Will mass marketing become obsolete? Collaborative Consumption and it’s impact on the future of advertising

In her book, What’s Mine Is Yours, Rachel Botsman puts forth her idea of collaborative consumption and contrasts the difference between twentieth century hyperconsumption to twenty-first century collaborative consumption. If she is right, and the economy does reach a point to where consumers are consuming collaboratively on a wide scale, then advertising has no choice but to follow the path and adapt itself to new consumer ideals.

Michael A. Hudson offers two case studies to illustrate the above hypothesis:

1. ZipCars:

“The company of Zipcar has succesfully accomplished this feat. Initially Zipcar attracted a consumer base of younger, urban, environmentally conscious people, which is expected, because those types of people would appreciate such a company. However over the last year or so, it has expanded its market to older people in their thirties and fourties and even expanded out of the city somewhat. In order to do so, It required an extensively well thought out advertising mission. Who can argue that they failed in this, if you live in any major city, even the suburbs that city you can’t have gone a week without seeing some green sign with the “Z” on it. The company advertises on the importance of community, its environmental advantage, and the ease of access over traditionaly renting services.

Traditionaly advertising, that is for hyperconsumption, would focus on the necessity of owning, and the individuality of owning a BMW or a mini-coup, whatever it might be. Yet this new collaborative advertisign focused on the society, the community and the variety which it can offer. As collaborative consumption develops, we will begin to see a shift in advertising, from the importance of individuality to the importance of contributing to your community and the globe as a whole.”

2. One Block Off the Grid.

“Dave Llorens, CEO of One Block Off The Grid, seems to think so. His company, One Block Off the Grid, is a buying club for people who want to get solar panels on their home. The companies ultimate goal is take solar power for homes mainstream.

In Llorens article, “Pioneers and Protagonists”, he discusses the idea that advertising is ineffective at fueling collaborative consumption. Llorens mentions that a group purchase model is the only way his company will be successful. If hundreds of others are going solar with customer and the customer has heard rave reviews from hundreds others, the decision to purchase through One Block Off the Grid becomes much easier. Llorens uses a great metaphor later in his article as an example. Do you go to see a movie because you have heard awesome reviews from countless friends or do you go to see a movie because the movie poster was really good. This new idea associated with collaborative consumption is a completely different view to advertising than our culture is used to.”

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