Neither the Hero nor the Outlaw is definitively good or bad. They are a set of values that brands use to create engagement, impact or even to create new markets
Delhi | June 6, 2016
Yes, this is a famous book written by Margaret Mark and Carol S Pearson, where the authors have dived deep into archetypes and what drives them. This week, some of the communication released by brands reminded me of this. Neither the Hero nor the Outlaw is definitively good or bad. They are a set of values that brands use to create engagement, impact or even to create new markets.
Olx and the Hero
Olx has done Father-Son narratives on how they help sons buy sports bikes.
The tale of love between father and son told in this Marathi Tamsha style tale is really heart-warming. Hereâs a father who will do anything to put a smile on his sonâs face. He will act like a monkey or dance like a robot. Son loves his father, father loves his son and mother just dotes over both. Father doesn't realize that the son has grown and when the son asks for a bike to go to college, he pantomimes the bike ride brilliantly, donât miss when he stops pantomiming and puts the bike on stand. The rest of the tale is about how to buy new things by selling old stuff and go about discovering joys of life.
The second is a hilarious tale of the father who always says no to his son. The father has said no so often that now the whole house does mundi dance. There are some very nice subtle touches like the grandfatherâs oxygen cylinder, the orange on fatherâs plate or the dancing dolls on the mantle stand. Here, too, the son who is bad in studies wants a bike, and the father like always says no. Rest of the tale is simple: sell old to get new and make your father stop doing mundi dance.
Olx has crafted an over the top but very memorable tale of father and son bonding just to communicate their proposition: old can get you new.
Jester and making it Cliq
Jesters have the unique ability to lighten the mood to convey the message. Jesters are blessed, for they can convey complicated messages in simplest of ways. Tata Cliq has found theirs in a camel. The entire commercial is about getting the âoontâ or camel. The setting of the ad is young and urbane, the products showcased are the ones that youth of today wants, the jingle exhorting people to get the oont works seamlessly.
Then come two issues. First, the audience is asked to translate oont into camel and camel is an acronym (itâs an international brand too, but that may not matter here). For a while it sounds like an alphabet soup that is not very appetizing. The second is that you have to remember the brand name, and after a minute of loving the oont, the brand name is a bit of tough one to remember. Despite the two seemingly small issues, I suspect the ad will be remembered for the jest and easygoing way in which the ship of desert delivers great stuff home.
The Lover turns Outlaw
Jabong was the lover. The brand had an intimate and pleasurable relationship with its audience. From there the brandâs new commercial has turned around and become an Outlaw.Â As the Outlaw, the brand wants to break the traditions; it wants to start a revolution. There is a lot of conversation about gender fluidly today with people not sticking to one identity and seeking to be fluid across the identity when they express their choices. Shiseido did this earlier this year with their spot âAnyone can be cuteâ. Jabong has gone that way by showcasing some of those traits. For the brand to work as an outlaw it has to have a very strong adversary. It has to fight something. Diesel is an outlaw brand, it fights boring. Harley is an outlaw, it fights office cubicles. The narratives work for these brands because we the audience identify the adversary. Does Jabong have a strong adversary? If it has, is it making the adversary clear to people?
Outlaws don't have it easy, especially if the society is not looking for one. They rebellion tends to get noticed, builds quickly and also fizzles immediately. Jabong has literally raised the banner of revolt. Will the audience join the revolution?
Heroes or Outlaws, brands have many stories to tell.