January 24th, 2024

From Myth to Marketing: How Archetypes Shape Brand Stories

Vladislava Genova

By Vladislava Genova

Dear Reader, here’s how this story begins.

Once upon a time, about a century ago, the brilliant psychologist Carl Gustav Jung introduced a captivating concept known as ‘human archetypes’. 

From the perspective of Jung’s Analytical psychology, an archetype is an ancient blueprint deeply ingrained within our collective unconscious, shared by people across all cultures. In simpler terms, you can think of archetypes as universal ideas, behaviours, and survival instincts that echo through myths, legends, and folk tales. 

At first, this idea may sound a bit weird and far-fetched. But the thing is that Jung didn’t stumble upon it by chance. As an explorer of the human psyche, he dived deep into the ancient wisdom of tribes from the East to the West. He found that despite the vast distances and cultural differences, the same archetypal motifs recurred in art, literature, paintings, and sculptures. The same mythological themes even appeared in his clients’ dreams, often unrelated to their personal experiences. This is how Jung concluded that archetypes are universal symbols, residing deep in our subconscious mind. 

Picture archetypal events like the hero’s journey, the trials of parenthood, the mystic’s quest, or the impending apocalypse. They’re the stories that shape our lives, etching themselves into our very being. These archetypes manifest as characters, like the hero, the wise elder, the nurturing mother, or the shadowy antagonist, each leaving their mark on our thoughts and actions.

But here’s the twist – archetypes come to life when they’re awakened within us. They could be sparked by an image, a story, or even a dream.

In other words, Jung’s archetypes aren’t just abstract concepts. They’re the stories we live and the characters we become.

Advertising Alchemy: Transforming Brands with Archetypal Magic

Imagine the world of advertising as a Marvel movie where archetypes are the stars of the show. They’re the key to unlocking the hearts and minds of viewers. 

Take the “Hero”, for example. We’ve all seen Nike’s epic commercials featuring Michael Jordan soaring through the air, inspiring us to conquer our challenges. It’s not just about sports. It’s about tapping into our inner hero, a universally cherished figure. The archetype of the hero (saviour) is also actualized in the commercials for the cleaning products “Mr. Proper”, “The Old Spice”, and “Ride Max”.

Then there’s the “Caregiver”. Think of those heartwarming ads for medicines and remedies. The loving, protective mother figure takes centre stage, reminding us of the importance of care and compassion. Even Milka’s “Share a piece of love” campaign emphasises the joy of caring for one another. Coca-Cola is also a great example – it is known to make the best commercials showing happiness, care, and love.

Now, meet the “Creator.” Apple, with its tale of Steve Jobs and the birth of a tech giant, embodies this archetype. It’s the story of turning dreams into reality, a narrative that resonates deeply with us all.

For the adventurous souls, there’s the “Explorer”. These ads invite us to break free from our comfort zones, travel, and embrace new experiences. It’s the call of the open road, the promise of adventure that captivates our hearts.

The “Magician” archetype weaves its spell in washing powder commercials. Picture a desperate lady with a stained dress – but wait, a magical solution appears, and the stain vanishes! It’s like a modern-day enchantment, reminding us that even the most daunting problems can disappear like magic.

Last but not least, don’t forget the “Ruler” and the “Outlaw.” They clash in Pepsi’s humorous commercials, with Britney Spears, Madonna, Pink, and Enrique Iglesias rebelling against the king’s rule. It’s a playful twist that taps into our desire to challenge authority and break the rules.

Did you get it already? In the dynamic stage called advertising, archetypes bring narratives to life with the whole purpose of resonating with us all. The whole idea? Well, to win our attention and to become consumers of the brand’s services and products. 

So, the next time you watch a commercial, keep an eye out for these familiar characters. And why not try to figure out what is the hidden message behind the obvious scenario? If you are in a more investigative mood, you can check the commercial’s colours and think about their mythical origins or psychological value.

In the meantime, make sure to explore our services. Discover how we can assist you in building your brand identity from the ground up.