Friday, 25 February 2011

Generational Marketing: Boomers vs. Xers - Audi A8

The main weakness of the Audi is that their competitors, mainly Mercedes and BMW, are luxury brands that have been around a long time, and are established as luxury cars.

The key message for the "Escape the old luxury" campaign is that Luxury has progressed. Audi took advantage of its main weakness turning it into a selling point and created a commercial that attempts to classify Audi automobiles as the new luxury brand in contrast to Mercedes as the old luxury brand.

Throughout the commercial they contrast two men buy having one seem born rich and not very smart, while the other is quick, athletic, and modern.

It was a great commercial that turned out to be even more effective move once Mercedes played their commercial. The Mercedes ad showed their cars throughout history and ended up making Mercedes look old allowing Audi’s strategy stand out.


The Audi commercial plays on a Generation divide ad specifically on the differences between Baby Boomers and Generation X.

A cultural generation is a cohort of people who were born in the same date range and share similar cultural experience (Brown) .

A generation gap is the difference in behaviour and the lack of understanding between generations (Oxford Wordpower Dictionary).

 Consumers in all generations must deal with the same current conditions. But each generation will respond to these developments in ways that are determined by a the early shared experiences that shaped their world view, expectations and aspirations.
Members of a generation are linked through the shared life experiences of their formative years. pop culture, economic conditions, world events, natural disasters, heroes, villains, politics and technology are all experiences that created bonds that unite the members of a generation. As a result, each cohort develops and retains its own shared values and life skills as they learn what to hold dear and how to navigate life.

_______________________BABY BOOMERS

Growing up in the unparalleled prosperity of the post-WWII years (born 1946-64), Baby Boomers were doted on by parents delighted to be able to give their children the material advantages they had not had themselves.

The post-war generation benefited from an unprecedented combination of benign economic conditions.

The great burst of innovation through the 1950s and 60s, from TVsto missions to the moon, shaped Boomer visions of limitless future possibilities (Kirkup).

GENERATION X________________________

Generation X (born 1965–78) is sometimes characterized as a “forgotten” generation.

Growin up in a period of uncertain economic conditions and caught up between the Baby Boomers and the Echo Boomer, two generations that are 30 to 40 percent larger, the Xers learned early in life to be self-reliant, skeptical and pragmatic to maximize the likelihood of achievement.

Xers have been raised with television, videogames and the first PCs therefore they can be considered the first digital natives.

For Xers, it's less about guaranteeing success in life and more about ensuring survival.

Xers are on the cusp of entering their peak earning years en masse.
Many experts place peak earning years between the ages of 40 and 54 highlighting a great potential to target this group (Marketing Charts 


According to Yankelovich Report both generations are characterized by 3 core values

Individuality: a lifelong celebration of self and disregard for the “old rules”.

Self absorption: a dedication to focusing their energies on maximizing their unique qualities and life experience.
    Youthfulness: the drive to stay vital and connected to the world, ignoring what's expected in outlook or behavior at any given age.
Savvy: a combination of critical judgment, knowledge and wariness.

Diversity: during their formative years, Xers were the first to represent meaningful ethnic diversity, household diversity (the first “children of divorce”) and lifestyle diversity.

Entrepreneurial mindset: driven by a need to forge a future on their own terms. They feel that they can't rely on anyone or anything. They develop their own talents, use their own judgment and succeed in their own way


In order to target Xers the spot features the promoted Twitter hashtag #ProgessIs, and Twitter users participating in the hashtag relay automatically entered themselves into an Audi contest with the chance to win a series of swish prizes.

Social-networking sites such as Bebo, MySpace and Facebook are traditionally associated with younger users in their mid-teens to early twenties, but when it comes to micro-blogging site Twitter, ComScore found that this demographic segment was 12pc less likely than average to visit while is massive the presence of people from late twenties to early forties.

57% (60 million) of twitter users are aged 26-44 while only 19% users are aged 44+ (digital surgeons).

See you soon Hitchhikers and...don't leave the Earth without the Guide!

>Brown S. (2003) Marketing to Generation(R). Harvard Business Review. June. v. 16, no. 6
>Digital Surgeons (2010) Facebook vs. Twitter: a Breakdown of 2010 Social Demographics[online]. Available from:
>Marketing Charts (2010) Gen X,Y Will Lead Economic Recovery[online]. Available from:
>The Futures Company (2009) Yankelovich MONITOR Minute, May 2009                                           
>The Futures Company (2008) Yankelovich MONITOR Think Tank, Q2, 2008

United Values of Benetton

In the spring of 1996, billboards all over the world were invaded by an image of three hearts overprinted with the words “White, Black, Yellow” - the new anti-racist message launched by United Colors of Benetton in conjunction with SOS Racisme.
Benetton SpA, a family-run apparel company, initiated a worldwide print advertising campaign in 1982 to promote its chic line of colorful youth-oriented clothing.
Under the direction of award-winning fashion photographer Oliviero Toscani, the "United Colors of Benetton" campaign continued through 1998. Instead of showing pieces of clothes,  Benetton marketers released photographs that were lauded by other advertising agencies, banned by governments, reviled by newspaper columnists and social critics, and successfully created an extremely high profile for the brand.

The first part of the united colours campign was based on confilcts: racial, sexual and moral. All of these conflicts were based on taboos, on the impossibility of co-existence, on a difference that separates rather than unites. The Benetton brand made a commitment to foster the cohabitation of opposites, to break down barriers and ensure dialogue and to unite differences under a single flag, the flag of its own logo.

Luciano Benetton, the company founder, told the Times (London) that "the company's goal is to communicate, to invite discussion and debate about the universal issues and problems that affect us all. Our advertising is designed to overcome at times … the barriers of indifference everywhere."
Instead of reproducing the tired images of glamorous women that characterized the vast majority of fashion advertising, Benetton tried to make the company's image unique going to the heart of society's collective yearning for peace, unity and harmony. People were buying the message, and the image, when they bought the label.

Benetton advertising strategy has aimed to create “value” by capitalizing on an image.
A company that emphasizes value and chooses to create value is no longer communicating with the consumer but with the individual, as a result the brand identified its target on the basis of a shared vision of what is important, starting from a set of common values.

The Benetton campaign was perfectly suited to the audience of 18- to 34-year-olds.
By promoting Benetton as a company concerned about social issues and unafraid to buck the establishment, the campaign resonated with many of their  ideals and values.
Moreover, a sizable portion of the intended audience of the "United Colors" campaign were members of the so-called generation X (born between late 60s and early 80s), who had been raised with television and a steady barrage of advertising messages.
(See also "Generational Marketing"
These consumers were often bored with conventional, "buy this product because… " marketing techniques. To succeed with this group, it was imperative to stand out from the mass of advertising. The campaign's in-your-face attitude was designed to achieve exactly this result by placing Benetton's spots in contrast to some of the more mundane advertising.
The issues explored in the Benetton campaigns that drew the most criticism were those that were the most familiar to generation X consumers.
As the younger audience had grown up in the era of AIDS the prevention was a message they had heard time and again, and they responded to this issue in a way older consumers did not.

Similarly, while the campaign's melting of advertising and journalism was heavily criticized generation Xers, used to hyped "entertainment news",  were more apt to view this as appropriate or interesting.


What are values?
How can they influence a consumer behaviour?

Conceptualization of the term value reflect the interest of several disciplines:

- Sociology: "a value is a concept which groups toghether  some modes of behaviour in our society." (Bronowsky)

- Psychology: "a value is a centrally held, enduring belief which guides actions and judgements across specific situations and beyond immediate goals to more ultimate end-states of existence." (Rokeach)

- Marketing: "a value is the extent to which a good or service is perceived by its customer to meet his or her needs or wants. The willingness to purchase a product commonly depends more on the customer's perception of the worth of it than on its intrinsic value." (Vinson et al.)

Those definitions suggest a close connection between values, beliefs, needs, goals and end states.

Needs and beliefs are closely interlinked in the creation of values (Weller) which will drive consumer purchasing decision.

Maslow created a hierarchy of needs in 1954 in order to explain how people's values and consequent attitudes change on the base of end states achievement.

Having fulfilled low-hierarchy needs, customers will reach the self-actualization stage which is the one in which Benetton adverts operate.

According to the psycologyst Milton Rokeach attitudes can be identified with Instrumental values which are actions needed to achieve terminal values or end states (Solomon et al.).

For a World of peace, equality and inner harmony, somebody would be broad-minded and responsible which are values linked to Benetton products through the United Colors campaign.

Consumers tend to link specific product attitudes to terminal values therefore they value products if they provide the means to some desired ends.

Consumers' associations between specific attributes are through a technique called laddering.

"The Answer to the Great Question, of Life, the Universe and Consumer Behaviour is...The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Customer" said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

Hang on to your towel and see you soon Space wanderers!


>Bronowsky, J. (1990) Science and Human Values. New York: Harper Perennial
>Rokeach, M. (1973). The Nature of Human Values. New York: Free Press
>Solomon, M., Bamossy, G., Askegaard, S., & Hogg, M. (2010). Consumer Behaviour: a european perspective.
>Vinson, E. E., Scott, J. E., and Lamont, L. M. (1977). The Role of Personal Values in Marketing and Consumer Behavior. Journal of Marketing. (April), 44-50
>Weller, D. (1974). Who buys: a study of the consumer. London: Sir Isaac Pitman and sons.

The Benetton Unhate campaign 2011

The images are digitally manipulated but they send a pointed message. The newly unveiled UNHATE Foundation seeks to promote a culture of tolerance and combat hatred around the world, the company said in a news release.

“Unhate is a message that invites us to consider that hate and love are not as far away from each other as we think,” the campaign’s website said. “Actually, the two opposing sentiments are often in a delicate and unstable balance. Our campaign promotes a shift in the balance: don’t hate, Unhate.”

The website features photos of people holding large banners of the images “on the walls of locations symbolic of the desperately-needed peace process: Tel Aviv, New York, Rome, Milan and Paris,” the news release says.

Palestian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing in Tel-Aviv
The ads have already become a source of controversy.
After the images went up, the Vatican quickly denounced an image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Egyptian Imam Ahmed el Tayyeb on the lips.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi called the digitally altered image an “unacceptable” and offensive manipulation of the pope’s likeness, according to the Associated Press.
Benetton removed the image shortly thereafter and it is no longer on the website.