Is the age of escapism as we know it over? The marketing world would suggest perhaps with giants like Google, Coke and Skype showing us the way

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Over the past few years the advertising world has been growing its appetite for true stories. The power of authenticity is nothing new but the desire for realism and relevance is becoming something demanded by consumers. The human side of Brands and their role in the world has become central to their communication and marketing efforts. Beyond being more honest about what they do and what they stand for, it forces, to a certain degree, a more real and honest behaviour. The reason is that the deterrent to do other wise is very powerful: consumer retaliation on social networks.

Google Chrome is one of the more noticeable Brands that has fully embraced this philosophy early on. Their marketing efforts show how Chrome affects the real lives of those who are part of “their family” (see the best Chrome content here). They seem to peek into the lives of their consumers and simply take a snapshot of their reality with Chrome to show the world of the endless possibilities, endless creative expressions, endless fun that you can have with Chrome. While some of the stories are remarkable, non are over-the top where they become unapproachable or unbelievable.

Coke is also a vigorous proponent of this way of marketing its Brand. Over the past years we have seen its efforts focus on real stories of happiness. Their Security Camera film (see here), their Forgotten Letters Christmas effort (see here), their Go Crazy film (see here), and recently their Smile Back film (see below). They know that showing and triggering real actions of happiness is the only true way of taking cultural leadership of their point of view in the world. Therefore authentic stories versus contrived ones creates true emotional resonance with their consumers.

Skype has most recently embarked on this type of marketing communications approach. Their Family Portraits campaign shows how Skype keeps all types of families bonded even though they are physically a great distances from one another. This seems like a no-brainer marketing initiative and, in my opinion, lacks the creative spark that Coke and Google apply, but the real stories are very emotional and thus very powerful. Will this initiative get more people to use Skype, doubtful. They need to inject some of their unique services into the stories to show how Skype makes these family moments truly unique experiences.

There are countless more Brands that have focus heavily on this type of “anti-escapism” marketing, Dulux and Dove immediately come to mind. All this simply underscores that highly glossy marketing efforts that take you to a different world don’t have the guaranteed attraction power that they once had. People seem to want to be more grounded, deal with the reality around them right now, and they expect Brands to play a significant role in helping them accomplish this. What do you think?

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