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 Fiddler on the Roof and the rest of us have wondered about all the things we’d enjoy in life “If I were a rich man.” Sometimes we also wonder what we’re giving up, especially now in times of crisis, when we sacrifice luxuries and even the taste and quality of our food to save money. Campofrío, a deli brand, uses this idea to show that it’s silly worrying about calories and life in general.
Taking a cue from Budweiser’s talking frogs, this spot shows a young toad catching flies while an older one dismisses the food, explaining he’s a reincarnated human. But he’s not too gung ho on that experience: “You need to learn English so you don’t become a loser, control your calories, triglycerides …” The younger one, though, breaks into song, imagining what he’d do “If I were a human”—move to Vegas, become the driver of the Swedish women’s beach volleyball team, “buy a Chihuahua, a waterbed and a mega ham platter.”
Then the frog is hit by a truck and reincarnated as a handsome office worker who enjoys some Campofrío ham. The voiceover: “You never know what you’ll become in the next life. So take good advantage of this one.” (An English transcription is included in the description section of the YouTube video.) The insight is a smart one—most of us are too wound up to relax and enjoy life, and we’re unlikely to get another chance to do it better, so don’t pass up small pleasures.
In 2009, at the beginning of the financial crisis, brands such as Ikea and Telefonica emphasized the importance of solidarity in overcoming the slump. But it’s been two years and Spain is still in free fall, with no signs of imminent recovery from its biggest crisis in recent decades. Unemployment is at 22 percent and growing. Millward Brown’s “Consumer Perspectives June 2011” sees a real deterioration of the domestic economy.
The airbags of the crisis have been families, which are absorbing the laid-off and young people without job opportunities, but household savings are shrinking. This is forcing people to cut back on social activities, such as going down to the nearest bar with friends, a Spanish social custom. In response, Mahou, Spain’s leading beer, has launched a timely campaign reinforcing the values of friendship and generosity and the idea that friendship is shown in difficult times.
A TV spot explains that Javier lost his job six months ago when his company shut down, and now he’s avoiding the bar—“he felt ashamed that we might end up paying for him.” But, says the voiceover, “If one of us is missing, it’s not the same. So we decided to stop paying for his beers and simply do what Javi would do for any friend.” The guys each pour some of their own Mahou into a glass for their buddy. The tagline is “All or none.”
I don’t know whether this is a nice message or a depressing one—can we live on generosity and solidarity alone?
The economic downturn has prompted people to rethink their priorities, with quality relationships (with friends and family) seen as more important to one’s sense of well-being. Reaching one’s full potential as a person has gained importance over simply earning money. Nestlé Caja Roja, a Spanish chocolate gift-box brand, taps into this insight in a campaign from JWT Barcelona emphasizing a basic value that often gets ignored in similar communications: that the essence of gifting is generosity.
A commercial conveys the message that by giving to others sincerely, without expecting anything in return, the reward will be much greater than expected (the tagline in Spanish is “Recibes mas de lo que das,” or “You will receive more than you give”). Your relationships will be stronger and more fulfilling. In difficult times, the message is a comforting one.