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Microtargetting Uncertainties and Anxieties

A colleague sent an ad that recently came out. Its for Wildstone talc and it aims for making men feel ashamed for using the normal talc which had traditionally been targeted to women.



Its very humorous and does a good work of accentuating men's anxiety about their manliness. Perhaps, a sustained effort on this front with a few more players joining in would certainly create enough anxiety amongst men not to use 'women's talc'. It has already happened in a lot of other categories.
The reportage and analysis about matters of creation of sub-segments is peppered with words such as 'progress' 'maturity of market'. They are not wrong.. creation of segments is symptomatic of growing purchasing power, increased nucleation of needs.. a movement to western style first-worldliness if you will.


But it is also symptomatic of a greater humanistic and social malaise. Sonal talks at her blog about the collective conscience that brands of yesteryears built is non existent now thanks to micro-targetting. TV was seen as a nation building tool and served the purpose for a while, before the fragmentation of the medium started and polarisation of narrower consumer world began. From an outwardly accomodating world, the multiplicity is creating insecure, tight-compartmentalized and gate-walled communities.


The increased micro targeted communications are creating anxieties and making people unsure about what they are 'supposed to need/want'. Their reference points are no longer their own thoughts and needs but rather what they should probably need being a certain person they aspire to be (the reference being the commercial personality projected in media.)
This begs consideration as to how does this collective communication salvo, affect the consumer's choices; his ability to decide; and his triggers for actions.
At this juncture where the identity of a person is not his to decide, but a uncertain choice from amongst the commercial images that he wants to subscribe to; his uncertainties lend to the shakiness of loyalty towards not just segments but brands too.
So a man who had been comfortable with his skin and use of talc was just hygiene, now has to worry about people judging him for it. anxiety now seeded in him, he would be intrinsically unsure due to product parity but brand polarities and would have to lend mindspace to something he never had to before.
Congratulations mr. brand, you have got another gullible soul 'involved'. But if the consumer is unsure about the segment, how can he be sure about the brand? what trope will be chain him to the brand irrespective of what 'business the brand gets in'?

Update: Came across these excellent relevant pieces ...
a slideshow of history of body shaming ads by slate


and slate's take on the dove's 'go sleeveless' campaign  
ans this one by the awesome stephen colbert about the same Dove' recent campaign

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