SYDNEY: Marketers need to embrace culture if they want to turn low-engagement products, such as insurance or hedge funds, into the next Fearless Girl phenomenon, an industry figure has argued.

Brent Smart, Chief Marketing Officer of Australian insurance conglomerate IAG, told the recent Mumbrella Finance Marketing Summit that marketers in such categories must think like consumers.

“(Consumers) don't see a piece of work and say, ‘Wow, for that tough brief, that's a really good piece of work’. They don't think like marketers,” he said.

“People don't give a shit about marketing. They just really don't,” he added. “We are kidding ourselves as marketers and brand managers if we think they spend as much time thinking about our brands as we do. Because they don't. And that is the real challenge that we all face as marketers.”

For Smart, the issue is poor quality content, rather than consumers’ lack of time. For brands, creativity is no longer a choice but imperative to cut through, he maintained. And this is why it it is essential to now know how low-involvement products can engage consumers.

“Pepsi's not really competing with Coke. P&G’s not really competing with Unilever. And new bankers aren't really competing with each other,” he argued.

“As marketers, we're competing with culture. And most of the time, culture is way more interesting. How come those same time-poor people find ten hours to binge watch an entire series of Game of Thrones?" he asked.

Brands that create collateral produce work that is mostly invisible and unmemorable while the marketers creating culture are able to transcend advertising and see their work shared, much like an episode of Game of Thrones.

"And the marketers that are doing that are having extraordinary results," said Smart.

Data sourced from WARC