Focus advertising on core needs

18 Jul

Advertising needs to focus more on our raw, core, human needs. Has humankind evolved to the point where we “need” the convenience of 24/7 banking? Do we “need” the variety offered by a particular restaurant? I don’t think so.

I think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and related models are mostly hooey, but they serve as a reminder that we were once uncivilized primates struggling for survival and that raw instinct lays beneath our socialized shells. Check out Henry Murray’s psychogenic needs, if only as a reminder of what is a core need and what isn’t. Note: convenience and variety are nowhere to be found.

The more core you go, the more emotional you get. The less rational arguments apply. That’s a good thing, when you consider most products don’t have a rational benefit over the competition anymore.

Check out the raw emotions that Harley Davidson ads have tapped into through the years.

advertising core needs


advertising core needs

Autonomy, Dominance

advertising core needs



One Response to “Focus advertising on core needs”

  1. Stephan Rosger July 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Touched on some good point there.

    Referring to Henry Murray’s psychogenic needs is a solid base to work from. When you read this list of needs you could easily exchange the human model with a dog, or any other animal because, after all, we are animals ourselves.

    We have a dog belonging to the landlord in our back yard, awesome dog but suffering from a little bit of dementia as it’s getting pretty old. It’s hard to engage with him by playing etc, but once you get down to some of the stronger core needs he reacts as if he just turned into a puppy, and is seemingly completely coherent. By this I mean giving him a piece of bread, a bone etc.

    In advertising, these bones serve the same purpose don’t they? By tending to our core needs, they try to cut through the clutter and confusion (much like our poor old dementia dog) and skillfully to entice us to engage or buy. Right?

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