The Tao of Advertising – Introduction

In ancient China, around 2,500 years ago, there were two belief systems that were seemingly opposed: Confucianism and Taoism. The former was about order, structure, hierarchy, as tools for creating a highly functional and civil society. The latter, whose chief philosopher was the legendary Lao Tzu, was about nature, mystical forces, psychology, energy.

You could say that Confucianism equates more to the left brain, which governs structure, sequencing and operationalizing, while Taoism equates heavily to the right brain functions of imagining, intuiting, empathizing and non-linear associating. To simplify even further, in our modern society we use organizational structures and manufacturing process to create the products we need and want, not too different from the rules and structures of Confucianism. To sell these products as brands, however, one must “go Taoist” as it were, and see human emotions and behaviour through an entirely different lens.

Taoism was fundamentally about Energy, and connecting deeply with the nature of things. Taoists believe that the universe is a dynamic and living thing, with an unnameable underlying intelligence. So too at Wunderkind do we believe that the marketplace is not just a huge collection of individual preferences, but a living, conscious entity that, while ever-evolving, has persistent tendencies and patterns.

In upcoming posts, we will explore how Taoism is an unlikely but powerful tool to help us sense, understand and utilize the otherwise invisible forces that govern mass behaviour and propel the evolution of our tastes as a society.