Having raked in more than $1 billion at the box office, Furious 7 is the most successful film of this decade. Meanwhile, US TV show Empire has become one of the most successful dramas to hit the small screen since the late ‘90s, boasting an audience that’s grown in size for ten consecutive weeks. And in the UK, one of the most successful advertising campaigns of this year so far has been Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’.
What connects these three success stories? Authenticity and familiarity. Put simply, people want to see themselves accurately represented by the brands and media they buy into. Whether it’s the 75% non-Caucasian audience flocking to the box office to catch Furious 7, or the fact 61% of Empire’s viewership is African American, people are hungry for familiarity.
In the case of This Girl Can, it’s about advertising that features real women. “Women do respond to female athletes in advertising, but they’re so far away from their own experience that they don’t actually relate to them,” explains Tanya Joseph, director of business partnerships at Sport England. “Instead they feel empowered by women just like them who may not achieve the greatest athletic achievements but have the courage to put themselves out there.”
And it’s not just young, niche audiences that respond to this. Boomers feel so woefully misrepresented that only 4% of them think brands meet their needs online. Perhaps that’s why Vision Express convinced Sir Trevor McDonald to make his advertising debut in its new ‘eyewitness’ spot. It doesn’t matter who your audience is, they’ll always engage more with authentic reflections of real life.
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Written by Olly Chubb, head of client services at Canvas8