Celebrating real family relationships

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Highlighting real family relationships over the stereotypical portrait of mother, father and two children allows brands to be broader in their approach to marketing.

One common strategy has been to home in on specific units of a family and honour their bonds. For example, Louis Vuitton has made its brand more approachable by using husband and wife Bono and Ali Hewson to illustrate the work it is doing to encourage trade in Africa.

Lloyds TSB has used cartoon images of a gay couple saving for their dream home to make its messaging more inclusive, while confectionery brand Werther’s Original is investing £5m in a campaign that will run all year focusing on the unconditional love between a father and son.

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Fashion brand Comptoir des Cotonniers has chosen to highlight mother and daughter relationships. Launched in 1997, Comptoir des Cotonniers is famous for its use of real-life mothers and daughters in its brand imagery and advertising campaigns. The brand claims to have generated a loyal following, incremental buzz and continuing PR from the regular mother-daughter casting days it holds all over the world, which it promotes as highly coveted competition prizes.

Comptoir Des Cotonniers deputy chief operating officer Thierry Vasseur explains that the idea came from the simple observation that mothers and daughters shopping together in the brand’s stores enjoyed the chance to bond and share their opinions. The brand’s collections have always been “dedicated to real women”, he says, so it was a natural move to choose real mothers and daughters to represent the brand.

“The fact that we choose anonymous mothers and daughters to embody our collections creates a special relationship with women in general, contrary to other brands who choose to communicate with top models,” Vasseur claims. “Each season we choose new couples to embody our collections, as each season reflects a different mood and different trends, but the values of the brand are always the same.”

He adds that communicating the brand via real people brings it closer to its customers, and the thread of the mother-daughter bond is present through all brand touchpoints, from how stores are organised, to how sales teams are trained.

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