Page 35

20

PRIMAL ASSETS

Whatever their party, presidents succeed when their brand identity is clear and consistent. Grandfatherly Ronald Reagan was known as the “Teflon President” for his capacity to remain popular in the face of scandal and controversy. As an actor, Reagan knew the importance of branding. Most likely, he maintained his paternal Caregiver archetypal identity quite consciously, providing constant reassurance to the country that all would be well. Conversely, many politicians who fail to get either elected or reelected never establish a consistent archetypal identity. For example, President George Bush, a man of vast government experience, initially positioned himself as the Wise Ruler. When running for reelection, however, he vacillated between Warrior and Orphan and lost his bid for a second term. Similar patterns hold with corporations. Apple has made many serious business mistakes, but repeatedly has been saved by the great loyalty of its customers, who tend to love the company anyway. The firm’s motto, “Think different,” its logo of an apple with a bite out of it (suggesting Adam and Eve’s disobedience in eating from the Tree of Knowledge), its reputation for innovation—each calls up the archetype of the constructive, independent Outlaw. In contrast, Microsoft’s identity became synonymous with Bill Gates’s Ruler-goneamuck persona, wandering into the dark side of the bully and jeopardizing public support. The Product as Prop in an Archetypal Drama When archetypes are active, they evoke deep feelings. Sometimes those feelings have a spiritual resonance. In our religious traditions, foods frequently take on numinous significance—e.g., the “bread” and “wine” in Christian Communion or the Paschal Lamb in the Jewish Seder. In a more everyday, secular way, foods accrue symbolic cultural meaning. For example, in the United States it is traditional to serve turkey on the Thanksgiving holiday. This practice is so prevalent that the presence or absence of turkey can determine whether it feels like Thanksgiving. On a deeper level, turkey as a cultural symbol is one of the many expressions of the archetype of cornucopia, or the horn of plenty, that appears in harvest celebrations throughout the world.

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Advertisement