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Question: Critically discuss one the four Darwinian meta-drives in terms of what they do and their application in marketing.

16 Aug 2023,9:52 PM


1) Critically discuss one the four Darwinian meta-drives in terms of what they do and their application in marketing.




Darwinian meta-drives, as conceptualized by Geoffrey Miller, refer to the fundamental psychological motivations that drive human behavior, shaped by natural and sexual selection throughout our evolutionary history. These meta-drives are believed to underlie various aspects of human behavior, including decision-making, preferences, and desires. The four Darwinian meta-drives are:

  1. Survival: This meta-drive encompasses the instincts and motivations that are linked to basic survival needs such as food, water, shelter, and safety. These instincts have evolved over time to ensure our continued existence as a species. In modern times, marketing strategies often tap into the survival meta-drive by emphasizing the practical benefits and functionality of products. For example, advertisements for energy bars might focus on providing the necessary sustenance for endurance and strength, appealing to the instinctive drive to survive and thrive.

  2. Reproduction: The reproductive meta-drive involves the desire to pass on one's genes to the next generation. This drive encompasses not only the urge for sexual reproduction but also the desire to attract mates, compete with rivals, and engage in behaviors that enhance one's reproductive success. In marketing, this meta-drive is frequently targeted through the use of sexual imagery and appeals to attractiveness. Perfume and clothing advertisements often leverage this meta-drive by suggesting that using their product will make the consumer more appealing and increase their chances of attracting a mate.

  3. Parenting: The parenting meta-drive relates to the desire to care for and protect one's offspring. This drive includes not only biological offspring but also extends to nurturing and protecting individuals within one's social group. Marketing strategies that tap into this meta-drive often highlight the safety, well-being, and education of children. For instance, companies may promote child safety features in cars or showcase the educational benefits of certain toys to resonate with the innate parenting instinct.

  4. Society: The societal meta-drive pertains to the human inclination to cooperate, form social bonds, and participate in group activities. It encompasses the need for social acceptance, status, and belonging. In marketing, this drive is frequently leveraged by creating a sense of belonging and social identity. Advertisements for clothing brands, for example, might showcase how wearing their products aligns with a certain lifestyle or community, appealing to the societal meta-drive of fitting in and being recognized within a group.

Critically discussing the "Society" meta-drive in terms of its application in marketing:

The societal meta-drive plays a significant role in shaping consumer behavior and preferences. On the positive side, it can foster a sense of community and belonging, allowing individuals to identify with certain brands, causes, or lifestyle choices. This can lead to positive outcomes for both consumers and companies, as people often seek products that align with their values and desired social identity.

However, the exploitation of the societal meta-drive in marketing is not without ethical concerns. When companies manipulate this drive solely for profit, they may contribute to the creation of superficial, materialistic, and potentially harmful consumer cultures. Exaggerated claims of social status, exclusivity, or belonging can lead to conspicuous consumption and social comparison, which can be detrimental to individuals' well-being and societal cohesion.

In conclusion, the societal meta-drive has a strong influence on consumer behavior, allowing marketers to tap into people's desire for social acceptance and belonging. While it can create positive connections between individuals and brands, it's essential for marketers to approach this meta-drive ethically, fostering genuine connections and addressing broader societal values rather than contributing to materialistic and shallow consumption patterns.


2) Choose ONE of the principles of behavioural science taught in class (e.g. Social Proof; Priming etc.). Explain the theory and critically discuss how it can be applied in marketing communication.

Assignments should be typed, using 1.5 spacing and an easy-to-read 12-point font.

Overall word limit: 3000. The word count should:

▪Include all the text, including title, preface, introduction, in-text citations, quotations, footnotes and any other items not specifically excluded below.

▪Exclude diagrams, tables (including tables/lists of contents and figures), equations, executive summary/abstract, acknowledgements, declaration, bibliography/list of references and appendices. However, it is not appropriate to use diagrams or tables merely as a way of circumventing the word limit. If a student uses a table or figure as a means of presenting his/her own words, then this is included in the word count.

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