In previous posts I’ve been a strong proponent of the use of spokescharacters as part of the marketing mix – in the right situation it communicates brand value without the risks inherent in hiring au courant talent (O.J. Simpson, Michael Vick, etc.). Today I happened upon an announcement that reminded me of another risk that marketers take – sometimes, it pays off, and sometimes not.
Bob Dylan, of all anti-establishment people, is now flogging Cadillac. It brings news value, no doubt. And to a younger demographic, perhaps the imprimatur of an iconic elder is, well, whatever passes for cool.
But I promise you, there will be many who see this as an abrogation of the values, or “positioning” of this iconic figure, and not only shun the act, but also shun the brand behind it. It’s a bit of a twist, but it has its roots in a corollary to the Veblen Curve (remember your Economics 101?) known as the snob effect. Generally used to explain the rare occurrence when demand increases as price increases, the snob effect also, in its own perverse way, causes consumers to reject pitches if they conflict with the consumers’ self-image. As in “I love Dylan, he’s cool, therefore I’m cool, but now he’s sold out to a gas-guzzling SUV, and that’s not cool …” You can fill in the rest.
This, as they say, is a minefield. As marketers look to serve them that’s got (Boomers) they must tread carefully. These folks are very picky about their memories, and that will only become more pronounced as they begin to spend their retirement savings on who knows what.
Kinda makes me glad I work for a company that provides users a way to preserve what they want to preserve in exactly the way they want to preserve it. At SharedBook, the user rules.