The importance of the target in advertising

The aim of our profession lies in the existence of a target. Without it, our devoir would be pointless.

Our campaigns are the reflection of the society they are created for. A few days ago my teen soon showed me some 50s ad pieces they were discussing at school. He was bewildered about those women depicted there, apparently pleased of accomplishing ‘their’ chores and absolutely submissive to their husbands. “Tide your home, it must look flawless” or “Anticipate and prepare a delicious dinner for his arrival”. Can you imagine those headlines in a campaign nowadays? Luckily not, as they are the reflection of a social moment very different of the one we live today.

We are lucky to work in one of the most permeable industries to social trends and changes. And for this reason, we are forced to be very active observers of everything around us. We are participants of the scene we observe, so we are in a really special situation, in which we are both analysts and protagonists of the reality analyzed.

It is rather obvious that societies have been evolving throughout history, but what is really interesting now is how quickly everything changes, including ourselves. For an advertiser who developed a career in the last decades, may have noticed that the target analysis was easier back then.

Today, for example, we find family models relatively new years ago. Moreover, in many of these families the role of women and the roles traditionally assigned to them have also changed. The way of relating and the responsibilities within the family nucleus have evolved and without a doubt this directly influences the definition of some target profiles, which have been valid for a long time, but which have currently ceased to be so. For example, the gradual disappearance of the ‘housewife’ and the emergence of the figure of the “responsible for home purchase” (Spanish RCH) –homemaker or family buyer- reflect this new social reality that communication professionals must take into account.

On the other hand, migratory movements, the ease of traveling, knowing in real time what happens anywhere in the planet makes us live in increasingly open, cross-cultural, cosmopolitan societies. We are therefore facing targets avid for knowledge, but at the same time with a much more critical spirit and higher demands with respect to their dialogues with brands.

Another influential elements in our industry is sustainability awareness, which has become a global movement particularly rooted in the younger generations, and without any doubt a trend that will cause a strong impact on traditional consumption models. In this case, the level of demand for brands’ good practices is increasing, therefore, becoming another factor that will guide the relationship that brands establish with consumers through the advertising industry.

To all this, we have to add other rising trends, especially among the younger generations who have suffered the ravages of a crisis that has diminished their future expectations, and who face a way of life in which the expression ‘long term’ makes in many aspects, little sense, particularly in the work sphere. This is a generation that seeks true relationships with brands, without this meaning to commit to any of them beyond the consumption experience. Another relevant feature of this generation in terms of its relationship with brands is a clear preference for everything that is experiential, therefore, brands inclined to establish closeness and trust relationships should undoubtedly rely on offering something beyond the simple consumption of its products.

In all, sustainability, new family models, the role of women, multiculturalism, the hyper-connectivity, and the evolution towards more committed social values in certain aspects, though very liberal in others, are some of the key trends to understand in general terms what are the expectations, concerns, motivations and inspirations of the society we live in. An exciting moment, but very complex at the same time and advertising professionals face this reality as both protagonists and observers.

María Miras, beon. Communication Director