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The Battle of the Archetypes Continues: The Ruler vs The Rebel

This week’s battle features two powerful contenders in pursuit of a captive audience.

One is a rule maker that sets high standards for themselves and those around them, and the other tears up the rule book and casts law & order aside.

Whose message will resonate and win the day for you, the Ruler or the Rebel?

Opponent #1- The Ruler

Examples: Rolex, Prada, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Sotheby’s

Main focus: Evokes sense of authoritative control, refined luxury, commanding presence.

The Ruler archetype sits on its throne knowing prestige and premium quality speaks for itself. It holds market power through luxury and exclusivity and doesn’t look to meet the needs of everyday customers since it would cheapen their image.

When you purchase a product or service from a Ruler brand, you are instantly shifted into an upper echelon of elite living. We’ve all been there- you enter a store flanked by security guards in crisp black suits with superbly lit glass cases housing precious items and your heart races while you think to yourself “I don’t belong in here!”. That’s purposeful- Rulers are only appealing to a select niche (and you’re likely excluded).

When marketed effectively, this archetype can close sales simply using their logo or name. Does anyone purchase a Rolls Royce because of the safety features or fuel economy?

No. They purchase the bespoke luxury car because of the status it brings. If everyone on your street was pulling a Rolls Royce into the driveway, the company would quickly lose its allure.

High end Ruler brands rarely give aspiring fans the option of ‘entry-level’ models. Luxury real estate brand Sotheby’s states it perfectly: it’s “for those who seek an exceptional life”.

Beyond brands, most politicians fall into the Ruler archetype due to their commanding persona. Unfortunately they often become too arrogant, resulting in an inability to connect with their constituents...need we say more?

Opponent #2- The Rebel

Examples: Harley Davidson, Canadian Club, Diesel, Virgin.

Main focus: Taking pride in going against the norm, wild, disruptive, a force for change

The Rebel archetype is a force of its own- without any care for the supposed rank of the Ruler. With fierce independence and a wild streak, the Rebel is the outlaw of the group that won’t hesitate to speak up for the weak minded and introduce new ways of thinking and living. Encouraging consumers to seek liberation is the main motivation of this archetype and often Rebel brands ridicule the status-quo to prove their point. By eschewing current trends, events or habits, it’s a proud disruptor.

Harley-Davidson represents the Rebel archetype, evident in this alarming commercial that jolts the viewer into acknowledging the prevalence of cell phones in our lives and has us practically begging for an escape by the end. Rebel brand loyalty can be colossal when they reach consumers with philosophical messages in a profound way. Another spin on this rebellious archetype can be seen in this Canadian Club whisky commercial.

They’ve zeroed in on a long-standing cultural norm “men enjoy beer” and completely tore it to shreds. It’s an ingenious approach that dares conformist beer drinkers not to follow the crowd.

Rebel brands thrive on revolutionary concepts, but they have to tread carefully not to lead their loyal followers too astray. Taking things too wild and far from the mainstream can result in a disengaged audience.

Which of these two archetypes won you over, the richness of the Ruler, or the untamed energy of the Rebel? Stay tuned for next week’s battle: The Sage vs The Jester.

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