The summery lexicon of the California cool girl.
“LA is having a moment.”
It’s become a mantra lately, so often repeated in cafés and on canyon trails that it’s almost inarguable. The lore of Los Angeles has survived its trashy past and morphed into something altogether modern and cool. And now, the Valley Girl persona of a generation ago has given way to a new breed of LA lady, the kind who follows arts movements and adventure trends. She loves succulents and shopping, road trips and restaurants. She pairs salt-sprayed hair with Current/Elliott jeans and Clare V. handbags. She’ll tell you the meaning behind her tattoos, spiritual jewelry and healing crystals. Everything about her life is beautiful and magical and totally laid back.
Everyone wants in on this new California dream, if not physically, then at least economically. Our last glimpse of Don Draper was of him finding salvation—and probably a massive bonus check—in the meditative calm of a California seaside cliff. The scene sparked one of the most famous real-life ad campaigns of the '70s, reminding us that the ultra-positive mindset of the Angeleno is ready to be awakened in the hearts of consumers the world over, at any time.
Here’s how to capture the mood of the moment in fresh, inspiring brand copy.
JUST SAY YES
East Coast cynicism is out of style, even for millennials. The order of the day is positivity, and lots of it. If you want to tap into the current LA mood, remove all traces of negativity from your attitude and point out the extreme good in everyone and everything. Key words include amazing, inspiring and life-changing. Whatever you do, don't try to use tired Cali lingo like hella. You'll sound corny.
People are game to celebrate their ongoing liberation from the confines of society, and that's always been an important component of the West Coast mentality. So any headline or social media missive that encourages doing whatever the hell you want is going to resonate on a very deep level. If your campaign says something along the lines of "you do you," it'll speak loudly to men and women alike.
LET LOVE RULE
The archetype of the plastic LA person is over. The post-Kardashian SoCal girl loves shopping, sure, but she also knows that what's really important is human connection. Copy that plays up romance (particularly of the summer variety) is a powerful emotive tool, but don't forget to reference family, BFFs and treasuring those interesting interactions you have with strangers (especially attractive ones) throughout the day.
BELIEVE IN MAGIC
Manifestation. Astrology. The universe. These concepts are second nature to California women. And West Coast mysticism is a world wide trend, so there's a good chance your customer has recently found her witchy side, no matter where she lives. Speak of personal and divine power earnestly, matter-of-factly, without apology or irony. Mention the moon, and you're in.
WORSHIP THE MUSIC
Out here, Coachella is church. Women plan their outfits for festival season months in advance. Speaking the language of rock & roll (or hip-hop or EDM) is a direct route to the hearts and minds of your customers. Sprinkling song lyrics into social media copy, whether it’s Tame Impala or Kanye West, will always win you extra likes, as will Instagram snaps (with culturally clued-in captions) from the VIP section of whatever festival is going down that weekend.
Road tripping is as important as breathing in California, as is any kind of outdoor adventure. References to camping, hiking, cliff jumping, the desert, the beach, trees and wide open spaces will make your customers dream happily of a place where the weather is almost always perfect, whether they live in London or Louisville.
The ocean is everything out here, but don't go looking up surf sayings and inserting them into your copy. Instead, think of the broader concept of nautical intrigue, and curve your campaign around that. Deepness, blueness and even darkness and mystery can call to mind the intense allure of the sea. Another approach is just to talk about beach parties and vacations. If the concept of the never-ending summer worked for the Beach Boys in 1963, it can work for your brand now.