Archetype Fueled Branding 101: Charging Into Battle With the Warrior
The Twelve Character Archetypes
Find out more about how tap into the power of archetypal forms to build or strengthen your brand.
For more about archetypes, visit archetypesexplained.com
The Most Heroic of All the Archetypes
Any of the archetypes are capable of heroic acts, but the Warrior is the archetype that is usually associated with heroism. So by the same token, brands that involve heroism usually use imagery associated with the Warrior in some way.
Heroic figures put their own personal needs aside in order to save the day for the rest of us. Warrior ads portray people with above average strength and discipline using their abilities to defeat an external threat. Because they were essential to the welfare of tribal societies in ancient times, Warriors were exalted in the most famous ancient epic mythological tales, like the Odyssey and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The Modern Warrior
Physical prowess isn't as important as it used to be thousands of years ago when the survival of a tribe depended on the strength of its Warriors, but athleticism and combat finesse is still looked upon as a virtue. Violent sports games like football, boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) matches fulfill our ancient need to worship the athletic, blood-spilling abilities of the Warrior.
It isn't necessary for Warrior ads to be violent, though-- simulated violence is just as appealing. Professional wrestlers and movies featuring action heroes are extremely popular and so are violent video games. Sometimes all that is needed is a Warrior-like, macho swagger to trigger the reaction.
Warrior advertisements aren't all about battle. Many Warrior commercials inspire people to toughen up and/or get in better shape. Because the Warrior mentality craves superiority, Warrior ads often portray cowardice, flabbiness or laziness in a harsh, negative light. Warrior brands can inspire others to better themselves physically or improve their mental toughness.
1. The U.S. Marines
The Marines channel the Warrior archetype more than any other branch of the military. Marines are often on the front lines of any military conflict. The archetypal Warrior doesn't appreciate frilly, fancy things and prefers direct communication. So, the above ad for the Marines gets right to the point. It's quite clear that by joining the U.S. Marines, "you will take your place among the most elite warriors on earth." The ad takes advantage of the fact that out of all the archetypes, the Warrior receives the most admiration and respect. The promise of becoming an authentic Warrior can motivate some types of people to make extraordinary sacrifices.
Identify with the Warrior archetype in an authentic way and people will make great sacrifices to support your cause.
Professional sports figures embody the Warrior archetype in that they go into mock battle against teams from other cities. In Gatorade's "Be Like Mike" campaign, Gatorade associated itself with basketball hero Michael Jordan. When the ad debuted, Jordan was at the top of his game and was the best player in the NBA. Using Jordan to hock Gatorade was a smart move on Gatorade's part, because people tend to look up to and follow the example of the most powerful Warriors.
Portray yourself as being a key part of a Warrior's success, and people will come to you for advice and guidance.
3. George W. Bush
Bush had some record lows in approval ratings when he was in office, but he also had (and continues to have) quite a few die-hard supporters. Let's take a look at the interesting way that Bush used the Warrior archetype during his term as president.
George W. Bush combined two powerful elements to galvanize enough support to go to war against Iraq following 9/11: religious ideas and the Warrior archetype. By combining both of these powerful motivators Bush stepped into the role of a religious crusader. Of course, the religious Warrior isn't a new type of Warrior. Hawkish leaders have used religious rhetoric to lead people into combat since the dawn of human civilization. Actually, Bin Laden posed as a crusader-style Warrior in order to motivate his people to attack the US in the first place!
In speeches following the 9/11 attacks, Bush increasingly used religious language in his public speeches. One theme that Bush would return to again and again was the concept of good vs. evil. Prior to 9/11, Bush said the word evil only one time but after the attacks Bush used the word "evil" 199 times throughout his presidency according to a study from the University of Louisiana.
Bush also used a generous amount of Warrior imagery. On one occasion, Bush dressed up in a military jumpsuit and posed for photo opportunities while strolling around an aircraft carrier. Bush appeared in a pseudo-military gear on numerous occasions after that throughout his presidency to remind us of his Commander-in-Chief status and to associate his brand image with the Warrior.
The way that both Al-Qaeda and Bush used religion and the Warrior archetype to garner support for their agendas highlights how powerful and effective the "religious crusader" style Warrior can be.
Working religious imagery into a Warrior brand can be a highly effective way to inspire a loyal following, but keep in mind that bold use of the crusader-Warrior can also have the side effect of riling up your competition.
4. Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates was a professional boxer living in England during WWI. Because he was of German descent, the British authorities imprisoned Pilates in an internment camp for the duration of the war. When he was living in the camp, he developed a system of minimalistic exercises that came to define the Pilates method. His status as a boxer (Warrior) made Pilates credible in the eyes of his followers.
If you have a credible background as a Warrior, use it to enhance your personal brand.
5. Slim Jim
This meat snack has little to do with Warriors in reality, but Slim Jim promoters capitalized on the fact that meat is considered to be "manly" in American society. Slim Jim catered to the male demographic by creating a cartoonish, Warrior public image that is a blend of both the Jester and the Warrior archetypes. In the 90s, Warrior type professional wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage invited everyone to "slam into" a Slim Jim.
If your personal brand appeals to males, you can use the Warrior archetype to promote it because men tend to like Warriors.
Historically, the Warrior archetype has been exclusively masculine, but that's changing. Today, either a man or a woman can step into a Warrior role. Athleta pays respect to women in their ad campaign called "Power to the She." The woman pictured in this ad is an intense looking female athlete who seems as though she is in the middle of vanquishing her competitors.
When using the Warrior archetype to promote your personal brand, acknowledge the fact that women are equally capable of stepping into the Warrior archetype.
More about the twelve character archetypes and how they manifest in pop culture and human personality: Rulers, Sages and Jesters: the Twelve Character Archetypes
The Twelve Archetypes
- Imagining a Better World With the Innocent - Six examples of effective commercials that use happy childhood memories or the promise of utopia to build brand identity.
- Keeping It Real With the Orphan - Use the highly attractive idea that we are all created equal to give your brand some Orphan-esque egalitarian appeal.
- Charging Into Battle With the Warrior - Everyone loves a hero. Pepper your brand with the Warrior archetype to give it a combative edge.
- Helping Others Succeed With the Caregiver - Six examples of popular brands that use the motherly Caregiver archetype to build a sense of trust and security.
- Exploring New Worlds With the Seeker - If you are in the business of helping others experience new things or travel to exotic locations, spice up your brand with some Seeker zaniness.
- Tangoing With the Lover - Reveal hidden truths or work sexuality into your brand to harness the magnetic power of the Lover.
- Wiping the Slate Clean With the Destroyer - Six examples of Destroyer style brands that appeal to our urge to either pick a fight with the world, flirt with death or plunder gold.
- Facilitating Artistry and Ingenuity With the Creator - How to inspire your target audience to unlock their latent creative potential.
- Bossing Out Your Brand With the Ruler - How to use the Ruler archetype to market your brand to the upper echelons of society.
- Channelling the Magician - Use the Magician archetype to fascinate an enthralled audience-- or make them reconsider everything they think they know.
- Curating Information With the Sage - Integrate elements of the Sage archetype into your brand to cultivate an authoritative, trustworthy public image.
- Partying With the Jester - Take the edge off of your brand and create a fun atmosphere by clowning it up a little with the Jester archetype.