Rory Sutherland recently blogged about what he terms as ‘pub law’. It’s a fascinating read so I suggest you head on over first, then pop back. In summary his analogy is that “a club is something you keep to yourself and your kind: a great pub is something you share.” So in the same way a great pub relies on sharing a generation and class blend, the same can be true of the major modern brands. Think Easyjet, Starbucks, John Lewis, Google, Ebay and Tesco et al. These brand are all ‘wonderfully open’ and accessible across class.
Yet part of this classless brand appeal, or pub law, lies also in the breakdown of generation differences and the homogenisation of taste within families: Dads and sons who sing The Beatles and Oasis, our Parents who listen to iPods, Mums and daughters who love Primark and gossip at Starbucks. The emergence of all this following the sense of liberation of which the end of WWII brought, has a great deal to do with this ‘generation cuddle’. Ironically, the same cross-class society that ancient villages harboured, where the farmer lived near the butcher and the policeman is returning to the major brands demographic. Accessible to all. Elitist to none.
In my spare time from Art Direction I row for a historic rowing club, and in doing so share the changing rooms and bar with politicians, farmers and electricians. Now that wouldn’t have happened 40 years ago.
All of this is what makes advertising less sure of itself, and at the same time creates an enthralling set of challenge to tackle. Advertising is in exciting times bar the recent struggles, and I’m certain it’ll emerge with a whole new glorious era to face.