THE POWER OF THE MYTH
Richard Slotkin, a foremost scholar on the subject, defined the myth of the American frontier as a wide-open land of unlimited opportunity for the strong, ambitious, self-reliant individual to thrust his way to the top. Thus the myth of the frontier became a powerful guide for action in two ways. It instructed Americans to continually push the frontier outward, exploiting land not just for economic gain but for spiritual redemption. And it justified the removal of the “immoral” native people who where brazenly failing to subdue the land they inhabit. The idea of virgin wilderness awaiting human hands has been at the heart of American mythology ever since.
Jonah Sachs in his book ‘Winning the Story Wars’ talks about the stories marketers tell and the power of myth in providing explanation and meaning. ‘From its most primitive days marketing has been about allowing a product or service to confer meaning on the purchase. Even our coffee cup is a signifier of meaning and belonging. Looking at the cup we know what tribe we belong to’.
He also refers to the ritual. ‘What’s the good of a marketing story if it doesn’t give audiences a way to live that story out? You might say that introducing ‘ritual’ should be the basis of every marketing campaign’.