JWT’s AnxietyIndex is designed as a place to discuss how brands and consumers are responding to the global recession. With daily content updates, AnxietyIndex.com includes contributions from around JWT’s network, offering a truly global perspective.
The recent best in show at FAB International’s Food and Beverage Creative Excellence Awards, Tropicana’s “Arctic Sun” commercial shows how the brand addressed a key source of anxiety in the Arctic, tied to its positioning “Brighter mornings make brighter days.” One of the major external sources of happiness for humans is light, and while people in Arctic locations adapt to the circumstances, one of their major stresses is living in full darkness in mid-winter. So Tropicana brought light to Inuvik, in northern Canada, after 31 consecutive days of darkness. A Tropicana team lit up the town with a giant artificial sun, enabling its residents to experience a sunny day–an excellent idea that touches people’s hearts to create an emotional link with the brand.
With Turkish drivers buying the most expensive fuel on earth, according to December 2009 EU data, one of the major anxieties here revolves around fuel consumption. Recently, Michelin launched an energy-saver tire series that claims to reduce fuel consumption by almost 80 liters. The company announced its new tire via a 360-degree campaign and a microsite called Mucadeleye Basla (“Start the Fight”).
Michelin positions Bibendum, its tire icon, as a sort of superhero fighting an animated fuel pump and its extreme prices, saving people from blowing their budgets. Visitors to the microsite, also based around this fight idea, answer questions about the impact of tires on fuel consumption; Bibendum then pops up to provide details about the answer, then throws a tire to knock out the evil fuel pump character. Drivers can also specify their routes to calculate fuel savings and get tips on other ways to save fuel.
With consumers still holding onto a recessionary mind-set and behavior, products and propositions need to tap into “value” and “save” expectations. Michelin’s strategy does this well, both in terms of its key insight and by outlining the message in a simple, educational and interactive way.
With consumers increasingly losing trust in brands, marketers are getting help from independent associations to reassure consumers that what they offer is “real” and can be “trusted.” Recently we have started to see more such association stamps in advertising, with associations either recommending brands or auditing their claims.
Some recent examples: The Turkish dentists association confirmed that Ipana (P&G’s leading toothpaste brand) has seven key benefits for teeth health; the Turkish gynecology association recommends Orkid (P&G’s leading feminine protection brand) for drier and more comfortable periods; and Haberturk (a year-old newspaper brand) underlines that it’s the only newspaper whose circulation rate is independently audited. Leading mobile provider Turkcell boasts it has the fastest 3G speed, as confirmed by independent German firm P3 Communications; in response, Vodafone claims that in fact it has the fastest 3G, based on the data of LCC International.
In this recessionary environment, third-party party validations will attract consumer attention—but as more and more brands adopt this strategy, validations will become a given and consumers will look for more from brands.
In Turkey, people have stayed away from bank loans, and economic instability has only heightened this tendency. But unlike in the U.S., the Turkish banks want to make loans.
A leading bank in Turkey is trying to stimulate activity by tapping into anxiety over unemployment and bank lending in a hopeful and positive way. Garanti’s campaign explains the process of recovery and the role of the banking industry in a simple format using animated childlike drawings. In one spot, a child talks about her wish for 2010: her brother finding a job. She explains that people should deposit their money in banks so a businessman will find credit and make a major investment that will create jobs. In the end, everyone will be happy. “Boosting the economy is Garanti’s job,” says a voiceover. “The bank that revitalizes Turkey is again on your side in 2010.”
With this clever ad, Garanti not only outlines a complex issue in an innovative and appealing way, it also creates an emotional impact for anxious and confused consumers via a naive and positive spokesperson. It’s also a good example of Visual Fluency, one of our 10 Trends for 2010.
Over the past 50 years, living standards, life expectancy and material wealth have increased—the only thing that hasn’t is happiness. Numbers from the World Database of Happiness confirm this. During a recession, happiness naturally performs even worse, with consumers experiencing status anxiety more deeply: “Why do others have more than me?”
That’s one of the reasons the happiness economy becomes more important. As a brand that has been leveraging the concept of happiness for years, Coca-Cola has turned out a slew of ads during the downturn that put a creative and inspiring spin on the idea. In one of the latest spots, a university’s Coke machine becomes a “happiness machine,” dispensing everything from sunflowers to pizzas along with a bounty of Cokes.