In advertising, the aspirational and the relatable are locked in an eternal tug-of-war.
On one side, relatable ads offer audiences a mirror in which to see themselves as they are… The worker caught up in the grind. The family at the dinner table. Everyday, homegrown, Honeymaid.
On the other, aspirational ads offer audiences a vision of what they wish they were… Beyoncé and Jay. Kim and Kanye. Red carpets, private jets, Gucci.
But instead of asking ourselves which strategy is better, maybe we should ask ourselves if the two are actually mutually exclusive.
Purely aspirational ads can be hard to connect with. Adding a touch of normalcy can help audiences get emotionally invested. (Take Jennifer Lawrence, the celebrity next door. We do love that J Law brand.)
And purely relatable ads can come off as flat, boring, even patronizing. Adding a dab of glamour can turn a humdrum caricature of everyday life into something audiences can buy into.
But the real reason striking a balance is best? It helps us stay true to life.
No matter how casual the daily routine, there’s nothing ordinary about the human experience. Messiness and unpredictability can make life magical—and our advertising should reflect that. When it does, its authenticity will leave that lasting impression we’re looking for.