Polarity Paradox Retail

LS:N, March 2014

From 5:2 diets and splurging and saving to bingeing on box sets before embarking on a digital detox, consumers are making sense of their lives by oscillating between extremes.

Retail, fashion and food brands are capitalising on this polarised behavior and employing new strategies to position themselves as a destination of choice.

To do this successfully, brands need to be provocative and use shock tactics, says Pete Champion, director at branding agency I-Am Associates. Consumers have become savvy to bland on-brand messages,’ he says. ‘Ask people to live a little. Give them angel-versus-demon scenarios.’

Brands must also demonstrate to consumers that they understand their polarized behaviour, says Beth Bentley, director of digital strategy at advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, citing London gym brand Frame as a good example. ‘It’s about exercise and alcohol. Its message is ‘keep fit, but we know you like to party’. Frame understands that being fit and healthy is not exclusive, and doesn’t make you one type of consumer. In fact, the same person might drink at weekends,’ she explains.



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