Posts by Gonzalo Fonseca - Buenos Aires

Beldent gum tells Argentineans, ‘We’re going to laugh more’

When JWT conducted its first AnxietyIndex study in Argentina, in January, the country registered as No. 4 in the world in terms of anxiety. The two key drivers of anxiety here are the state of the economy and the cost of living. With the tagline “Vamos a reirnos mas” (“We’re going to laugh more”), the Cadbury gum brand Beldent is adopting a hope-fueled approach to this mind-set, a strategy we advocated in our Recession Handbook.

In a recent commercial, we’re told the population is growing; and as we see footage of a huge, festive parade, the spot lists some ways this is a good thing—more men who hoist you up on their shoulders at concerts, more blondes on roller skates, etc. Beldent is trying to build an ideology for the brand around empowering people to have fun and take the good things from life. In an anxious country, this is a good example of the idea that brands are better served by feeding optimism than resentment.

Argentinean brands chase consumers with shortsighted strategy

Before concluding a purchase in almost any kind of store, Argentineans now routinely ask, “Do you have discounts with any banking or credit card today?” That’s because most banks or credit card companies offer deals on certain brands or retailers (Sony, Carrefour, Shell, etc.) depending on the day of the week.

Since the last big socioeconomic crisis here, consumers have learned fast. As a result, they’re exploiting these promotions to their full extent—strategically paying with the appropriate card on the appropriate day, and sometimes even applying on the spot to a new brand if it seems worth the effort. At the same time, major loyalty programs, like that of the newspaper La Nación, offer numerous discounts for products and services.

So the question is, are these promotions bringing any benefit to the brands involved? And what kind of effect will they have on brands, their values and their relationships with key consumers? While there may be short-term benefits, these offers clearly have nothing to do with values that can strengthen relationships—they do nothing for customer loyalty. It’s time to rethink how to drive sales in ways that will have a more positive effect on the brand. Because as most banks, and various loyalty programs, chase consumers with the same strategy, other brands continue to build equity even as they achieve sales targets.

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