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Why in 2012, experienced, open-minded consumers in traditionally ‘conservative’ emerging markets will embrace campaigns and products that are frank if not risqué.

This is what we said about MATURIALISM a while ago: “Thoroughly exposed to (if not participating in) an uncensored, opinionated and raw world (especially online!), 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.”

This mainly applied to consumers in mature consumer societies, but in 2012 we will see more and more MATURIALISTIC manifestations in emerging markets too.

Why? For all the many cultural differences that may exist, the global consumer class is remarkably alike in its needs and wants, not to mention more urban too (read: more connected, more spontaneous and more try-out-prone). So if you’re a Chinese or Indian or Turkish brand, or you’re a Western brand selling to emerging markets, 2012 is the year that you can push things a bit further.


  • In 2011, Diesel India ran an in-store promotion headlined with the phrase 'Sex sells. Unfortunately we sell jeans' that offered a spoof sex toy to customers spending over USD 150. The leatherette 'Knee J' knee pads came boxed in packaging featuring risqué retro cartoons and the tagline "Knee Jerk Reactions Guaranteed."
  • Released in March 2011, Indian personal care brand Cardiograph Corporation's hand sanitizer Sanitol's ad campaign shows one man touching another's intimate area and another picking his colleague's nose. The ads hint at the kind of germs that consumers might have on their hands, and proving why they should use sanitizer to keep clean.

  • US pharmaceutical brand Johnson & Johnson created an advertising campaign in China during September 2011 to raise awareness about gynecological health. A video commercial advertising a diary purportedly written by “V” (vagina, “小V日记” in Chinese) took internet users to a dedicated microsite where users could view a fictional online diary written about women's sexual health. The 30-page virtual booklet had articles and information on relationships and sex as well as fashion and friendship.