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maandag 10 februari 2020

Market segmentation and the Mentality model

From analysing the ads we found in our various corpora, it soon became obvious that not all 'modern' ads were targeting the same group of consumers.

In looking for a model that could help us further, we came across the Mentality model by Motivaction, basically a psychographic market segmentation.

(Psychographic segmentation - as opposed to for instance demographic or geographic segmentation - involves dividing your market into segments based upon different personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of consumers)

It divides the consumers into 8 groups:

The Mentality model by Motivaction

As expected, ads with the word 'modern' appear in most categories in the middle of the model, but we think we have found some - especially car ads - that appeal to the 'new conservatives' (also called 'techno-progressives' in a private communication by a Motivaction researcher).

According to Motivaction's Mentality model, the new conservatives embrace technological change, while placing importance on traditional values, social status, and family.

An example of an ad that seems to be geared at this group is the 1929 Hupmobile ad we found:

Hupmobile, 1929

This ad praises the Century Six and Century Eight Hupmobiles for their technological sophistication: their engines are as complex and 'streamlined' as modern aeroplane engines, and give the car 'smoothness, power, and flexibility'. However, it isn't all about technological innovation for its own sake. While the consumer is told that the high-tech engines of the Century Six and Eight allow the 'high-speed transport' that characterizes the twentieth century, the cars are also prominently advertised for offering the more traditional values of being 'safe and dependable', and for offering good value for money. In this way, the ad appeals to both sides of the 'new conservatives', with their interest in technological change and emphasis on tradition.

That ads for essentially the same product could also be geared at totally different groups is nicely illustrated by two silverware ads we found. In the Mentality model, the 'modern mainstream' are focused on finding a balance between traditional values and modern consumership. They are family-oriented, materialistic and attached to traditional gender roles. 'Social climbers', by contrast, are materialistic, place importance on social status, and are focused on consumption and entertainment.

The WMF ad shows a young couple who will be using the WMF silverware set in their future home. As such, it is clearly geared at the 'modern mainstream': couples and 'young people' ('jonge mensen') preparing for their mainstream family lives together. The 1881 Rogers ad, however, with its focus on Hollywood celebrities, is targeted at 'social climbers'. In contrast to the WMF advertisement, this ad presupposes a group of consumers who want to model themselves on Hollywood stars through the goods they purchase - in this case, the 'Hollywood Ensemble' silverware set.

1881 Rogers, 1938. The text balloon on the bottom left says, 'For her own table, ANITA LOUISE - now appearing "IN EVERY WOMAN'S LIFE", a Warner Bros. Picture - has chosen this lovely silverware "Service of the Stars."
WMF, 1956. The caption below the photograph reads 'this is the most beautiful modern silverware'. The headline above the photograph shows the young man lovingly telling his fiancĂ©e, 'I admire your good taste...'.

Of course, we are using the Mentality model to categorize the ads after the fact. Advertisers at the time didn't design their ads with this specific model in mind and, therefore, mapping ads onto it isn't always easy to do. It is important to note, as well, that not all ads fit into this model. However, as a tool for gaining insight into which groups advertisers wished to target, it proves useful. For one thing, it shows that ads with the word 'modern' in them were not all geared at similar consumer audiences.

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