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Heroes vs Creators: Billion Dollar Companies go to Battle

We’re down to the final two competitors in our Brand Archetype match-ups.

If you’ve been following this 6-part blog series closely, you know we’ve had 5 compelling matches in the ring: The Regular Guy/Girl vs. The Innocent, The Magician vs. The Caregiver, The Jester vs. The Sage, The Ruler vs. The Rebel, and The Lover vs. The Explorer.

We’ve got two admirable fighters for our grand finale. Playing the main character in countless movies and books, The Hero archetype is a favourite amongst cinephiles and bookworms. Heroes always need an antagonist and The Creator is the formidable opponent that will give us tools for creativity.

Let’s see what kind of brand stories they tell...

Opponent #1: The Hero

Examples: Nike, Adidas, Fedex

Main focus: Promoting goal achievement and transformation by overcoming challenges

This year in particular it’s become evident that not all heroes wear capes. With essential workers protecting our communities throughout this pandemic, heroic efforts are on daily display for the public to admire.

Ironic or not, brands use similar constructs to get us emotionally invested in a product or service. Everyone loves to see the rags to riches story where the hero triumphs through adversity.

Why is that? We relate to the hero persona because that’s secretly how we perceive ourselves.

Whether it’s the final sentence in a huge work report or that last flight of steps to climb during a workout, we all like to imagine ourselves as the hero in our own story.

“customers are attracted to us for the same reason heroes are pulled into stories: they want to solve a problem that has, in big or small ways, disrupted their peaceful life”. - Donald Miller, Author

We humans are just stumbling through this wild world trying our best to manage. When we see someone like us in print or on screen, it resonates more deeply than we realize.

Hero archetypes represent self-belief and transformation, something Nike has nailed down in its marketing for years. Their advertisements show athletes rising to the challenge and overcoming the odds to excel in their craft.

They’ve even co-opted Lebron James’ journey to show a story of a kid from Akron, Ohio that transformed into a basketball superstar:

Just like some might say Mr.James’ has some overconfidence to keep in check (we’ll take a brief moment to state we’re in the ‘Michael Jordan = GOAT’ camp over here), brands using hero archetypes also need to keep their egos under wrap to avoid looking arrogant.

Opponent #2: The Creator

Examples: Adobe, Lego, Crayola, GoPro, Nintendo

Main focus: Using artistic expression and/or technology to help clients express themselves creatively

Creator archetypes have a similar trait to the magician- they’re imaginative visionaries. But instead of giving customers innovative products that solve their problems (our floors are grateful, Dyson), they bestow us with the tools to unleash the creative power within all of us.

They encourage a freedom of expression in their customers that balances whimsy and practicality all at once. Creator brands understand the power of the imagination and use it to weave an irresistible brand story that piques the audience’s grand visions of their future.

Adobe is the quintessential creator brand with an entire suite of high-quality products to help people express themselves through photography, videos and other forms of digital marketing.

Why are they a mainstay with so many in the design industry? Creator brands tend to stand out for having the top products in their niche. They blend creativity and technology in such an intricate way, you can’t help but feel engrossed by it.

Alicia Silverstone and Florence Pugh star in this short film below, which was inspired by a movie poster contest run by Adobe. It’s a clever tongue in cheek take on the world of influencers and showcases what can be achieved using their Adobe Creative Cloud software:

The film isn’t the marketing piece, the entire concept is the advertisement - an ingenious ploy by Adobe to capture our attention across platforms.

Who took the ‘W’ in this final hard-fought battle of the brands?

Did Nike’s story resonate with the inner hero inside you, or did you get jazzed up thinking about your future creative empire?

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