform leading the decarbonisation of media and advertising, announced the addition of digital out-of-home (DOOH) to its emissions measurement. With DOOH ad spending predicted to grow from $17B in 2023 to nearly $24B by 2028, measuring this channel brings us one step closer to understanding the total impact of digital advertising […]
NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific, is now open for online registrations for the main conference. Jointly organized by the National Retail Federation and Comexposium, Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific will take place from 11 – 13 June, 2024 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore and is expected to draw thousands […]