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.
Retailers, very familiar with the economic crisis that continues to grip Western economies, must tread lightly with pitches aimed at getting people to spend money. A tactful “we understand your pain” approach can go a long way in creating brand loyalty.
Spanish retailer Mango is offering shoppers a way to update their wardrobes at a discount, ensuring their closets remain up to date without spending a lot of money. The company’s Mango for Mango program allows customers who sign up for a loyalty card to return used clothes purchased from any of its stores for up to one year after the initial purchase date and in exchange get a new article of clothing at a 20 percent discount. (Shoppers who had loyalty cards prior to January 2011 are entitled to a 25 percent discount.) The Web component includes a virtual closet which helps shoppers keep track of their purchases. For now, the program is only in place in Mango’s Spain stores.
Not only does this initiative give Mango customers a way to refresh their wardrobes, but also allows them the flexibility to try new fashion with the knowledge that when they tire of one thing, they can try something new. It’s a take on Non-Commitment Culture, one our 10 Trends for 2011. So far, more than 40,000 customers have signed on to the program, according to Mango, which is also donating 1 percent of each purchase within the program to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation in India, which builds homes in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
In a time when buying new clothing may be seen as an unnecessary expenditure (after all, most people have a closet full of clothes) Mango gives women an easy way to justify a new item or two: They can wear it now, and exchange it later, ensuring that they are always in fashion. And always shopping at Mango.Photo Credits: http://shop.mango.com/
Fundraising campaigns face obvious challenges in countries where people may have a desire to give but are anxious about simply meeting their own needs. In Spain right now, the state of mind is, “If I can’t end the month with a euro in my pocket, how can I donate money for others?” With this in mind, the Spanish branch of Doctors Without Borders created a simple but impactful campaign to raise 3 million euros in just three months. Candy packaged like pills in blister packs—each containing six candies that represent neglected diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis—carries the label “Pills for other people’s pain.” It sells in pharmacies around the country for one euro, with net proceeds going to projects that fight these illnesses.
“The active ingredient in the tablets to fight the pain of others is love,” reads the campaign website. “Whether you are elderly, adult or a child, the more pills you consume, the more help the forgotten sick will receive. Share the pain of others with the people around you, help us to spread the message.”
We’ve seen similar efforts to make the result of giving more tangible, both from the Red Cross, in Portugal and Mexico. The latest Red Cross effort in Mexico (from JWT), “Your Coin Saves Lives,” involves toy claw coin-operated machines containing 12 different dolls that need “rescuing.” These campaigns require only a small expense on the part of consumers and provide an immediate reward for their help.
For the past two years, economic uncertainty has caused a great deal of anxiety among Spaniards. The unemployment nightmare, uncertainty about the future and frozen family budgets have changed the rules of consumption. Strictly rational shopping behavior has become a must—no more fun impulse buys. Recently, brands have been responding to this mind-set by using positive calls to action in an effort to discourage rational thoughts and encourage more spontaneous enjoyment. For instance, Renault is running a campaign that urges people “to take advantage first and think later,” a strategy that puts a literal spin on one of our “10 Trends for 2011,” The Urgency Economy.
Now, Oscar Mayer has launched an interesting brand idea—the brand is championing the concept of simply having fun and worrying about the consequences later on. The executions are funny. Filmed with a hidden camera and illustrating the tagline “Si te divierte, hazlo” (“If you enjoy it, do it”), these staged pranks show people enjoying Oscar Mayer products in humorous and unconventional situations where fun is the No. 1 goal. For example, one is set in a high-end restaurant in Madrid, where a prankster takes a seat, pulls out an Oscar Mayer hot dog and proceeds to eat it while waiting to be served, to the dismay of the other patrons. The campaign includes a microsite, sitediviertehazlo.
The brand is trying to bring some fresh air into consumers’ stressful lives and ultimately to nudge people back to their pre-recessionary “spend-now-think-later” ways.
Coca-Cola’s campaign for this Christmas in Spain tries to go beyond the message of hope and happiness it airs traditionally. Instead the brand has created a digital free-cycling space, called The Hope Store, where people can donate up to three items and then acquire what others have listed; Coca-Cola pays for the shipping for the first 40,000 items. Since participants can select only as many free items as they’ve uploaded, giving more means receiving more.
Increasingly, to survive in a world of consumption-shy consumers, brands will have to shift focus from simply selling products or services to helping consumers. This may mean building communities, providing advice, offering entertainment, etc. In this case, Coca-Cola is helping people donate to others while helping those who may be unable to afford Christmas gifts get some free goods.