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Hard Rock Cafe: Anyone Can Be Cool

Posted by Rosepixie on May 30, 2010

This is a magazine ad for Hard Rock Cafe.

This is one of those ads that really took me by surprise.  I’m so used to Hard Rock Cafe cultivating the image of being for real rockers – the stereotypical real rockers with colored streaks in their hair and customized guitars and crazy rock star clothes – that I wasn’t expecting to find an ad that actually speaks directly to the people who seem to actually frequent the restaurants most often.  Because although I’ve been to several Hard Rock Cafes, I’ve never seen anyone that looks like that stereotypical rocker there in real life, they’re just in the pictures on the walls.  The patrons were all more like me and my family – middle class suburban families with parents waxing nostalgic about how they used to gush over Elvis and kids marveling at the cool memorabilia on the walls.

But when you get down to it, I’ll be a large number of those parents have some rebellion in their past (isn’t that what most famous rock stars and bands are in their heyday, after all, rebellion of some kind?).  And they remember it.  People don’t just grow up and stop being who they were, they’re just older and have more experience and more responsibilities.  You may spend your afternoons singing along to the Wiggles, but Nirvana will still be your favorite band of all time.  And that’s what this ad is appealing to – those youthful rebellions and secret musical preferences that adults learn to sort of put aside when they grow up because it gives the wrong impression or because it would wake the baby or because their mother-in-laws don’t like it or any number of other reasons.

I think that this is a brilliant ad for Hard Rock Cafe.  It doesn’t let go of the image they want to project, but it reaches out the customers they actually attract, rather than the ones they want to give the impression of attracting.


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