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.
Armed with myriad tutorials and information from across the Web, today’s consumers feel empowered and confident to take on just about any project. But they may still have questions or self-doubt, and should things go completely awry, online tutorials offer no place to turn for quick assistance. Google’s recently launched Helpouts—“Real help from real people in real time”—aims to connect consumers with experts who can teach or troubleshoot via around-the-clock video chats.
Helpouts are available in a wide range of categories including health, fashion and beauty, home and garden, art and music, and cooking. The platform has 1,000 vetted experts so far, some of whom represent brands, among them Weight Watchers, Rosetta Stone and Sephora. Some of these are free, and some have fees, paid in 15-minute or 1-minute increments. Rather than trying to provide one-size-fits-all solutions for consumers, Google is positioning itself as a key player in helping people learn and solve problems.
In the latest installment of our research around the levels, intensity and drivers of anxiety around the world, we surveyed 6,075 adults aged 18-plus across 27 markets in Western Europe (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.), Eastern Europe (the Czech Republic and Russia), the Middle East and North Africa (Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa), North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea), South Asia (Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand), North America (Canada and the U.S.) and South America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico). Data was collected from Oct. 1-10, 2012, using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online research tool.
Which country is the most anxious? Of the 27 surveyed, Pakistan stands out, with nearly 6 in 10 respondents reporting that they are very anxious. Globally, the cost of living generates the greatest anxiety, specifically driven by concern about the price of everyday essentials like food and gas. Unemployment is also a major driver of anxiety around the world.
Other topline findings include:
Anxieties in Western Europe vary considerably. Concerns about the economy and the cost of living are highest in France and Spain, where they are nearly universal among adults. Finland, Germany and the U.K. are significantly less anxious.
In Eastern Europe, Czechs are more nervous than Russians about food prices, their government’s budget deficit and corruption. Russians, meanwhile, are among the most worried in the world about the safety of their food supply.
In Japan, anxiety is high over the budget deficit and, understandably, natural disasters. South Koreans worry most about gas prices and employment, while anxieties in China and Hong Kong mirror those seen in the rest of the globe.
In South Asia, Indonesians are among the most concerned worldwide about corruption, while Indians worry not only about factors that impact them directly (gas prices and their government’s deficit) but also about greater social concerns like global warming.
The economy and the current cost of living are the greatest drivers of anxiety in North America, with Americans significantly more worried about the state of the economy than Canadians and others across the globe.
To download the full report, click here. And to see a short video animation with more topline findings, click here.
For the latest installment of JWT’s AnxietyIndex, we compared levels of anxiety across 27 markets, as well as the drivers of that anxiety. Using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online research tool, we surveyed people in Western Europe (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K.), Eastern Europe (the Czech Republic and Russia), the Middle East and Africa (Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa), North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea), South Asia (Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand), North America (Canada and the U.S.) and South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico).
This animation highlights some of our topline findings. Watch for a report on our findings in the coming weeks.
Anyone who’s ever lived in New York knows just how grinding-down and numbing the subway commute can be. Missed trains and hurried crowds, combined with life’s other frustrations, make for plenty of negative energy during rush hour. Recognizing this, Tropicana offered its Twitter stream for people to vent their morning frustrations as part of its “Worst Morning Ever” campaign. The outdoor component features the tweets with the best (or worst) morning mishaps, displayed around the city’s subway stations. Says one, for example: “Turns out I did check the correct weather, for California.”
The campaign isn’t all snark and gloom. Some of the billboards instruct commuters on how to reverse the negativity, encouraging passersby to help beautify the transit system by smiling. And naturally, Tropicana is positioned as the good part of New York mornings in other posters. The campaign succeeds in addressing consumer stress and anxiety by helping commuters realize they’re not the only ones grumbling on the way to work, helping the weary find some strength in solidarity.
Chrysler has been responding to consumer anxiety by playing up tried-and-true American values and the country’s pioneer spirit in its advertising. Last spring we wrote about a campaign that showed everyday Americans overcoming the odds, and Chrysler’s epic “Halftime in America” spot was one of the 2012 Super Bowl’s most popular ads. For this year’s Big Game, a spot for Chrysler’s Ram truck focused on traditional components of the American Dream such as hard work, dedication, family and community building—things that many Americans fear are being replaced by aspirations for fame and fortune, something we outline in our report “American Dream in the Balance.”
The spot quotes from a 1978 speech by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey that celebrated the virtues of the American farmer. “And on the eighth day,” booms Harvey’s voice, “God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer.” As intimate portraits of present-day farmers appear onscreen, we hear Harvey saying that God needed someone who was resourceful, family oriented and admirable. The spot concludes with a toast “to the farmer in all of us,” reminding Americans that the nation was once a land of farmers. Ram has declared 2013 as “The Year of the Farmer” and outlines how it’s “celebrating … the lifestyle that keep[s] America growing” on a microsite. Its CSR component involves support for the Future Farmers of America.
This spot reminds viewers that the deep-seated values of the American Dream endure, even if many feel the Dream is becoming harder to achieve. The Dream continues to “revolve around a gritty, keep-on-keeping-on spirit,” with characteristics like determination, discipline and self-belief integral to the concept, as we note in our American Dream report.
With continued economic uncertainty, many shoppers remain hesitant or unable to make big-ticket purchases, especially the un- or underemployed Millennials. In response, some brands have been creating crowdfunded registries for consumers. We wrote about Best Buy’s Pitch In card back in 2010, which we described as “bridal registry meets microfinancing meets layaway”: Friend or family contributions to the card tally up to help customers secure the costlier items on their wish lists.
Now an automaker is embracing this concept. Consumers looking to buy a Dodge Dart—a compact sedan that Chrysler introduced last year—can log onto DodgeDartRegistry.com, customize the features and then seek funding for specific car parts, using social media to promote their cause. As a TV commercial outlines, “Dad sponsors the engine for your birthday. Grandma sponsors the rims for graduation.” Car seekers can ask for enough dough to fund a down payment, the car in full or anything in between. As with a Kickstarter campaign, there’s a time limit: Fundraising can run for a maximum of 90 days. At completion, buyers receive a check, with which they in theory purchase their new Dart. Since the launch earlier this month, around 1,200 people have created registries, but donations have thus far been minimal.
It’s likely the campaign will resonate with Millennials, the target audience here, who firmly believe in the collective ethos—that every bit counts in addressing today’s challenges.
With Spain’s unemployment rate reaching a record 26 percent (double the EU average, according to the BBC), some 6 million Spaniards are currently jobless. Aiming to brighten up the day for some of those without work, radio program Carne Cruda 2.0 on Spain’s Cadena SER radio network organized a flash mob to serenade an unemployment office in Madrid.
A woman with a clarinet stood up and began playing the opening chords of “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles’ 1969 Abbey Road hit. As onlookers took notice, a second clarinetist joined in, and before long the waiting room was filled with musicians playing the tune. An adorable young woman cheerily belted out the lyrics as a chorus came in, accompanying her. Onlookers smiled, some taking out their phones to document the event. Workers in the office emerged from their cubes to see what the commotion was about, and for a moment everyone in the room seemed to forget their troubles. This simple idea helped bring some cheer to struggling Spaniards in that office and beyond (the video has generated around 1.5 million views in three weeks).
With U.S. flu levels at epidemic proportions this season, many of the bedridden have been indulging in the natural human tendency to find someone to blame for their misfortune. In response, minimalist drug company Help Remedies has created a Facebook app to help flu sufferers pinpoint which of their inconsiderate friends is the culprit.
“Help, I Have the Flu” digs through the user’s social network, looking for keywords such as “sneezing,” “coughing,” “vomiting” and “flu” in status updates, as well as check-ins at drugstores. The app even takes late-night updates into consideration, given that sleep deprivation increases the risk of getting sick. The app then enables users to send a message to their disease-spreading friend and even send some Help medicine. Those who’ve escaped the flu so far can use the app to “find out who among your friends is most likely to give you the flu, and then proceed to avoid them.”
By helping consumers feel empowered while they’re physically vulnerable, this lighthearted app successfully shows that the brand can address the customer’s physical and emotional well-being.
There’s a lot to worry about in life. “Paying bills, raising your kids, keeping your job, preserving the planet, saving your marriage, picking a president, perfecting your handshake, honoring veterans, undercooked chicken, catching the train, hiding your tattoo, networking socially, getting your hair cut, maintaining your blog, feeding your dog, training your cat, buying an unpretentious scarf, calling your mom, gray hairs …” The list goes on and on in an outdoor ad that’s part of a recent branding campaign from U.S. TV, phone and Internet provider Optimum.
The company positions itself as a one-stop “effortless” solution for digital services, allowing subscribers to keep up with the more important things in life, like dealing with their children’s classroom antics or signing up little ones for ballet lessons, as two 30-second spots illustrate. An anthem spot explains the company is there to “sweat the small stuff and the big stuff, so you can sweat your stuff.” Given that stressors seem to be mounting and multiplying for today’s consumers, Optimum is smart to humorously acknowledge this and position itself as a provider that won’t add to the all the everyday pain points with which people are grappling.
During disasters and the prolonged relief efforts that follow, access to information and the ability to connect with loved ones is crucial to alleviating anxiety—which we noted back in 2010, following the Chilean earthquake, and last year, after Hurricane Irene. Now, in the wake of Sandy, one of the largest hurricanes to hit the United States, companies large and small are stepping in to help with at least one major issue for victims—lack of power.
Duracell unleashed a “Power Forward Community Center” in New York City’s Battery Park, enabling people to charge devices and also get online at computer terminals. And the company’s “Rapid Responder” four-by-four truck, which is suited up with power outlets, is roaming the streets of New York and Hoboken, N.J. People can also get free Duracell batteries to keep their radios and flashlights going.
Similarly, Verizon sent out mobile charging stations to several affected areas in New Jersey, West Virginia and Ohio. Yesterday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said AT&T will provide charging spots at the food and water stations the city is setting up. And, in areas where they are operational, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile retail outlets are allowing visitors to charge their devices in-store. Some local businesses also lent a hand where they could: In New York City’s East Village, for example, one restaurant, Percy’s Tavern, posted a sign reading “Friends and neighbors, please make use of our generators for phone charging to contact friends & family to let them know how you are.”
During times of distress, relatively low-cost gestures like these can go a long way in restoring a sense of normalcy for people affected while building good will toward the brand.