At the recent Esomar Congress, there was reference to postmodern consumption, and implicit was a postmodern consumer. Yet the word “consumer” already constructs an audience, and it may not be relevant as Hernando de Soto reminded us to the 4 and a half (?) billion working in black market conditions.
Many western marketing models assume that evolution is something to strive for and that brands at ‘lower’ levels of development should aspire to be ‘customer-driven’, ‘post modern’ or ‘cause related’ in their orientation. This is not necessarily the case. Given a brand or market’s development is linked to the amount of competition in the market, it may reach a situation where further (at least significant) evolution is unnecessary.
There are signs of post-modernist marketing in some markets. However, it tends to be confined to youth markets and is not particularly prevalent in any market – certainly not in Asia. In many Asian markets, competition and choice being embraced. In this context, advertising plays an important role in introducing new concepts. Advertising per se is the messenger of modernity or economic evolution. That is not to say that the visual conventions/codes of post modernism are not evident, but they are predominantly used as a marker of differentiation. In markets like China, historically this abstract and unfamiliar style of advertising in itself increases the perceived status of the advertised brand.