What is a Consumer Insight? Our definition for consumer insights is the little secrets hidden beneath the surface, that explain the underlying behaviors, motivations, pain points and emotions of your consumers. Consumer insights come to life through your advertising when told in such a captivating way that makes consumers stop and say “Hmmm, that’s exactly how I feel. I thought I was the only one who felt like that.” That’s why we laugh when seeing the way that consumer insight is projected with humor, why we get goose bumps when a consumer insight is projected with inspiration and why we cry when the consumer insight comes alive through real-life drama.
Here’s how consumer insights show up in great advertising
Dove “Real Beauty”
We know that the women we see up on the runway are size 2, 103 pounds and likely 17. Movie stars have had plastic surgery. We know that print ads, even with the most beautiful women, have been photo-shopped. There are real problems in our current society with anorexia, anxiety and depression about appearance. Dove’s insight of “Women in all shapes, sizes, look are still beautiful. Let’s stop idolizing the fake and start living in the real world. Let’s be happy with what we look like”. Women connected with this insight because they already felt that way, but were just glad someone was finally saying it.
Benylin “Take a Benylin Day”
Can you ever imagine a cough medicine telling their consumers to take a day off? This one is one of my ads from a decade ago, so I know it well. Let me share the science of cough medicine: a cold lasts 7 days WITHOUT cough medicine and a cold lasts 7 days WITH a cough medicine. The big drug companies fear you will ever find that out. But in reality, the role of a cough medicine is not to cure you but to comfort you.
The consumer insight here is that “Having a cold really sucks, trying to fight through it and get to work sucks, even more, I know in the back of my mind I should call in sick and just take a day to get better. What is with all these medicines telling me how to get back to work?” Benylin captured consumers by portraying how consumers feel when they get a cold. They were happy someone was giving them permission to take a day off and rest. Online, we even gave them a script and practice sessions for how to call in sick.
Ikea “It’s just a lamp”
It’s a gutsy move by Ikea to admit that their furniture is disposable. But in reality, Ikea has loyal fans that keep coming back to the store. This Lamp ad captures consumers who connect to the insight about “whey hang onto this old lamp, it’s crazy, just get this year’s better model”.
Stella Artois “Home from the War”
Stella is a premium beer, not for all occasions. It’s worth savoring, not wasting on the everyday moments. Here is a son returning from war, his dad is so relieved to see him and the obvious moment is to give him a Stella to celebrate his return. But, the dad views Stella was such a high regard that “I love my Stella so much that I would not waste Stella, even on the man who saved my son’s life”.
Nike “Find Your Greatness”
There is a fat kid inside most of us. This ad was aired during the Olympics when the best of the best are celebrated and those who come 4th are chastised. “I know working out is good for me. I am never going to win a medal. But I still want to improve, just a little”. We don’t have to push to win a gold medal to be motivated to get out there and run.
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