We’ve all heard that sex sells, but these days it’s the ordinary pleasures that are exciting consumers the most. The meteoric rise to fame of Essex housewife Sophia Hinchcliffe in the last six months is a case in point. ‘Mrs Hinch’ cleans for 30 minutes every day, documenting the process on her Instagram stories and her cleaning demonstration videos have earned her 1.5 million Instagram followers, now referred to as the Hinch Army.1

The cleaning craze is only the latest of mundane obsessions to take hold of Instagrammers. In 2016, the mania for paint-mixing videos inspired dedicated accounts with followers in the hundreds of thousands, as did fizzing bath bombs and icing cakes.2

It’s not just Instagram where ordinary events have attracted interest. ‘Slow advertising’ was made famous on TV by Ronseal, the paint and wood stain brand, with its 2016 Gogglebox ad break spot. The three-minute advert simply showed a man painting a fence. The literal representation of the product reflected the mundane nature of DIY, not only bringing the brand to life in an authentic way but standing out by doing something radically different from other splashy adverts.

Samsung followed up in 2017 with a similar Gogglebox ad break takeover, featuring three minutes of a washing machine cycle. The hypnotic spot was so popular that a 66-minute version was created. In 2017 Argos live-streamed a room of playing kittens to provide a distraction for stressed Black Friday shoppers.

While YouGov reports that 56% of all British adults agree that adverts should entertain them, entertainment could mean something very different from what we have come to expect.3 There are many reasons why visually monotonous, prosaic content continues to take hold of viewers’ attention. It soothes, de-stresses and engrosses with addictive repetition.

With competition for attention at an all-time high, advertisers who want to stand out should look for more ways to engage with the cult of the banal. Cleaning product brand Easho teamed up with Mrs Hinch to run an influencer campaign and claimed that sales of some products increased by 200% off the back of it.4 Advertisers who can drum up the humdrum may find they can appeal to consumers exhausted by their hectic lives.

 

  1. Gay, Hannah & Ali Gordon. (2018). ‘Cleaning product sales set to continue to rise in 2019’, BBC, 1 Jan 2019. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-46646800
  2. https://www.instagram.com/annettelabedzki/, https://www.instagram.com/olganoskovaa/?hl=en, https://www.instagram.com/lush4lush/.
  3. YouGov Profiles+ GB Nat Rep, definitely or tend to agree that ‘I expect adverts to entertain me’, 6 Jan 2019.
  4. Gay (2018).

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