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.
In today’s hectic existence, we seldom afford ourselves time to simply take in the world around us, leading to anxiety about faltering IRL relationships and a lack of connection to the world around us. A Mexican commercial for Nescafé addresses this by inviting viewers to take a deep breath and consider the things that really matter in life.
The spot opens in the midst of a morning traffic jam, the air polluted by beeping and shouting. People scurry around a plaza, tripping over one another and scarcely paying attention to their surroundings. The lone stationary observer—who happens to be a hypnotist—waves a time-stopping pocket watch and the crowd freezes. “There are always magic things in front of us. Sometimes we’re simply not paying enough attention to take notice of them,” says the voiceover as the enchanter navigates through the paralyzed crowd, manipulating the pedestrians’ stances along his way. Passing a mom preoccupied with her BlackBerry, for example, he moves her closer to her daughter and positions the pair for a photo. Instantly the daughter’s bored face morphs into a smile.
By helping people take note of overlooked moments, Nescafé reminds us to “Wake up to life,” a well-known slogan for the brand. Viewers are invited to open their eyes and see what they typically miss while preoccupied with everyday concerns. At a time when people feel pressured to be power-charged multitaskers at all times, this is a smart approach to coffee marketing, illustrating that life is meant to be savored, just like a hot cup of Nescafé. On our sister site, we spotlight how another Nestlé beverage brand, Nestea, took a similar tack in Spain, exhorting viewers to appreciate each moment.
In Mexico, men have traditionally been the ultimate authority of the home, with the last word in finances and other big family decisions. In recent years however, gender lines have been redrawn as women make strides toward greater equality. As men wake up to the reality that their role is changing, they’re feeling isolated and in the dark, unsure of what their role is now.
A TV spot from motor oil brand Roshfrans seeks to reassure men that while they may have lost space and power to the fairer gender, they’re still master of one domain: the car. “It is time that we as men recognize something in our lives is changing,” declares the opening voiceover as we see that even the football stadium is no longer a male-dominated arena, with a pack of young women ogling a star player’s hot body. The commercial then takes us through the household’s new power dynamic. A man prepares dinner with a baby at the hip while his wife makes calls and handles what seems to be paperwork (“One day you find yourself in the kitchen with the excuse that men are the best chefs in the world,” laments the voiceover). Husbands look perplexed as their wives gain control of the TV remote and the closet (“If it’s all about equality, how’s it possible that the closet belongs all to them?”) and make his friends feel unwelcome.
“At Roshfrans we understand that there’s less and less space for men,” the voiceover sympathizes, reassuring former machismos that the brand stands with them. “That’s why we keep safe your last refugee, your car.” Mexico has always been a conservative country, as has its brand messaging; as the country becomes more liberal, brands have started to not only reflect the accompanying cultural changes but also help Mexicans adjust to the new paradigms.
Nestlé’s Abuelita is a traditional hot chocolate brand in Mexico, where it was established 70 years ago. To mark the anniversary, the brand wanted to salute families that have grown with the product, since Chocolate Abuelita has always been synonymous with home and hearth. Nowadays, however, families are scattered in different states or countries; many are without fathers. A commercial features a grandmother (“abuelita”) reflecting that “It has been more than six years since I saw them all together. We sometimes talk or write to each other, but it’s not the same. There are a lot of us. There are nephews and grandchildren I don’t even know.”
The tagline, “70 years joining Mexican families,” reflects the insight that a grandmother has the power to unite families. Positioning a brand as a facilitator of reunions, and spotlighting the idea that there’s always a reason for families to gather, is popular in this age of far-flung relatives and reliance on digital communications. The idea seems to strike a chord worldwide, from the U.S. (we’ve written about Tostitos’ “Reunite America” campaign) to Australia (Nescafé’s “Get a little closer”) and the U.K. (a National Rail effort).
JWT’s AnxietyIndex study in Mexico, conducted last year, found that Mexicans are more anxious about the impact of climate change than our global average (and also more anxious than our Latin American average). And since Mexicans consume a lot of bottled water, litter and waste generation are big issues. A recycling campaign from Coca-Cola’s Ciel, a bottled-water brand, gives people a positive way to “Turn it around” (“Dale la vuelta”) when it comes to waste. To demonstrate that the Eco-flex bottles can be easily collapsed, Ciel is inviting Mexicans to not just recycle the bottles but create something with them. To demonstrate, Ciel has installed in various public spots enormous sculptures made with Ciel bottles: dinosaurs, pyramids, elephants, even the Taj Mahal. The whimsical creations should help lessen concerns around use of plastic bottles and get people thinking about recycling.
Perhaps the greatest source of anxiety in Mexico right now is the government’s war against drugs and the violence perpetrated by traffickers, something that generates an environment of constant insecurity and uncertainty among all Mexicans. While no brand tackles the topic directly, Coca-Cola is addressing anxiety with the message that there’s more good than evil in the world. With a tagline that tells viewers, “There are reasons to believe in a better world,” this spot contrasts positive and negative. For example, “For every corrupt person, there are 8,000 donations of blood”; “For each tank manufactured in the world, 131,000 teddy bears are made; and “For each stock market collapse, there are 10 versions of ‘What a Wonderful World.’”
We’ve seen Coca-Cola create hopeful and inspirational ads in a range of markets facing anxiety—for example, China and Spain as they were hit by the effects of the downturn. With this spot, Coke assures Mexicans that there is hope and gives them “reasons to believe.”