BBDO recently conducted a survey investigating the powers of rituals in our lives..
Human beings are creatures of habit—the morning coffee with two sugars, the post-lunch brush and floss, the bedtime yoga routine with lights dimmed. Advertisers, on the other hand, often try to break those habits by wedging new products and services into various parts of the day.
BBDO came up with five rituals that occur every day in every part of the world:
- “preparing for battle” (the morning ritual);
- “feasting” (reconnecting with your tribe over food);
- “sexing up” (primping);
- “returning to camp” (leaving the work place) and
- “protecting yourself for the future” (the ritual before bed).
Each label is meant to suggest a defined emotional state that permeates each set of behaviors. The notion resonates with anthropologist Norman Stolzoff, founder of Ethnographic Insight. “The idea that the day could be carved up into meaningful times is clever,” he says.
“Rituals form meaning.”
The challenge is that most consumers are loyal to particular products and patterns, making it tough for marketers to become part of a ritual if another brand is already there. Americans, in particular, said they use the same products every morning, though they’re more flexible about what they use at night. Russians are less predictable—only half of them use the same products as part of their morning ritual, and 19% of them use the same products before going to bed. If there’s one constant around the world, it’s this: Almost everyone gets irritated when their rituals are disrupted.