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.
As we’ve noted here, security issues like the Heartbleed bug and data breaches at companies like Target have people increasingly worried about the safety of their personal information. Now a campaign from PayPal aims to alleviate anxiety about making digital payments. In a spot that takes a lighthearted tone, actress Samira Wiley of Orange Is the New Black assures, “With PayPal, your financial information is protected and never shared with stores—like it’s sealed in a vault with titanium locks, guarded by ninjas.” The spot, titled “Buy Some Peace of Mind,” concludes with the line, “Banishing worry one click at a time.”
As more payments go digital and more consumers use their mobile phones and potentially wearable devices to pay for goods, many more businesses are competing with PayPal for a share of this market. Consumers will be weighing the pros and cons of using these new means of payments, and all the middlemen will have to assure potential customers that security will not be an issue.
In China, where long working hours can make it difficult for parents to stay connected with their kids, Oreo harnessed emojis to facilitate more family bonding. Using WeChat, China’s popular messaging platform, the Mondelēz brand allowed users to create emoji characters that incorporated photos of themselves or their kids, as well as celebrities. Users could choose from various templates and actions, including animations. Consumers could also project their emojis onto the screens at Oreo bus shelters and print out stickers of their creations.
The emojis proved a hit—more than 99 million were created over the course of the 11-week campaign. While Oreo appears to be the first marketer to let people emojify themselves, brands including Honda and Singapore’s SingTel have done various clever things with these teeny images as communications become much more visually driven. Given their whimsical appeal across generations, emojis were a smart way for Oreo to expand its positioning as a brand that brings parents and kids together, in this case finding a way to drive a mobile connection for absent parents.
Chipotle’s new animated short film and mobile game, designed to “change the way the world thinks about its fast food,” follows on from 2011’s “Back to the Start.” That film, which was later edited into a TV commercial, depicts a family pig farm that turns into an “industrial animal factory” before the farmer regrets the move and reverts to his older ways. The latest, featuring Fiona Apple’s “hypnotic” cover of “Pure Imagination” from the original Willy Wonka, shows a young scarecrow caught up in the dark, menacing world of Big Food production. Authoritarian crows inject poultry with hormones and package meat labeled “100% beef-ish!” In both the movie and the game, the scarecrow must break out of the assembly line and forge his own path, growing food naturally to “cultivate a better world.”
As we noted in our 10 Trends for 2012 report, consumers are becoming more concerned about sustainability, a trend that’s on the rise. They’ve also become anxious about the processes behind food production (even spurring McDonald’s in Australia, for instance, to sponsor a TV film showing a group of Australians touring its operations, from farm to factory to retail). Chipotle harnesses these concerns and uses them to direct the public to a friendlier alternative: “The more you know about where your food comes from and what it takes to produce it, the more likely you are to take care in seeking out something that’s raised responsibly,” says Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s CMO, in a behind-the-scenes video.
While many are praising the film’s message, others have called it fear marketing that takes advantage of urban consumers’ ideological anxieties. While the film does stoke anxieties, it’s likely targeted at consumers already harboring concerns about their food and looking for alternatives.