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Archetype Fueled Branding 101: Tangoing With the Lover

Updated on August 19, 2014

The Twelve Character Archetypes

Find out more about how tap into the power of archetypal forms to build or strengthen your brand.

The Innocent

The Warrior

The Caregiver

The Seeker

The Lover

The Destroyer

The Creator

The Ruler

The Magician

The Sage

The Jester

Sex Sells

Lover oriented brands contrast interestingly with Caregiver brands. As in the Caregiver style Transamerica ad, Caregiver style companies prefer to blend into the background while placing the spotlight on their customers. Lover brands, however, are bold, sexy and captivating. Both types of brands are concerned with other people, but that is where the similarities end. The Caregiver style is familial and wholesome, but Lover-oriented ads are usually shocking in some way, or highly sexual.

Gender Identity

Lover ads are usually focused around attracting the opposite sex, so they often make strong, bold references to masculinity and femininity. That doesn't mean, however, that Lover oriented brands need to be stereotypical. Presenting femininity or masculinity in new and intriguing ways can be very effective ways to grab and hold the public's attention. If you're using the Lover in your personal brand, you can either showcase your own femininity/masculinity or make reference to femininity/masculinity in general via the use of models.


1. Sony "Working From Home"

The Lover archetype is mostly concerned with the superficial, which compliments the "anything goes" aspect of the Jester nicely. Both Lover and Jester based brands can be playful, and we see an effective combination of both archetypes here in this ad from Sony. In it, a man tries to work from home but is distracted by his wife's sexual advances. Including some humor can help make displays of sexuality acceptable in the minds of people who would otherwise get offended.

When incorporating potentially controversial sexual themes into an ad or brand, it's wise to balance those out by including some Jester elements.

Blowing your.... mind?
Blowing your.... mind? | Source

2. Burger King's "7 Incher" Ad

This ad is a good example of innuendo, primarily because the style of it is so incredibly in-your-face (if you'll pardon the expression "in your face.") Though censorship prevents advertisers from making direct references to sexuality, it is perfectly legal to imply sexual situations.

There is no way that an ad like this is not going to offend some people, but on the other hand it also has a little bit of Destroyer-style renegade appeal. Viewers of the ad may wonder: how can Burger King possibly be getting away with this?

When sexuality may be inappropriate, use innuendo instead to channel the Lover's allure without (technically) breaking the rules.

Curing mermaiditis.
Curing mermaiditis. | Source

3. Clinica Dempere "We Make Fairy Tales Come True"

This ad for a Venezuelan plastic surgery clinic depicts a cartoon character that resembles Ariel from the well-known Disney flick "The Little Mermaid" getting her fins clipped and replaced with a pair of sexy long legs.

The Lover archetype is a powerful force in South America, where looking good is important and plastic surgery is even more popular and common than it is in the US. The ad appeals to the Innocent because it encourages us to imagine a better tomorrow, but it also plays upon the Lover's preoccupation with beauty and fear of not being attractive.

When building a Lover brand, show Lover-oriented people how you or your brand can help them become more attractive.

eLove | Source

4. eHarmony

The Lover archetype isn't all about sex-- it's also about forging deep, intimate romantic relationships. There are plenty of single people out there looking for love, and even some people who are married are not really satisfied. Too often, people put aside the desire for authentic love and settle for something more practical-- a marriage of convenience, etc. When intimate connections aren't there, the Lover archetype becomes even more alluring.

It's unusual to come across the type of chemistry that can lead to love, and some people have trouble attracting the opposite sex. The online dating service eHarmony does a good job of catering to people who are searching for love by promising guaranteed results and showing pictures of couples who had met up and married over eHarmony.

Show the path to finding true love, and those who have the Lover archetype active in their lives will be willing to consider what you have to say.

5. Domino's "Pizza Turnaround"

Startlingly, in their "Pizza Turnaround" ad campaign, Domino's decided to openly admit the fact that their efforts at rebranding were a response to the fact that many people felt like Domino's pizzas "taste like cardboard." Though this may not seem to be a campaign that has Lover characteristics, it is. With this ad, Domino's is exposing some of their harshest criticisms for all to see. This particular type of strip-tease isn't necessarily sexy, but it still captures our attention and imagination. The Lover is fascinated by the exposure of hidden, ugly truths.

Evoke the Lover by giving your audience a tantalizing glimpse of your secret fears or weaknesses that you would normally try to keep hidden.

A nun and a priest shown breaking vows over ice cream.
A nun and a priest shown breaking vows over ice cream. | Source

6. Antonio Federici Ice Cream Ads

As in the Burger King ad, this ad from Antonio Federici is a powerful cocktail of Destroyer rebellion, Jester foolishness and Lover sensuality.

Obviously, this brand is using edgy, taboo imagery by openly portraying a priest and a nun engaging in a romantic act. There's also an element of the Jester here because a well-respected figure of authority (the Catholic Church) is being mocked. More than anything though, the ad oozes sexuality-- the domain of the Lover archetype.

However, there is also another element thrown in-- dessert. Associating sex with dessert foods is a very common thing to do in advertising, because there is something inherently erotic and tempting about sweets. This particular ad from Antonio Federici features an attractive looking nun who looks as though she is about to kiss a handsome looking priest. Of course, both the nun and the priest seem to be enjoying a little bit of Antonio Federici ice cream as well.

If you think that this ad is tasteless and offensive, know that this isn't even the most shocking advert that Antonio Federici has produced. A similar ad features the same scene except the priest isn't wearing a shirt, and the nun's legs are wrapped around his waist-- they seem to be having sex. Whether or not you are angered by this style of advertising, it's pretty hard to ignore due to the fact that the makers of the ad are brazenly pushing the envelope and incorporating as many archetypal elements as they can in order to draw attention to the product.

Use the temptation that people feel when confronted with sweet foods to evoke the seductive power of the Lover.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Channelling the Magician - Use the Magician archetype to fascinate an enthralled audience-- or make them reconsider everything they think they know.
  • 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.


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      gandhisal 4 years ago

      Is there a way to identify the archetype of the television ads?