The Sage

“The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself. The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete”
 – Lao Tzu

For some, the pursuit of wisdom is the key to success. Seeking truth, insight, and intelligence is the way to understanding the world and the big questions of the universe. A Sage brand has one such pursuit.

The Sage considers themselves the smartest one in the room. They are also called the scholar, detective, philosopher, and teacher. On a quest for truth and enlightenment, once they have gained that truth, they want to share it with the world.

You can also think of the Sage as the wise old mentor, teacher, or wizard who appears to help the hero on his journey (i.e., Dumbledore, Yoda, and Mr. Miyagi). Sage archetypes are everywhere in popular culture, as well as in brands.

Think of any post-secondary institution, and they are likely using the Sage as an archetype. At their very core, they are purveyors and teachers of truth and knowledge.

Examples of Sage brands: Harvard, BBC, and The New York Times.

Change the World with National Geographic

Who hasn’t watched National Geographic and learned some fascinating facts about the world they didn’t know before? National Geographic has shaped the way people view the world for decades through science, education, exploration, and storytelling. They’re explorers, teachers, researchers, seekers of truth, and changers. So much so that they offer perspectives from the tiniest microbes to the furthest stars, giving people a view of the world they’ve never seen.

Let’s look at a couple of National Geographic TV ads to explore the Sage archetype further.

In 2015, National Geographic released their ‘Let’s Change the World Together’ ad. The ad focuses on National Geographic’s expanded commitment to protecting wildlife and oceans, funding researchers and explorers, and sharing that information on a global scale. National Geographic is like the wizened old Sage of popular culture, and the people of the world are the hero. They seek the truth and pass that wisdom on to people so that together they might incite change.

Consider their IF. Live Curious campaign, which encourages people to ask questions about the world around them, showing footage of people and landscapes worldwide. National Geographic offers the resources but prompts people to seek their own truth of the world. As the ad says, “If you want to know more, you are alive.” Through the pursuit of truth, we will grow, change, and understand who and where we are.

Every campaign, TV special, magazine article, and photo from National Geographic is centred around the truth of the world. They are here to help people learn, explore, question, and understand the world.