PR Trend: Humanizing Brands

Companies are moving away from the boring celebrity spokeperson and opting for a more realistic, humanized product supporter – real families.

I have been noticing this trend for a while and I LOVE it.

Nearly a century ago, McDonald’s sparked this trend when they enlisted five mothers to learn the true ins and outs of the company and to blog about it. These McDonald’s Moms brought a new perspective to marketing and PR. Other mothers trusted these women they could relate to.

Other companies have similar advertising and public relations campaigns, and several businesses have opted to use a grassroots plan by asking bloggers (especially mommy bloggers) to write reviews about their products  on the web.

Last year, The Georgia Aquarium created a trial program where they offered a “buy one adult ticket, get three kids tickets free between 12-5 M-F” deal. The catch is that they only let one mommy blogger in the Atlanta area advertise the deal. The Aquarium saw sales during that time slot more than double.

People are more likely to trust their neighbor Joe than Britney Spears about what type of lawn mower to buy. Humanizing a brand means handing over some of its power to the consumer – which can be a bit scary. Sometimes a blogger writes a bad review of a product they tested. Sometimes a fed up Blackberry user will rant about their phone on Twitter. Ultimately, however, I believe that good products will get good responses and therefore have great sales.

Other companies who have used this humanizing trend:

Toyota Sienna Family

Kleenex Virtual Mom

Microsoft’s I’m a PC campaign (great mix of celebrity and real-person testimonials)

Microsoft’s Windows 7 Was My Idea campaign (are we seeing a trend?)


About Courtney

I love to write - I even work in Corporate Communications. But my favorite thing to write are children's stories. Luckily, I have lots of little cousins to test them on!
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