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Simple or Relatable? An Archetype Match-up: The Regular Guy/Girl vs. The Innocent

We’re down to the final two weeks of our epic brand archetype battles, have you found one that resonates with your business yet? If not, we've got two compelling contenders today that could meet the mark.

In one corner of the ring, there’s the The Innocent archetype. They represent pure simplicity in the world and invite you to participate with a gentle nudge, never a hard sell. They’re facing a mighty opponent this week- the Regular Guy/Girl. That’s right, a brand archetype that’s created in our image with zero goals of showing off glamorous attributes or striving for status.

Who will become the reigning champ? Let’s find out!

Opponent #1- The Innocent

Examples: Dove, Aveeno, Cottonelle

Main focus: Good, clean fun with a simplistic optimism.

The Innocent archetype offers us one of the most straightforward messages out of all 12 archetypes. They are laser-focused on keeping their message simple and carefree, and this no-frills approach can prove to be effective at building trustworthiness with consumers. The tone is consistently upbeat and cheerful, so you’ll never find them using drama or mystery to attract your attention.

You’ll notice the innocent archetype is common amongst personal care brands like soaps, lotions and shampoo, as well as organic food and cleaning brands.

Aveeno’s marketing campaigns have increased significantly in recent years and represent the innocent archetype from head to toe. Even their choice of celebrity spokesperson Jennifer Aniston is a calculated move.

Despite the final season of Friends being filmed in 2004, we can't help but think of “Rachel” when seeing her on-screen. She’ll forever remind us of a memorable character from a nostalgic TV show many loved and still quote to this day, and takes us back to simpler times at Central Perk cafe. Aveeno and Aniston cheerfully encourage you to ‘Get Skin Happy’ here:

Innocent personas invite us to enjoy their products or service with simple, positive messages and a healthy dose of nostalgia. Their fatal flaw can become apparent when they lean into that simplicity too far and can be seen as naive. As with most things in life, the key is moderation.

Opponent #2: The Regular Guy/Girl

Examples: Coors Light, Ford, Home Depot, McCain, IKEA

Main focus: Being an unpretentious, relatable guy/girl next door

The Regular Guy/Girl archetype is in stark contrast to many we’ve covered in this series. Where archetypes like the Ruler, Rebel or Explorer seek the attention of people who want to stand out because of their status or wild adventurous spirit, Regular Guy/Girl brands do just the opposite.

Their aim is to connect with you (and the mass market) by honing in on what you’re experiencing in your day to day life rather than enticing you to dream about surreal escapades.

Coors Light encapsulates the Regular Guy/Girl brand with its recent campaign that takes you inside the apartment of a regular, hard working 30-something doing normal things. The commercial is all too familiar for those who revel in the comforts of a return home after a long day (and who doesn’t?).

With a quick camera pan to band-aids on her ankles as the actress kicks off her painful shoes and the sweet relief that’s felt as she flings off her bra- it’s relatable imagery that resonates with a huge segment of the population.

IKEA also represents the Regular Guy/Girl; in fact it’s so intrinsic it’s clearly stated in their company vision: “to create a better everyday life for the many people”. This memorable commercial taps into our elation at the cash register when our bill appears lower than it should be, always a welcome surprise:

The Regular Guy/Girl archetype may seem like the ‘no brainer’ option for brands looking to saturate the market and appeal to the masses but it’s actually one of the hardest to pull off. Brands considering the Regular Guy/Girl archetype should assess competitors that reside in the same niche to make sure it’s not already saturated with this archetype.

You don’t want to blend in and risk getting lost in the crowd.

Who took the trophy for you in this round, was it the carefree allure of The Innocent, or the camaraderie you felt beside the Regular Guy/Girl?

Stay tuned for next week as we wrap up this blog series with The Creator vs The Hero.

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