There’s nothing like the first half of a holiday. Time stretches out ahead of you and slowly the stresses and strains of everyday life ebb away. And if you can force yourself away from your phone, an unusual feeling appears over the horizon. Freedom.
But around halfway through, reality starts edging its way back into your consciousness. You resist it like mad, pushing it back down. But now when you gaze into the distance, all you can see is the end of the holiday.
And you get another feeling. It’s familiar because it’s deeply embedded. It used to be the same the Sunday evening before a new school week. Or the day before a new term.
With a holiday, it starts further out. The luxury of a fortnight away is in the first week you hardly give the second week any thought. But suddenly on that middle Saturday you start counting down the days left. Some small part of you is already on the way back home. And the feeling is a slight dread.
Freedom is a seductive but elusive need to target. Most categories have it present in some form, the other side of the coin to Control. And if we’re all a bit of a control freak, we’re also all a bit of a Freedom seeker.
So if you know the Freedom need is significant in your world of interest and you also know your brand is well-placed to capitalise on it, how do you actually do it? How do you discover your insight?
First, acknowledge the truth. We all have a need for Freedom because we are all, either willingly or unwillingly, constrained. We may like to see ourselves as masters of our own destiny but in reality we are all slaves to something – the responsibilities we have, the commitments we make, the technology we depend on, the anxieties we suffer.
Second, understand the need. Freedom is a state of mind. It’s not a place. Even if you do pursue your escape fantasy to the end of the line, you will eventually realise it is just a fantasy. What’s the problem with a paradise island? It’s an island.
And third, and most importantly, find the tension. The feeling of Freedom doesn’t last. As far as holidays are concerned (and weekends and sabbaticals and being young), it’s a temporary state. So trying to own the whole need can be like keeping hold of a handful of sand.
What you can do is own part of it. Because for everyone there is a moment when you suddenly feel free. It might be when you walk into a hotel for the first time and see the infinity pool (they know what they’re doing, those pool designers). Or you remember the fun of putting a Hula Hoop on your little finger before eating it. Or you get a child-like thrill after renewing your car insurance when a meerkat toy arrives in the post.
So if you are targeting a Freedom need, think of it more as Release. Then identify the moment when that happens. And own that. Create the connection and embed it in your target’s memory.
The best example I can think of is when the drums burst in on "In The Air Tonight', the Phil Collins song used by Cadbury's in their famous chocolate commercial. We all know how that gorilla's feeling, don't we? He's been waiting for that moment all his life. But don't you think he also looks just a little bit sad?