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Chapter 3
The Three-Pound Universe
t’s easy to see why, in the 1960s, commercial persuasion branding coexisted so well with
the societal persuasion changes of the times. The refreshing, satirical mood of popular
culture was all around us, vibrantly evident on stage and in fashion, music, film, televi-
sion, the club scene—and even in print. Radio and television liberated the attitudes of the
public far more extensively than did all the marches and slogans of protestors. The adver-
tising community soaked it up, and the cheeky ones started their own revolution in market-
ing communications. The problem was that most clients had not changed.
We started looking for ways to help convince
the more conservative clients that this new
cultural, sensory language was now locked
into their customers’ heads, and, in turn, we
needed to start creating fresh concepts for
brands, packaging, and graphics. The con-
sumer was now open to ideas that reflected
the cues and codes of this cultural shift.
Fortunately, help was at hand, because
there were lots of new theories from the
psychiatrists, psychologists, and sociolo-
gists about what might be going on in the
Maslow’s Hierarchy
Abraham Maslow, Ph.D., studied monkeys
and found there was a definite rank order in
the basic needs that monkeys chose to sat-
isfy. Thirst came first, then shelter, and only
then did they look for food and companion-
ship. When Dr. Maslow went on to study hu-
mans, he found that they acted in much the
same way. These hierarchies are still a basic
primer on how we rank our human needs
and understand our basic motivations. Many
researchers have turned these basics into
lifestyle “types” to segment target audiences
into different sociodemographic classes.
Brand planners use different sociodemo-
graphic profiles to match specific brands
with specific audience segments. They try to
focus on those consumers who theoretically
demonstrate the social behavior characteris-
tics that the brand can target with its market-
ing communications.
Wunderman, the merged successor to my
old company, Cato Johnson, breaks these
typologies into segments titled Explorers,
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The Basic Motivations within
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Aspirers, Succeeders, Reformers, Mainstream,
Strugglers, and the Resigned. Other global
corporations use titles such as Aspirers,
Achievers, and Creatives, among others. I’ve
consistently found that solely as stand-alone
words, these evocative descriptors can be
useful in stimulating the imaginations of
creatives and clients in brand-planning ses-
sions. However, these descriptions, without
visual explanations, are still just words.
It is vital to note that the stereotypical im-
ages that make up the mosaics we use in
our work are quite purposely drawn from
film, the media, and other cultural sources
that audiences have seen many times. Until a
large number of subjects or activity-defining
pictures or illustrations become so ubiqui-
tous that they have taken up semipermanent
residence in the memories of very large
audiences, constructing these kinds of visual
metaphors is impossible. In a switch on the
research truism that people can’t tell you
what they don’t know, they can tell you
how they feel when exposed to ideas they
can see. This method of creatively construct-
ing original concepts from very familiar
pieces is sometimes called “scrap art” by
severely left-brained clients. This usually
isn’t meant as a compliment, but these care-
fully designed pieces do use “scraps,” and
sometimes the result is a work of art. Andy
Aesthetic needs
Need to know and understand
Esteem needs
Belongingness and love needs
Safety needs
Physiological needs
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