Does Advertising Need To Be Relatable To Be Effective?

By now, I’m surprised if you haven’t seen this post by Bugaboo or the social commentary surrounding it.  Long story short, a proportion of mothers can be seen to be vocalising how unrealistic it is for a mother to be running in a bikini with a figure such as Ymre Stiekema, pictured.  Bugaboo have been very clear, Stiekema is a model and the image was shot for Vogue Netherlands.  Just like you, Bugaboo think it is unrealistic for a mother to be running in a bikini! Along with this, Stiekema is a model, therefore it is expected for her to have a competitive figure. Surely this is an instance where women should be showing support to a mother who has worked hard to re-gain her pre-baby body and also returned to work with a young child.

A portion of critics on social media have been commenting how the advertising “must be” ineffective given the low proportion of mums who actually look like this.  Firstly, it can be reasonably inferred Bugaboo posted this on their Facebook page to create engagement with their users/supporters.  This objective has certainly been achieved by people talking about it (both positively and negatively).  After all, the image on Facebook has been liked 1, 787 times and shared 287 times, along with the 683 comments (as at 02 August 2015).

Secondly, Bugaboo targets modern, design aware, style conscious parents. Many celebrities can be seen pushing Bugaboo’s, including Kate Middleton, Amanda Peet, Jessica Ennis, Hilary Duff and Tamara Ecclestone.  Therefore, Bugaboo aren’t targeting the everyday mum and this image is probably relatable to these mums.

Finally, consumers make purchases to satisfy a number a needs. These may be situational, functional, social, psychological or knowledge.  The purchase of a Bugaboo stroller could satisfy either a functional need, a social need (the need for acceptance or a perceived look/status in society) or a psychological need (the feeling of risk reduction or assurance given the amount of celebrity owners).  Therefore, provided the advertisement demonstrates the use of the brand satisfying one of these needs, it is likely to be an effective advert.

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