AnxietyIndex Hall of Fame: Top 10 brand responses to recession

q3-aiqAfter almost a year spent surveying brand and consumer response to the recession through our AnxietyIndex.com, we found that only a handful of the 350 examples we collected across 24 countries truly stood out. Creating innovative work isn’t easy in any economic climate; it’s even harder when marketing budgets are low and risk aversion is high.

Our AnxietyIndex Brand Hall of Fame salutes 10 of the most notable responses to the recession that we’ve seen. We believe these will hold up in years to come as case studies of work that transcend typical approaches to a downturn. Our third AnxietyIndex Quarterly explains why we think so.

Our Top 10 in ascending order:

10. American Express
9. Caixa Econômica Federal
8. Woolworths
7. Financial Times
6. Portuguese Red Cross
5. JetBlue
4. Cash for Clunkers
3. The Economic Times
2. Levi’s
1. Hyundai Motor America

You can download the whole report from the Trends and Research section or by clicking here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you agree with our choices?

6 Responses to “AnxietyIndex Hall of Fame: Top 10 brand responses to recession”


  • One of my favorites here is the Levi’s in that they did sometihng revolutionary for the apparel category.

  • I do like the Levi’s example a lot. It’s funny though, part of the reason we found ourselves in this recession is because of the amount of credit we racked up. Perhaps India hasn’t had as much of a problem as we have had in the U.S. But, with all the media backlash about credit, it’s a bit bizarre that they chose to do a program where you pay off the jeans in parts like a credit card…

  • Hyundai deserves to be in the #1 spot for this very basic reason: they started the year at 3.0% market share, and it had risen to 4.3% by the end of October. That much share gain in such a short timeframe is almost unheard of in the automotive industry.

  • Cash for Clunkers had its detractors, but it did a couple of things very well. First was the big sales gains, which helped convince people the industry wasn’t collapsing. Secondly, it got some older vehicles headed to the scrap yards. The average age of trade-ins normally ranges from about 7 to 8 years. During C4C, it jumped up to 11 to 12. So if you’re seeing fewer rusted out ’88 Malibus belching blue smoke rolling down the road, thank this program.

  • I’m fascinated by the Portuguese Red Cross example. The idea of giving an intangible gift of “hope” as an alternative to material items really gets down to the core meaning of the holidays. I think this example really highlights the change in consumer values brought on by the recession.

    With this year’s holiday season fast approaching, I wonder if any other brands will expand on the concept of selling intangible gifts consumers can feel…

  • Katie, some good points you raise regarding Levi’s. But I believe a major difference is that interest is attached to credit. To me, it speaks to responsible spending: rather than put down plastic for a pair jeans you can’t afford upfront (and accrue interest), you exercise some prudence by paying over time.

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