• Anne Kirstine Mikkelsen
We are living in a globalised world, in which consumers are being bombarded with more than 3,500 messages a day, creating a giant clutter of information for them to process. Hence, it is becoming increasingly difficult for lifestyle brands to capture and maintain consumers’ attention. Scholars thus speak of an attention economy, in which the time of consumers has become a scarce luxury item, of which most feel they have very little to spare, and their attention is thus greatly limited. To counteract the information clutter, lifestyle brands are progressively using viral marketing campaigns, yet with more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute and 4.75 billion posts uploaded to Facebook per day, competition for consumers’ attention is fierce. Hence, this thesis will set out to explore how lifestyle brands are able to capture the attention of consumers and make them react by using viral marketing campaigns, when consumers’ time and attention has become so limited.

Critics of segmentation theory claim that traditional segmentation variables have become an out-dated and ineffective way to catch consumers’ attention, and argue that lifestyle brands should use one-to-one marketing in order to create effective viral communication and break through the information clutter. In order to illuminate the statement of problem, the thesis explores the following hypotheses; 1: lifestyle brands that are successful in breaking through the information clutter as well as capturing and retaining consumers’ attention with their viral campaigns do not use classical segmentation, but target their viral campaigns at the individual consumer, and 2: consumers no longer respond to being communicated to in groups, and viral campaigns must thus be able to make each consumer feel like they are being targeted individually in order to break through the information clutter, catch their attention and make them react. In order to explore the given hypotheses, the thesis takes on a critical rationalistic approach and uses the hypothetic-deductive method in order to falsify or corroborate them. In order to go into detail, the scope of this thesis is limited to Danish consumers.

The analysis is divided into two parts. The first section focuses on three viral campaigns, namely Doves Real Beauty-campaign, Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke-campaign and Nike’s Nike+-campaign, which within the marketing industry are considered best practice cases of viral marketing that have succeeded in capturing the attention of consumers and making them react by sharing the content on their social media platforms. Analysing content from these campaigns by means of the perception process in accordance with theory of attention, as well as semiotics and the forms of appeal, this part of the analysis seeks to illuminate which values the campaigns emphasise, how they will be interpreted from a Danish consumer perspective, and how they are targeted at the consumers. By including the theory of segmentation and one-to-one marketing, the elaboration seeks to falsify or corroborate hypothesis 1. Subsequently, the second section of the analysis will concentrate on primary data collected via field research on the Danish consumer market in the form of an online questionnaire in order to falsify or corroborate hypothesis 2. By analysing this data in accordance with the theory of the perception process, segmentation variables, and one-to-one marketing, it is possible to explore which kind of content the Danish consumers are most inclined to draw attention to as well as which kind of content they are most likely to share on social media.

In the first section of the analysis, the thesis finds evidence that lifestyle brands, which are successful at catching consumers’ attention, still use psychographic segmentation, and thus not one-to-one marketing, whereby hypothesis 1 is falsified. Furthermore, the second part of the analysis shows that consumers are more likely to draw attention to and share content that feels relevant to them and provides them with a sense of gaining value for their time, thereby corroborating hypothesis 2. By combining these results, it is indicated that lifestyle brands can break through the information clutter, capture the attention of consumers and make them react by using viral marketing campaigns, in which psychographic segmentation is utilised to create content that feels relevant to the individual consumer and provides each individual with a sense of added value for their time.

Keywords: consumer behaviour, attention economy, viral marketing, viral campaigns, lifestyle brands.
Publication date31 Jul 2015
Number of pages165
ID: 216856797