1 B B D O THE RITUAL MASTERS
2 6.57am. Beep. Cloudy skies, sunny intervals. Snooze roll out of bed, feet hit floor, left then right. Greying Hilton robe. Power shower. Pantene shampoo and conditioner, Gillette Venus, body wash. Select dress and heels. Sip Illy coffee from white china mug. Cast eye over urgent s. Blow-dry hair drowning out sports report. Round-up keys, travel pass, mobile and BlackBerry into bag de jour. Gentle kiss goodbye. Out of door. Buy cappuccino and paper to read on the Think about what you did this morning. And ask yourself how much it varies from what you did every morning last week. Not much right? Read on and discover how understanding rituals and evolving new ones is at the heart of selling.
4 It is a transforming series of actions that help us enjoy passing from one state to another. A ritual is a means of getting stuff done in the way that we prefer. Rituals are important because our preferences define us. Our rituals tell others who we are and make us easier people to be with. But, most importantly, our rituals are an emotional journey. They transform us from one emotional state to another. Our morning rituals move us from neutral and cocooned to ready to take on the day and our evening rituals move us from being tense to relaxed and at ease. As you ll see in a moment, all rituals involve physical things - very often brands - and that s why we are interested in them. Rituals are created in the conscious, but pass quickly into the subconscious and so get repeated without much questioning. Basically we do something once, find that we kind of like it and then stick with that way of doing things until something better comes along. Rituals may evolve over time. But unless something changes in our lives (we move house, have a child, change jobs) they pretty much stay the same. Like all things, we like them the way we like them. Our rituals make us feel better, engage with others more easily, feel in control, express who we are and who we d like to be. 6-7
5 We ve obviously been trying this idea out with a few people and this is one of the questions everybody asks early on: What s the difference between a habit and a ritual? We are not interested in the simple dictionary definition. This whole rituals thing is about defining a BBDO way of thinking and using language that sets us apart from other agencies. So, in our book, habits are simply single function tasks governed by the low brain, the spinal cord almost. The bit that some people call the reptilian mind or snake brain because it governs the fundamental basics of survival (food, sleep, sex and protection). Habits involve no transformation and, most importantly, no emotional benefit, no emotional involvement (though of course habits are often a component of a ritual). Rituals are a series of actions that make up a pleasurable transition. And that s why all this is important to us as marketeers. If our client s brand is inside the ritual, great. Our job is to keep it there. If our client s brand is outside the ritual, life is hard. Our rituals become fortresses that protect our favoured brands and keep strangers out. And Fortress Ritual has one very important role to play in the quality of our work. Our job is to create and evolve new rituals on behalf of our clients. We need to gently persuade our customers to abandon their old rituals and take up a new one that includes our brand. 8-9
6 Rituals started off as an idea. But we needed to take it somewhere a little more objective to check it out properly. So we commissioned a global quantitative and ethnographic study. We talked to 6086 people in 28 countries. We learnt a lot. We found huge cross-cultural consistencies in the rhythm of rituals. Rituals are universal. And they have certain patterns that we can learn from and save our client s time and money. We observed five core rituals that everyone follows. We ll be exploring all five in this book
7 Rich or poor, young or old, east or west, black, white, all shades in between we love our rituals. And, interestingly, we share many of the same rituals all over the world. There are regional differences, of course, but we are overwhelmingly more similar than we are different. When we read through the interviews and crunched the numbers from 28 countries we found five core rituals. More to the point we found five emotional journeys that most of us take most days in most countries around the world. We believe they have a huge impact on how we should sell our clients brands. So what are they? 12-13
8 Audrey, 31 Paris, PA NICHOLAS, 44, PARIS Preparing for Battle is the ritual that we enact from the moment we wake to the moment we get to work or the place we spend our day. It includes washing, eating/drinking, putting on clothes and makeup, gathering information and clearing our heads. It s a physical journey of course but, more importantly, it s an emotional journey. From cocooned and neutral in our private worlds, to ready to take on the day in the public world. Every step we take prepares us for this transition. There are many steps in preparing for battle ritual. People do an average of seven things in less than an hour before they even leave home. Women do more than men but pretty much everyone feels the pressure of time. The order of these seven things is very important. People like fixed sequences. They like to use the same stuff - especially brands - every day. Some parts of the morning ritual are more emotionally meaningful than others. All over the world people describe the details of their coffee/tea ritual fondly. They like to use the same brands, equipment and mugs in the same way every time. This is also seen as an important moment to take in the nutrients required to set us up for the day: fruit, fibre, calcium, multivitamins. People are irritated if their ritual is disrupted or goes wrong. They also become anxious if the day encroaches on this time. Urgent calls and s from work cause anxiety because the emotional transition important to this ritual has not yet been achieved. The tone of this ritual is fast-paced, efficient and goal orientated. Time is at a premium, no step is wasted and brands that can help get more from this time are welcomed. Starbucks is packed daily with commuters who have moved their morning coffee ritual into their commute. A Spanish mum told us she uses teeth whitening strips while doing the school run. Audrey from France eats her Taillefine cereal bar and starts putting on her makeup in the lift from her flat to the ground floor. 8.00am Sony alarm clock goes and is switched off. 8.02am Alarm goes off again and Europe 1 comes on, Audrey gets out of bed quickly, turns on light and starts up her Dell. She doesn t open the curtains. 8.03am As the computer boots she pads to the kitchen and selects a Taillefine cereal bar from a choice of three boxes (Balesto, Grany). She puts it in her Gérard Darel bag and drinks a glass one third filled with Tropicana orange juice and two thirds full of Evian mineral water. 8.05am She showers with Ushuaia shower gel and cleans her teeth (Signal and Oral B). 8.15am Checks her hotmail and gets dressed (Zara, H&M), she chooses clothes that are structured, fashionable but a little bit sexy. She likes to present a strong image. She admits that this is the moment when she could still be on time for work but is too interested in her not to read and respond to it. 8.25am She leaves her flat and eats her cereal bar and puts on Gemey mascara and Chanel, Morning Rose lipstick in the lift. Her makeup is very important to her. She says it is a barrier between her and the world. SEQUENCE DISRUPTION SAME BRAND USAGE IS THERE A SEQUENCE OR ORDER THAT YOU FOLLOW WHEN GETTING READY IN THE MORNING? 23% 77% ARE YOU IRRITATED WHEN YOUR GETTING READY ROUTINE IS DISRUPTED? 32% 68% ONCE YOU ARE READY FOR THE DAY, HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL? PREPARED CALM START TIME OF THE DAY ON A TYPICAL DAY, WHAT TIME DO YOU BEGIN TO GET STARTED FOR YOUR DAY? 5am - 5:59am 12 6am - 6:59am 29 7am - 7:59am 28 8am - 8:59am 12 9am - 9:59am 5 10am - 10:59am 2 DO YOU TEND TO USE THE SAME PRODUCTS WHEN GETTING READY FOR THE DAY? 21% MALE 79% SATISTIED IN CONTROL FEMALE 22% 78% % YES NO YES NO YES NO YES NO EMOTIONAL TRANSITION NEUTRAL AND COCOONED READY TO TAKE ON THE DAY
9 Beatrice, 31 Milan, Events Manager Feasting refers to the rituals that surround sharing food and meals with others. It is a ritual that transforms us from feeling alone to being connected with our group. It includes preparing, inviting, meeting and contributing. Feasting has a beginning, middle and end. Feasting rituals establish our role in a group. Provider, entertainer, nurturer, child. The symbols of this bond are often food. The Chinese mother who takes her family out for dinner to a local restaurant every night to reconnect. The German students who define their group by meeting weekly at McDonald s for lunch. The American guys who gather for pizza, beer and the game on a Friday night. The Polish mother who replicates the meals cooked by her mother for her own family. Weekday evenings are often characterised by fast, easy meals eaten with regularity. In the USA, Canada and UK particularly, more and more of these meals are eaten out or at least constructed out of the home. Think of the career woman who buys high-end component pieces of her meal and assembles the contents at home, creating something halfway between cooked and prepared. At weekends and on special occasions though, people are more adventurous with their feasts. There is more preparation, more experimentation with new or unusual things and a higher level of indulgence. It is also a time of more conscious connection with each other. So, feasting changes over the course of the week. Earlier in the day and week, people are more likely to eat efficient healthy meals. The later in the day or week, the more likely they are to indulge in treats puddings, alcohol, crisps. 8.30am Having decided the menu and wine for my dinner party a few days before, I set off to the shops before work with my detailed shopping list. My dishes are a mix of my favorites from a family member or recipes I have collected. I build the menu so that all the ingredients will work together. I buy the freshest produce, the most expensive ingredients and my favourite brands because I want to be sure of the quality of the end result. 9.30am Arrive at work and put produce in fridge. 7.00pm Arrive home from work and unpack the shopping. 7.15pm I start to cook so that everything will be ready for the meal. I carefully display the correct quantity of all the ingredients I need for each recipe in separate bowls, so that everything is at hand. If I do not know the recipe by heart, I check it at every step. I tend to do one dish at a time because I need to concentrate on what I am preparing. 8.40pm The table setting: my favourite part of the preparation. I choose the colour of the tablecloth, napkins and table decorations depending on the occasion, the invitees and the meal. I have three different styles of crockery and glassses, ranging from the more traditional to design orientated. I love candles and chandeliers: colours and styles should match. I always use two glasses, one for water and one for wine, depending on the wine (three when there is a dessert wine) and as many forks as courses. I change dish with every course. 8.55pm I get out the dishes I will use to serve the food. Each course has a different shape dish and I always arrange the food with decorations, so that it appeals to the eye. 9.00pm Everything is ready. My guests start to arrive. Let the feast begin am Everyone has eaten, drunk and talked to happy exhaustion. RAINER, 39, BERLIN EMOTIONAL TRANSITION FEELING ALONE BEING CONNECTED TO A GROUP
10 Yoko, 32 Tokyo, Office Lady Sexing up is the ritual that transforms us from our ordinary selves to our extraordinary or most special selves. It is the ritual that prepares us for an evening out. It includes cleansing, preparing, grooming, indulging, preening and connecting with others. This is a ritual that is full of emotion, anticipation, excitement, optimism and vibrancy. It is fundamentally about giving us confidence. Yet, ironically, it is also a ritual filled with anxiety - especially for women. Sexing up has a competitive edge. We want not just to fit in (important enough) we want to look as good as we possibly can. And getting this right can be highly pressured. An attractive young woman in France told us she tries on everything she owns and then wears the same outfit she wore the last time. Japanese girls send photos of themselves in their proposed outfits for the approval of their friends. This is a special ritual. People use their best things. A German mother uses the moisturiser she bought travelling because it reminds her of holidays; the rest of the time she uses Nivea. Bruce in Australia puts on his Chanel Allure aftershave to attract the ladies. The young are the most likely to share this ritual with their friends. As they do so they indulge in treats; alcohol, cigarettes, favoured food. In this ritual sequence matters little but the details matter very much. 3.00pm Saturday - a quick shower to get clean before an Aroma Broom candle-lit half-bath (you start with the bath half full and fill it to the top for the last few minutes), with bath salts, while using a microwaved SK facial wipe. 3.25pm Another quick shower to clean off. 3.30pm Texts boyfriend to confirm their date at 5pm at a shrine, followed by dinner. He asks her to wear her yukata (traditional Japanese dress). Visits Yahoo to explore date location and some shops she would like to visit while in the area. 3.50pm Her mum helps her tie her obie. She does her hair and her nails with Anna Sui nail varnish and sprays on L Occitane perfume and scentless mosquito spray. 4.30pm Packs handbag that matches her yukata with facial wipes, Coach wallet, cell phone and treatment for bug bites. 4.45pm Says goodbye to parents and goes out to get the train into town. NATACHA, 26, OSLO EMOTIONAL TRANSITION NORMAL MOST CONFIDENT SELVES
11 This is the ritual that returns us to our private worlds. The exhalation at the end of the day as we transform from being on alert to being at ease. It is the happy return to the people we dare to be when there are no bosses or colleagues or otherwise threatening characters around. Back in the safety of our homes we return to being our true selves. We undo many of the things we did in the morning. Getting undressed. Almost everyone changes some item of clothing when they get home, be it taking off shoes, putting on joggers or a dressing gown. Taking off the makeup we put on 15 hours earlier. We eat. Perhaps as a group; perhaps in phases. We escape the pressure of the day through television, internet surfing, conversation or prayer. We treasure this time. Reconnecting with our loved ones. Reading to our children. Calling our parents or friends. Transforming the functional bathroom of the morning into a spa complete with wine or chocolate or even crisps. We let go of the day and prepare for the night. Michael, 41 Frankfurt, Consultant 7.30pm Walk through door of apartment in Frankfurt. Kiss the girlfriend. 7.35pm Station wheelie suitcase and laptop bag in the corner and empty stuff out of pockets onto the nearest surface: wallet, mobile phone, keys, favourite pen (Montblanc), BlackBerry, receipts and spare change in two currencies. 7.37pm Head straight to the bedroom to change out of suit and into Seven jeans, T-Shirt and Pirelli shoes while chatting to my girlfriend about the day. 7.45pm Drift back to kitchen for a Danone yoghurt and Campari and soda on ice, as well as a glass of Selters water. Switch on radio (SWR3) for the news. Flick through the post and messages lying on the kitchen table. 8.15pm Head out for casual dinner at a local Italian restaurant (one of our regulars) pm Get home, switch on flat screen Panasonic, watch the news over Lavazza Espresso and cheese and nuts. Think about getting ready for bed. MOST PEOPLE UNWIND FROM THEIR DAY BETWEEN 7 AND 10 PM COCO, 37, BEIJING ONCE YOU ARE READY FOR THE END OF THE DAY, HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL? TIRED CALM SATISFIED RELAXED RELIEVED UNWINDING ESSENTIALS WHICH, IF ANY, OF THE FOLLOWING THINGS ARE ESSENTIAL TO YOU WHEN YOU UNWIND AND END YOUR DAY? WATCH TV/ LISTEN TO RADIO EAT/DRINK SOMETHING TALKING TO FAMILY/PARTNER BRUSHING YOUR TEETH HAVE A SHOWER/BATH GETTING CHANGED SEQUENCE IS THERE A SEQUENCE OR ORDER THAT YOU ALWAYS FOLLOW WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED ALL THE TASKS IN YOUR NORMAL (WORKING) DAY? 59% 41% DISRUPTION DID YOU FEEL IRRITATED THE LAST TIME YOUR FINISHING THE (WORKING) DAY ROUTINE WAS DISRUPTED? 34% 66% YES NO YES NO EMOTIONAL TRANSITION TENSE RELAXED AND AT EASE
12 Bradley, 41 New York, Finance Director The chapter that closes the day. This is the ritual we do in the ten minutes before bed. Locking up doors and windows, shutting down everything with a plug, preparing for the night (brushing teeth, putting on night cream, taking medication, pouring a glass of water), checking on kids and dogs and preparing bags, breakfast tables or outfits for the next day. It is most often talked about by husbands and fathers who see this last ritual as the moment when they secure their families. This ritual transforms us from relaxed to reassured. I switch off all lights (I hate wasting electricity overnight on external lights). I check on the dog and pat her goodnight. I check the back door is locked. I check the front door is locked using my wife s keys on her Marc Jacobs key ring. I make sure the shades are closed in our lounge. I make sure my bag is ready to go for the morning. I move my shoes to a place where putting them on won t make lots of noise on hard floors that might wake people as I leave. So, I guess I do have a ritual. A ten minute one. We return to the cocoon until we are ready to prepare for battle once more. XELL, 32, BARCELONA EMOTIONAL TRANSITION TENSE RELAXED AND AT EASE
13 So what now? Put simply, if you approach any project with rituals in mind here is what we recommend you do Observe. Interpret. Invent. Let us explain a little more.
14 We believe in ethnographics. Which is really just a fancy word for watching what people do. As we said at the beginning, great communication begins with an intense look at behaviour. Wherever possible we like to observe people s current ritual in it s natural form. We look at the way people currently use our clients product, we look at the people who get through a particular ritual without our clients products. And we look for new and unexpected places where we could feature in our consumers rituals. We look for weak points in fortress ritual (from simple things like when a product runs out and needs replacing to more complex life events, like moving house or foreign travel.) Then we search for brand strengths that might encourage people to build a new ritual with our product inside it. Our job is to interpret what we see. We re searching for the emotional purpose of the practical acts that are bound up in a particular ritual. Correct interpretation of ritualistic behaviour leads to better, clearer, more targeted work. The power of rituals means that we have no choice but to create outstanding work if we want to change them so they include our client s brand. And that s great for our brand. Great for our rituals. Which makes this section pretty obvious. We need to create killer work. Or, as we refer to it, compelling commercial content. But compelling commercial content with a clear ritual changing purpose. Creative ideas that are designed to embed a new ritual in our consumer s minds have a great deal more chance of success than a cool ad that s just sponsored entertainment. And we need to be inventive about product development, media placement, packaging and digital communication. Reaching people inside their rituals has never been more demanding. Finally, once we have great rituals and we have begun to get inside Fortress Ritual, our job is to pull up the drawbridge and keep rival brands out of our fortress
15 We ve learnt a lot about rituals, both from our research and our early attempts to explain what we have found to clients and colleagues alike. The more we learn, the more we want to learn. Beyond these daily rituals we know there are weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual rituals that have an equally compelling impact on the way people buy brands. Let s keep filling up the BBDO library of learning. Try this on the people you work with and see how they react, how they contribute from their own experience. Make a habit of it. No, strike that, make a ritual of it
16 If anything you ve read here interests you please come to BBDO and talk to us. Maybe even work with us for a couple of days. But be warned. Once a client gets into the ritual of working with us, they tend to stick with it for a very long time. For more information: Christine Hannis Director of Communications and Talent BBDO EMEA 151 Marylebone Road London NW 1 5QE B B D O THE RITUAL MASTERS
17 Ferdinando Scianna Paola sleeping in Corso, Venezia