Posts by Alexandra Suarez - San Juan

ConAgra produces ‘in case of hurricane’ cookbook

conagraHurricane season is fascinating in terms of human behavior—it’s amazing how much anxiety is produced. In the days before a storm is expected, Puerto Ricans hope for the best and prepare for the worst, flooding supermarkets in search of storm “necessities” like bottled water (penny pinchers just fill the bathtub and washing machines) and canned food; fist fights break out over camping gear. Eventually store shelves resemble a war zone, gas stations have no gasoline, and people wait anxiously for the weather report.

To help reduce the panic caused by the unpredictable, ConAgra has produced a cookbook with recipes that use only nonperishable products from the brand. It’s part of a promotion that awards consumers who buy three ConAgra products with a flashlight and the cookbook so they can learn how to keep the family well fed in case the hurricane hits.

Photo Credit: JWT San Juan

Walgreens asks Puerto Ricans to show what makes them happy

walgreensIt’s not news that the crisis isn’t just economic—it has affected people’s mental well-being and has created a sense of deep hopelessness for some. So Walgreens in Puerto Rico decided to remind people what truly makes them happy—family, pets, favorite pastimes, nature and so on—in a campaign that turned its photo development department into a prescription department.

Asking “¿Cual es tu receta para sentirte bien?” (“What’s your prescription for feeling good?”), Walgreens encouraged Puerto Ricans to submit photo compilations showing their personal prescription for happiness over a two-month period. Submissions were shown on TV commercials, digital billboards throughout the island and a micro-site. Puerto Rico’s primary retail pharmacy created an atmosphere of positivity by shifting our focus to the many blessings we have, teaching us that the best prescription is closer than we think. This kind of hope-fueled approach—epitomized by the Red Cross Portugal “Hope” campaign—is a smart way to help consumers fend off anxiety.

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Lonely Planet lends a hand to stranded travelers

lonely-planetWith the massive travel disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, Lonely Planet turned chaos into an opportunity to get on the radar of the numerous travelers stranded in unfamiliar cities. It is offering 13 of its iPhone guides for free for a period of a few days, focusing on the most affected cities; the apps normally sell for $15.99 apiece. The simple initiative will score goodwill points with anxious travelers, helping to drive consumer engagement while making more people aware of the brand’s iPhone guides.

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Virgin Atlantic helps travelers cut costs with cab-sharing program

taxi2One of the recommendations for brands in our recent Recession Handbook (downloadable here) is for brands to provide a real service during difficult times—giving consumers tools that help them cope positions the brand as an ally of consumers, supportive and dependable. Virgin Atlantic is doing just that as a “co-innovator” of Taxi2, a cab-sharing initiative for passengers arriving at airports (currently New York’s JFK and London’s Heathrow, but there are plans to expand). Users can enter their flight information, and the system finds a potential sharing partner. It’s up to the passenger whether to agree to the match; women can even specify if they prefer a female travel companion. The program also has the potential of becoming a “carpooling/environmentally friendly” initiative. One doesn’t even have to be a Virgin Atlantic passenger to take advantage of it—but with this smart program, Virgin may well be attracting more passengers to its brand.

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