A collaboration of erotic, spellbinding beats released from 18-year-old Noelia Guzman’s computer screen. Soon came sensual close-ups of topless, firm, saturated bodies lying on a rocky ocean side to join the hypnotic pulses. In statuesque poses, the tight figures intertwined each other, being moistened by ocean splashes against the bronze boulders, sexuality was apparent. Moments later, the 2012 video advertisement for Calvin Klein Jeans ended, and Guzman was left intrigued; hence, the rise of mature materialism, or “maturialism,” in 2012.
“I actually appreciated how risqué it was,” Guzman, an electrical engineer at the University of Florida, said. “It was actually made in an artistic way that uniquely showed off what Calvin Klein was trying to sell. Isn’t that what an advertisement is supposed to do?”
Trendwatching.com defined maturialism as, “Thoroughly exposed to an uncensored, opinionated and raw world, experienced consumers no longer tolerate being treated like yesteryear’s easily shocked, inexperienced, middle-of-the-road audiences. Able to handle much more honest conversations, more daring innovations, more quirky flavors, more risqué experiences, these consumers increasingly appreciate brands that push the boundaries.”
Trend Expert and Head of Research and Analysis for trendwatching.com, Henry Mason, claims there are three main drivers to maturialism: long-term social and cultural liberalization and the gradual collapse of convention, driven in part by urbanization; the effect of online culture, with its open, uncensored and even raw attitudes; and the status shift; away from traditional status symbols of power and wealth and the embracing of creativity and exoticism.
Joining the risk-taking Calvin Klein Jeans advertisements are the 2012 Super Bowl commercials, a few being GoDaddy.com, Kia Motors and teleflora.com, that shocked with sexuality. In fact, Super Bowl XLVI set viewership records as the most watched program in American TV history, reaching 111.3 million viewers. Sex sold, big time.
And let’s be serious, Super Bowl viewers can’t wait to see the highly-anticipated commercials, costing an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second slot. That’s 140 times more than what the current average American earns in one year! It looks like emerging maturialism has already made a permanent mark.
Nihat Strider, a 24-year-old student and entrepreneur, could not get enough of the commercials.
“The main reason for an ad is for consumers to remember a company’s product,” Strider said. “The Super Bowl commercials were memorable this year because they pushed limits.”
Even though companies have been advertising themselves by utilizing the “sex factor” to stand out, they have also incorporated spokespersons that do not fit society’s “norm” to be more innovative than the rest.
On February 29, 2012, JC Penney released its first advertisement with Actress and Talk-Show Host Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson during the 2012 Oscars. Unfortunately for emerging maturialism, a group called One Million Moms accused the company of “jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon.” These moms refused to even shop at JC Penney, but they are a small exception to the followers of the emerging maturialism trend. Luckily for JC Penney and DeGeneres, the women ceased their boycott.
“It’s a shame that it was seen as ‘offensive’ when JC Penney chose Ellen DeGeneres, as their new spokesperson,” said 19-year-old Alyson Samach, a political science major at the UF. “Now other companies might hesitate to take the ‘risk’ of choosing a gay celebrity to endorse them.”
While the emerging maturialism trend is becoming more evident, you might wonder, what started maturialism in the first place?
According to Marketing Expert Chris Maloney’s book, “Emerging Baby Boomer Trends: Maturialism (mature materialism) and SKI-ing (Spending the Kids’ Inheritance),” maturialism began near the end of the Baby Boom, 1964. During that year, major innovations widely spread, making changeful impacts on America.
A combination of the Vietnam War, the development of the birth control pill and the rise of feminism made the Baby Boomer generation more open-minded and accepting. With ground-breaking changes in societal behavior and trends, men and women slowly began to welcome the concept of maturialism, which at the time, did not even have a name.
The term “maturialism” was first coined by trendwatching.com in 2004, to describe the consumer trend of Baby Boomers wanting to treat themselves to high-end goods, services and experiences simply because they can’t afford them.
Now, maturialism is more representative of younger adults who find more appeal in the controversial and risqué.
“The boundaries need to be pushed,” Noelia Guzman, 18, said. “I think in this time and age, if done right, risqué ads could be an art because they bring a new perspective on how people view merchandise.”
Similarly, 19-year-old Alyson Samach looked on the brighter side of maturialism, but also had her doubts.
“I think pushing boundaries can be a good idea, but only if there is a higher concept in mind,” Samach said. “I’m going to pay more attention to an ad that makes me think, but if it is trying to shock people for the sake of simply generating controversy and buzz, I’m likely to be turned off.”
While television assists in emerging maturialism, it is the Web that controls this risk-taking phenomenon.
“The online experience, where anything goes, is a huge factor in maturialism,” said Henry Mason, trend expert. “In the future of advertising, brands can’t be bland anymore. It’s not just about being shocking, but about being interesting and speaking consumers’ language.”
A recent Trend Briefing on FLAWSOME, featured on trendwatching.com, also touches on the need for brands to be more open and honest with customers. According to the briefing, brands that behave more humanly, including showing their flaws, will be ‘awesome’ for 2012 consumers.
“If advertisements are not holding back, then neither should brands,” Mason said. “Anything that moves us beyond the sanitized, bland, corporate-speak that so many brands think they have to put out, and introduces a little honesty, maturity or humor is definitely a welcome development.”
For more information about emerging maturialism and other 2012 trends, visit trendwatching.com.