A boy looks at a map of the world and dreams of what he will be when he grows up

Marketing with cultural mythologies

What’s the best marketing you’ve ever seen? In my experience, marketing that tells a story sells products better than any other method. For advertising to work well, you don’t have to have a full story — one with a beginning, middle, end, and a hero. Instead, you need to tap in to the viewers’ shared experiences — our cultural mythologies — like, for instance, the ever-present question asked of children: What do you want to be when you grow up? Monster used that shared experience in this brilliant Super Bowl ad from 1999:

The ad used common, boring office tasks like filing, competitive action like “brown nosing,” and anti-desires like “When I grow up, I want to be underappreciated” to encourage people to use their service to find a new job. Twenty years later, there are hundreds of options online to search for jobs, but the ad still hits the viewer right in the gut. It makes the viewer think, “Wow. I never aspired to be a [whatever you are now]. When I was ten, I was going to follow my dreams! Be a hero! Be president! Start my own business! Is it too late? Maybe it’s not too late!” And then, the viewer follows the call to action to get on Monster and find another job.

America’s cultural mythology about childhood aspiration is the key component to the Monster ad. No one wants their life story to go from “someday, I’m going to be a hero,” to “someday, I’m going to alphabetize the crap out of these files!” And thus, the Monster ad taps into cultural mythology and shared experience to inspire the viewers to reinvigorate their dreams. It’s pretty brilliant.

It’s entirely possible to use the same strategy when building your brand on a website. Images and text work together to tell your story and create interest in your products. But if you want to go one step farther, thinking of ways to inject cultural mythology and shared experience into your brand’s story will take your website from good to great instantly. TikiKitchen can help you with that. Set up an appointment with us, and we’ll show you how.

Marcia Eppich-Harris

Marcia Eppich-Harris is a writer, editor, entrepreneur, and creative director. With strong attention to detail and a critical eye, Marcia innovates everyday ideas, making the ordinary extraordinary. Her love of writing, theatre, literature, history, and philosophy inspire creative ways to market your passion.

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