Friday, January 9, 2009


Myths are like a cultural map
we can start understanding society through repetition of myths
(i.e. Jolly Green Giant is linked to a fertility God)
These archetypes are not used to manipulate
the brand still has to deliver and truly be represented by the
archetype you are using.

Some examples:
1. Innocent: Sense of wonder (like a little kid), ideas of paradise, ads for vacation destinations, museum of Television and Radio (LA and NYC), Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Whole Foods, “Teach the World to Sing” Coca Cola ad, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, Forest Gump, Ikea, Baskin Robins, Ronald McDonald.

2. Explorer: Trying to find a better world, desires to travel somewhere or be on the move, usually a solitary activity. Ford Explorer, Jeep, Huck Finn, Homer’s Odyssey, freelancers, stumble upon, channel surfing. (Side note: Starbucks is named after a character in Moby Dick – it is an explorer brand).

3. Sage: Someone that transmits knowledge. It can be anyone throughout history, or it can be someone current. Oprah (and her book club); Persephone (and her understanding of the underworld and the connection of ordinary life and death). Also there are sage organizations such as universities.

4. Hero: Singular journey triumphing over evil. Usually someone that sees things different or thinks differently. Oedipus, Hamlet, King Lear. A long time ago the post man was a hero. Now FedEx is a hero brand as are the Armed Forces, Green marketing and Nike (Nike and Apple are used too much as an example).

5. Outlaw: Romantic figures in literature such as Robin Hood and Lex Luther. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, Bonnie and Clyde, the Godfather, Darth Vadar, Altamont (following the innocence of Woodstock). They have a positive and negative side. They are usually angry and victimize people. AKA Shadow Characters (Carl Jung’s term). Brands include Harley Davidson and Captain Morgan.

6. Magician: They can transmit knowledge, but they are different from the sage because they can transform something ordinary into something extraordinary. Harry Potter and Yoda, Hotels (Travelodge), Cruise lines (Carnival), Mastercard’s “Priceless” commercials, energizer bunny, ponsie scheme.
Spontaneous order: antithesis of chaos; people not crashing into each other on ice
rinks or during rush hour. Jung’s term: synchronisity

7. Every person/Regular person: We identify with and feel like we belong. Democracy, Seinfeld, The Dove Real Beauty Campaign. Basically brands that make friends with people, initial launch of Saturn, we all secretly want to belong and be accepted

8. Lover: Romance, intimacy, deep friendship (much deeper level of intimacy than every person), belonging. Cupid, Venus, Hallmark, Victoria Secret, Burger King

9. Jester: Trickster used to lighten things up. Shakespeare used these characters a lot. Advertising is a jesters’ career. Lots of jester stuff is male oriented (Budlight etc)

10. Caregiver: Selflessness and protection, moats, fences, police, Mother Theresa, Demeter (goddess of harvest), Florence Nightingale.

11. Creator: Artist or innovator, painter, chef, crayola crayons, legos, cooking shows, Sherwin WIliams Paint

12. Ruler: Leadership role, has control. Google and Microsoft.

Assignment Number 2: for Monday:
- find 5 off-brands (not Nike, Apple) fit into the categories on the handout which lists different archetypes. Write a few sentences supporting your category choice for each.


lena said...

just an observation: some brands don't seem to have a pure distinctive archetype, in others archetypes might overlap.

curiosity said...

true. i can see how there are many that might overlap. can you give me an example of a couple that don't have any distinctive archetype.

lena said...

I guess what I meant is that many companies don't have a clear message. They try to be all things to all people.