Does somatic identity drive pack choice? published in research news november 2006


‘Bubbling brooks’, ‘Rolling waves’, ‘Flowing streams’ and ‘Still waters’ – these are four ‘somatic identities’ describing girls between 18 and 24. According to Liane Ringham of INSIDE STORY, somatic identities are strongly relevant to pack design and point of sale. She has spent the past four years exploring somatic metaphors and somatic identity and how these are potentially relevant to marketers.


For some time now research briefs have been calling for an understanding of emotions as well as guidance in connecting with consumers at a deeper level. Early in 2006, INSIDE STORYstarted specifically researching the new area of marketing somatics, seeking to identify codes that can be used to ‘talk’ to consumers at a deeply emotional level.

A review of recent ads in a range of popular magazine titles targeting youth, including Marie Claire, Cosmo, Zen and Cleo, reveals that most advertisers are targeting a fairly narrow expression of female identity. The trend is to target the somatic identity we have called the ‘Bubbling brooks’, which describes young women who strongly identify with the colour fuchsia, hearts, flowers and things that sparkle and attract visual attention. These are the ‘material girls’ and therefore understandably attractive to advertisers, especially youth advertisers. However, the codes or symbols may repel many more girls than they attract. It is also possible that advertisers are missing out on even more compelling opportunities that have a better fit with their brands.


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