What’s your sign? How brands are using astrology to start a conversation
Listen to this episode:
If you don’t wake up every morning and check the Co-Star app, what are you even doing with your life?
But if you’ve noticed more astrology-branded goods or a recent focus on experiences that coincide with astrological charts, you’re not alone.
Gone are the days you’d only find a generic horoscope at the back of a gossip magazine. Now, you can shop for candles that speak to your zodiac sign or even order a fast food meal that aligns with your vIbEz.
In other words, astrology is undergoing a marketing makeover.
From the 1970s and the Age of Aquarius to today, where millions follow astrological charts through apps like Co-Star or The Pattern, brands and creators are tapping into the interest and power of horoscopes and using it as a way to draw in consumers.
This resurgence in attention has a lot to do with the movement toward wellness and self-care, and the declining interest in organized religion. As more turn away from traditional religion and delve deeper into spirituality (while still wanting to find a sense of guidance or understanding), the alternative for many is to dive into the varying layers of astrology.
The zodiac holds all the answers, right? For many, it does.
Not entirely sure what astrology is?
Here’s a quick refresher: Astrology is the practice of learning how stars, planets, and the alignment of celestial objects have an impact on one’s life.
There’s a vast spectrum regarding astrology: Those who believe in it wholeheartedly and those who think it’s complete pseudoscience. Then there’s a huge group of people in the middle who know their astrological sign and make it a part of their identity.
But why is it so popular (again)?
With the onset of self-care and wellness being a top priority for so many, it’s only natural that astrology pops back up. This time around, even brands are getting in on the action.
Between the last few tumultuous years and so many making significant life changes, tapping into zodiac charts and astrological signs to make sense of things doesn’t feel so out of the ordinary.
And, as many trends that come around in cycles, this isn’t the first time astrology has gained a new audience.
During the 1960s and 1970s, astrology became popular due to the emergence of the New Age movement and the broadening acceptance of spirituality in a non-religious sense. Compare that to today, however, and millennials and Gen Z are taking it even more mainstream.
In the past, obtaining insight into oneself was relegated to seeking out professionals (or buying generic horoscopes at the checkout line in the grocery store). But thanks to the internet, all one needs to do now is input a few personal details, and an algorithm does all the work.
In a piece for Modern East, Mona Jameel writes: “A new generation of stargazers are looking for answers. Answers to their hopes, their fears, their worries, and their desires.”
Add to that access and availability from social media, and it’s no wonder more are finding interest in astrology or using it countless posts every time Mercury is in retrograde.
To offer personalized insight (and as a way to elevate credibility), apps like Co-Star highlight they go beyond what other horoscopes do. The ‘hyper-personalized, social astrology’ app doesn’t just look for birth dates – it asks what minute and location a person was born.
By handing over this data to the app, Co-Star uses “NASA data, coupled with methods of professional astrologers to algorithmically generate insights about your personality and your future.”
Another popular app, The Pattern, boasts a similar outcome and provides users with “Customized, in-depth insights into your various personality traits and an informative breakdown of notable cycles you may be experiencing at any point in time - past, present, and future.”
Astrology ... and marketing?
As more become interested in star signs and birth charts, brands are catching on and looking for ways to market products based on zodiac signs.
There’s another motive for brands to do this, too.
Consumers love it when brands ‘get’ them on a personal level. And what’s more personal than offering products or recommendations based on zodiac signs?
Using astrology makes sense in certain categories. Jewelry has long offered the ability to find your zodiac sign and brands like Gorjana offer just one example of what consumers shop for when looking for more personalized or meaningful pieces.
Another category that got in early on the astrology trend is cosmetics. ColourPop, for instance, launched the Astrology Collection with eye, lip, and shadow palettes for each zodiac sign.
You might ask: well, jewelry is easier to designate pieces based on zodiac signs, but what’s the connection between cosmetic palettes/colors and the sign?
It’s all about the ‘power color’ according to Popsugar.
Ever find yourself drawn to certain colors (Aquarius here, loves blue!) or gravitate toward a certain aesthetic more than others? It could be related to your Zodiac sign.
Perfume subscription brand Scentbird helps match consumers with recommended fragrances based on astrology, too. Using the foundational traits of each zodiac sign, the team at Scentbird frequently curates lists of ideas based on what particular signs are drawn to.
Using astrology and zodiac signs in other areas of lifestyle (home décor, for example) is another category brands are reaching into as a way to attract shoppers.
Febreze recently created the CARstrology Collection, which features 12 scents matched to each zodiac sign. The brand reached out to Aliza Kelly, a well-known astrologer, to help narrow down the fragrance options by considering what each sign gravitates toward.
As popular as astrology is in many circles, there’s an equal amount of consumers who don’t put any weight into the meaning behind star signs or even what horoscopes say.
So, where does that leave brands creating marketing campaigns revolving around the topic?
Some are using conflicting feelings to drive engagement and conversation. As many brands look to get attention (even if it’s not always positive), marketing teams are more willing to embrace the opposing opinions and get creative if it means getting people to talk about the products.
Real Kraft Mayo recently did this on TikTok by using an official ‘Mayo Reader’ to analyze how users applied the condiment to bread. The campaign encouraged mayo lovers to engage with the Mayo Reader by sending videos or images through social media.
Did it work?
I mean, we all know how polarizing mayonnaise is with or without adding astrology to the mix. The Real Kraft Mayo TikTok account is definitely on the side of embracing chaos as a way to drive engagement and attention – and it works.
If nothing else, it’s a quirky and unique way to market the condiment on a platform geared for fun and trending content.
Marketing teams are always looking for ways to connect with an audience. As interest in astrology grows, especially amongst millennials and Gen Z, it makes sense for brands to grow with them and find new ways to establish brand loyalty.