The Mad Men Metaphor

May 20 2014


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I frequently speak with my clients about the importance of seven year cycles in our lives, beginning around age 7. Imagine my pleasure when I happened to be reading an interview in Vulture with Matthew Weiner, the brilliant creator of Mad Men, in which he talks about his own cycle.

On discussing coming down to the end of the series, he says, "I wrote the pilot when I was 35, got it on the air when I was 42, and I will be 49 when it ends. That’s a huge part of my life.” From a psychological astrological perspective, he’s describing the angles of the planet Saturn moving through our charts. I find that many of my clients “feel the call” and come to me to begin working in a new major to use more of themselves as they approach any or all of these ages. Think about where you are in your career and creativity right now. Are you approaching 28, 35, 42 years old? Feeling the urge?

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Market Trending: Kmart Raps Its Way to the Top

August 23 2013

Retailers go through cycles in which they gain and then lose market share. Of course, the reasons for these cycles are complex, ranging from everything to being out of touch with consumer tastes and trends, downturns in the economic cycles to making mistakes in repositioning their offerings and brand voice. Currently suffering mightily in public perception and market confidence is the Kmart franchise. In 2012 they shut down eighty-four stores, but they have been dealing with declining sales for the past six years.

Market trends have shown the business’ decline is mainly due toe loss of popularity among younger consumers. Feeling desperate to staunch their losses and bad PR, and In order to appeal to a hipper teen audience, Kmart is now trying to refine their brand image by teaming up with viral sensation Da Rich Kids, a group of young rappers all younger than age thirteen. Kmart asked the group to create a rap song about the discount store and thus “My Limo” was born.

    

                                                       Image via www.fastcocreate.com

My Limo has already received millions of views and is featured in the retailer’s latest television commercial. This new partnership may push Kmart back up the ranks and sway younger generations to shop at KMart, but the affiliation seems a bit out of left field. In addition, there have been a few reports of older customers being unhappy that the rap commercial portrays only African-American children promoting a brand that is known for low prices. However, the ads are too new to calculate exactly how big or small the effect has been so far with any of their target audiences.

Keep in mind that brands must be credible in order to cement consumer loyalty and maintain longevity in the marketplace. Kmart would need a family of products with legs that are in alignment with the spirit of My Life and that would continue to attract the same type of audience. A flash in the pan doesn’t work long term at retail, as it’s critical to maintain your brand voice in everything you do. Hence the consistent success of brands such as Burberry, Diesel, and Vans, who really know what they are doing in this regard.

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