Customers Are More Than Buying Machines, They’re Members of a Movement

According to Adweek, Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog is intent on moving the needle for the brands in his agency’s stable. But not by driving trial, no, that’s for simpletons. Strawberry Frog wants to start something. They want to create a movement (in the name of brands).

Cultural Movements is StrawberryFrog’s DNA. Cultural Movements is the process StrawberryFrog uses to develop innovative strategies for our clients. But more, it’s about curating culture and creating communities and platforms for people to circle their wagons around an idea that is relevant and important to them.
Some people ask whether any product or politician can spark a Cultural Movement. In theory, I believe every product can. But those products that are the opposite of authentic will have difficulty perpetuating a Cultural Movement over time. Fakes and phonies will be found out. The consumer is now the truth junkie who never forgets, who puts two and two together.
You can’t hide these days. The truth is essential to a prolonged Cultural Movement.

I’m a fan of Goodson, his shop, and the truth. But I have to pause and ask if this isn’t some new twist on “the conversation.” Ever since the Cluetrain rolled down the track, the most progressive among us have put a big pile of chips in the conversational marketing game. Cultural Movements, as described above, is bolder and more ambitious than a conversation, but I link them together in that they both seem to overreach. I’d love to be wrong about this, but that’s my reaction to the concept from afar.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Caution: horn-tootin’ ahead.
    We’ve been talking about (and actually) creating movements for years now. Rage Against the Haze (you know, which just won a Gold Effie) is a movement. The Fiskateers is a movement. We’ve got three others in the works that are all movements. We’re speaking all around the globe about movements. Welcome to the party, Strawberry Frog.

  2. Spike,
    You know I’m also a fan of the work you do at Brains, but in the interest of moving the discussion forward I’d like to ask if the teen anti-smoking movement and crafters community don’t already exist? Sure you can create a campaign that furthers the “movement” and deepens the community around these brands, but Goodson is saying any product or service can theoretically benefit from a movement. How would a movement for Crest toothpaste be executed? It’s an honest product, which is one of Goodson’s requirements. But I have a hard time seeing why a cultural movement, a conversation, or a community is needed to sell more Crest.

  3. Devil’s advocate here: How many brands (with $ ready to commit to it) are ready for a movement? Some are barely ready for well-planned, innovative, non-commoditized, online media buys.

  4. David I think you are being too kind. When I see an agency packaging up something we all do and giving it a fancy new name, then I tend to think of the Emperor’s new clothes

  5. What Scott doesn’t say (so I don’t know if he “gets”) is it’s not about the brand. It’s not about Crest. It’s about something bigger that Crest can’t own, but Crest can be the conduit to it. When we REFRAME THE CONVERSATION and make it about a shared passion – a passion shared by the brand and the customers – it’s something bigger. And movements transcend brands. (That’s my guess why a lot of them are afraid of it.)
    You don’t execute a movement. You build it. Brick by brick. Piece by piece. There’s lot of one-on-one, heavy lifting involved.
    Rage isn’t about kids not smoking. It’s about giving kids a platform to speak their minds – about anything. Fiskateers isn’t about paper and scissors – it’s about artistic expression and preserving memories for a lifetime. THAT’S a movement. Movements are beyond brands. Their bigger. If they’re lucky, brands can help start them and be a part of a movement. But they can’t own them.

  6. All bow down to the omnipotent, omniscient Spike, for he is our advertising God.

  7. The first time I heard about the idea of making your brand a movement was during a presentation at a conference in 2003. I wrote about it then in Event Marketer:
    Make it a movement. Jim Ward, vp-marketing at Lucas Films, said recently that the next generation of brand marketing is creating a movement. Would people camp out in front of anything for up to three weeks for your product? Many companies have created movements—just listen to any Mac user talk about PCs. Is your brand a movement or simply a product? Are people passionate about your brand, your products, and your services? Do they sincerely want to share their stories of your brand with other people? Are you telling the same story with all of your employees? Are they telling the same story to your customers?

  8. Yadda Yadda says:

    I’ve been hearing stuff similar to “We build movements” from dozens of agencies for what seems like eons now.
    Don’t get me wrong, i think it’s a good approach to have, and they may do some good work out of it.
    I’m just saying, it ain’t that orginal.

  9. Glad you think so, “rodney.” Now can you convert the masses for me? Thanks.
    PS – I hate advertising.