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 Mexico, the national Red Cross has held a fundraising campaign annually, but 2010 seemed to be a particularly difficult challenge, due to Mexicans’ anxiety around the crisis. With people worried about their own basic expenses, what would motivate them to give money away? JWT developing an award-winning campaign (it recently received a bronze at Cannes) that dramatizes how the Red Cross needs people’s donations to keep operating.
The collection box was reinvented as coin-operated kiddie rides—resembling Red Cross ambulances, helicopters and boats—installed in parks, stores and malls. The rides made literal the campaign tagline, “Your help can keep us going,” helping people to see the importance of every donation. In turn, the Red Cross provided families with an outlet for fun.
The campaign was supported by TV, print and billboards; it also generated an enormous amount of media coverage—about $1.1 million in earned media in just the first week. The Red Cross not only prevented donations from dropping but collected 23 percent more than in 2009. This is an example of how marketers can reach anxious consumers by emphasizing fun, providing a real service and re-imagining how the product is sold.
Our recent AnxietyIndex study in Mexico found that the economy is a primary driver of anxiety and—contrary to the image the world may have of Mexicans as optimists or even dreamers—they are pessimistic about the future. One of Mexicans’ main concerns about the future is being unable to afford a good education for their children.
Brands have an opportunity to help parents find some hope. A good example is Jugos Del Valle, a Mexican juice brand recently acquired by the Coca-Cola Co., which recently ran a promotion that gave parents the opportunity to win a scholarship to ensure their kids’ education from kindergarten through college; secondary prizes of mx$80,000 (about $6,250) to support school expenses were awarded daily. A TV spot showed a woman grocery-shopping with her toddler seated in the shopping cart. As she scans shelves lined with Del Valle products, the child morphs into an adult doctor, astronaut, chef and, finally, college graduate to clearly outline the opportunities a good education can create. “Now, when you choose Del Valle, your kid chooses his future,” the voiceover tells parents.
Promotions have always been effective during crisis times as people look to get the most from each penny, but success is especially likely if the offer is focused on relieving one of people’s deepest concerns.
Mexicans are increasingly anxious about personal safety and more empathetic to crime victims. When a little girl, Paulette Gebara Farah, was reported missing last month, millions of Mexicans rallied around her cause (sadly, and confoundingly, nine days later she was found dead in her bedroom). Walmart responded by quickly joining the collective effort, proving that the global company could be an active member of its local community. The retailer put photos of the girl on every cash register and let sheets with her picture be affixed to the back of cereal boxes.
Walmart’s reaction was a significant way of showing Mexicans that it has a real interest in giving something back to the community, especially when confronted with an anxiety-inducing situation. They say, “Desperate times require desperate measures,” and for companies or brands to show interest and actively engage on issues and events of concern to society can surely generate only good will.
Home delivery has been common in Mexico for years—in suburbs and residential districts, one sees companies delivering water, soda, dry-cleaned clothes or bread to people’s doors. This includes having beer delivered, a service that was previously mainly available in the north. More recently, Cervexpress (a contraction of “beer express”), run by the major Mexican brewer Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, expanded to more cities. With a quick call, people could be ready to host a party or gathering. Which is just what people were wanting to do—with the specter of H1N1, many Mexicans were too anxious to go out to restaurants or bars, for fear of getting sick, and were staying home to socialize.
While Mexicans are no longer anxious about H1N1, concerns about high crime, along with a recent ban on smoking in public spaces, has meant people are still partying at home. Cervexpress is an interesting example of how companies can take advantage of the new habits that grow out of rising anxiety.