Astrology: The latest marketing technique

Jewelry featuring astrological signs.

Your horoscope told you to read this didn’t it?

By: Dalal Awienat

DUBAI – Have you ever heard someone say, “oh I’m always late because I’m such a Pisces” or “You are such a Gemini.” These words may seem like insults or even some magical phrases but they aren’t. Astrological signs have been around for a long time, but they have recently gained popularity again and are taking over social media and marketing.  

What is astrology?

Astrology is the study of the positions of celestial bodies. These celestial bodies are believed to have an influence on human affairs and the natural world.  The position of the stars is said to impact the way the universe operates and human behavior. This practice originated in Mesopotamia and spread to the rest of the world. The celestial bodies are grouped into 12 distinct constellations.

There are 12 astrological signs including:

Aries (March 21 to April 20)Libra (Sept. 24 to Oct. 23)
Taurus (April 21 to May 20)Scorpio (Oct. 24 to Nov. 22)
Gemini (May 21 to June 21)Sagittarius (Nov. 23 to Dec. 21)
Cancer (June 22 to July 22)Capricorn (Dec. 22 to Jan. 21)
 Leo (July 23 to Aug. 23) Aquarius (Jan. 21 to Feb. 18)
Virgo (Aug. 24 to Sept. 23)Pisces (Feb. 22 to March 21)

The names of the constellations are named after Olympian Gods in Greek mythology. Each sign reflects a planet or a star. The astrological chart consists of 10 different planets. This chart is claimed to have an impact on a person’s personality based on their birth place, time and date. 

Astrology is now used to help categorize people based on traits. Usually, horoscopes have generic statements, which can be applied to anyone. This creates a sense of relatability and tricks people into feeling as if the statements apply to them. An example of a generic horoscope is “you shall be completely immersed in your routine today” or “you will experience change this week.” These basic statements can easily be related to anyone, but they make readers feel included. 

Why are people into astrology? 

Stress and uncertainty about the future is a feeling that many face. Astrology is seen as a way of relieving that stress since the future is decided through horoscopes. Many turn to astrology to help make big decisions or even determine their mood for the day. Daily horoscopes have become very popular online and even in newspapers. According to the American Federation of Astrologers, 70 million Americans check their horoscopes daily. 

Astrology enthusiast Aaron James Arquero said he checks his horoscope because it is usually right. 

“Astrology for me is reassuring, every time I read my horoscope it’s usually right. I know it’s a type of confirmation bias because I am looking for something specific when I read my horoscope, but it still feels reassuring,” said Arquero. 

Astrology is continuously endorsed and seen in the media. Many celebrities publicly post about astrology and this contributes to the popularity of the practice. In 2012, pop singer Lady Gaga planned her tour dates based on the astrological alignment of the stars. According to Gaga, she did this to ensure her tour went smoothly and was not against the stars. Many other celebrities publicly discuss their zodiac sign and share their perceived traits on social media. This created a culture around the idea of horoscopes and people started to feel left out if they didn’t participate. 

Astrology as a marketing technique

Clothing companies, jewelry brands and cosmetic designers have all resorted to astrology to market their products. Zodiac clothing collections, makeup lines and jewelry sets sell out very quickly due to their high demand. These products are appealing to people as they feel exclusive. 

Marketing student at the American University of Sharjah, Joseph Henry, said marketing is about speaking the customer’s language. When asked about astrology and marketing, Henry said zodiac signs are an example of making customers feel included.

“When products are marketed through astrology, they help consumers identify with the brand and the product. When a company shows the customer they understand them and can make them feel special, they are more likely to purchase the products,” said Henry. 

SIDEBAR QUOTE: “If a lipstick is named Virgo, and you are a Virgo, you will feel connected to the product and are more likely to buy it,” said Henry.  

Aquero confirmed this and said zodiac themed products are fun and exciting to own. 

“Aside from signaling an identity you belong to so that others can connect with you easily, these products are more relatable and can be a conversation starter. If I see someone with a phone cover that has my zodiac sign on it, I am going to talk to them about it,” said Aquero. 

“I get excited when I see someone wearing something with my zodiac sign on it, I already feel connected to them,” said Aquero.

This practice is not only limited to merchandise. Brands have appealed to social media marketing while using zodiac signs to get interactions on their posts. You might have seen a post that says “which ice cream flavor are you based on your zodiac sign” or “your zodiac sign will determine your new favorite pair of shoes.” 

Criticisms of Astrology 

But astrology is not loved by everyone. There are many people who are strongly against astrology. One of the biggest reasons why many don’t support astrology is religion. Muslims believe that astrology is a form of idolatry and relying on an external source other than God is against their religion. 

Astrology skeptic Amaan Siddiqui does not believe in astrology for many reasons. He said his religion does not allow him to support astrology. 

“Religion and astrology simply can’t mix. How can the stars determine my future and the way I act? It just doesn’t make sense to me,” said Siddiqui. 

Siddiqui also added that he thinks astrology is an excuse for some people to act in a wrong way.

“Astrology is superficial. The idea that star placements determine how my relationships or life will go is stupid. People often use their signs as excuses to act in certain ways which is very wrong and should not be socially accepted,” said Siddiqui. 

Astrology is taking over social media, celebrity culture and even clothes. Everyone wants to hop on the trend and appeal to individuals in a more relatable way. In moderation, astrology can be a fun practice that is lighthearted, but it can lead to a problem when people start to live by their horoscopes. Try to resist the urge to stick to your horoscope reading, because the truth might leave you in Pisces.