Wow. There’s a heady statement.
In the book The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, authors Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, state that since we no longer have tribal elders to guide us, and fewer of us read the Bible, cultural guideposts that once helped our ancestors are now in some cases gone or dismissed.
However we still seek fulfilment at home and at work. So where do we find the beacons to guide us? Parents, siblings, friends and neighbors: sure. But how many of us look more to musicians and movie stars? Bruce Springsteen represents the archetype of the Explorer so well, that I resist playing the CD Born to Run for fear that I might just pack my bags, drive off into the sunset and not return home. I learned my sense of humor from Bill Murray in his role as Carl the Groundskeeper in Caddyshack. What self-respecting dude between the ages of 40 and 55 can’t quote most of his lines from that movie?
For better or worse, marketing can provide those beacons too. Nike’s Just Do It campaign resonated because we envisioned ourselves as the Hero archetype. How did the Marlboro man get millions of people to choose that brand of cigarette? Because many of us long to be Outlaws.
Imagine if all products that can help us achieve our best were marketed in ways that found wandering souls like beacons in the night.
Wow. A heady goal. But I’m going to try. And if I fail? Well as Judge Smails reminded us in Caddyshack, “The world needs ditch diggers, too!”