Marketing is all around us. From the moment we leave for work in the morning to the late-night drive home we are constantly bombarded by marketing campaigns designed to entice and draw us in. It’s become invisible to us now, but marketing has been a huge shaper of our culture. It’s crazy to think about what the world could look like if certain marketing campaigns had not succeeded. What if Apple never launched its 1984 campaign? Without that iconic video, would a generation have embraced computers and the internet so quickly? These questions can’t be answered but understanding how marketing can shape a generation and the world is important for everyone, especially future marketers and public relations professionals. As individuals in the PR field, it is crucial to understand the ethical and social ramifications of the narratives we create around our clients. There are two instances that truly highlight how marketing can change the world, both positive and negative these campaigns brought great change to the world:
A Diamond is Forever
Starting in the early age of 1947, the NW Ayer Ad agency launched a revolution with their famous “A Diamond is Forever” slogan. This one marketing push from a small agency ignited a storm across America. Diamonds adopted a new meaning. They became a sign of wealth, a token that announced one’s status to the world. Diamonds truly became forever once the jewelry industry realized how marketable they were. Looking at the present, the diamond market is valued in the billions. Everlasting love now starts with buying a ring. But what did this cost the world? Millions of lives are lost every year due to the manufacturing of diamonds. All diamonds we purchase are polluted with a dark history and come off the backs of marginalized people. The NW Ayer Ad agency could not have known what their simple and catchy slogan could have triggered; their efforts do leave future PR professionals with a lesson to learn from. What we say matters, no matter how simple a phrase or ad once we create a story it is hard to squash; having a sense of foresight and keeping close to your ethics should go along with what we create for our clients.
Just Do it Campaign
Nike, one of the world’s leading athletic brands, has been immensely successful with its marketing campaigns throughout the years. Coined in 1988, the “Just Do It” slogan has been a source of inspiration for individuals seeking to be more physical. The “Just Do It” campaign opened up the athletic market to a wider range of individuals, and people became motivated by the positive feeling the slogan seemed to invoke. Fitness didn’t seem so daunting because Nike expertly connected a positive feeling to it. Now “Just Do It” has surpassed its initial athletic meaning, it has become a household phrase, a new anthem that encourages you to accomplish your goals. As PR professionals, we should look at Nike and feel inspired by how far it took market strategies to not only expand its brand but solidify itself within the minds of its audience.