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.
Communicating and understanding our pets is difficult. Are they enjoying their food? Feeling upset? Happy? How do they feel about sleeping in the bed versus on the floor? How can we really know? The unknown creates anxiety, particularly for pet parents who want to give their pet the world. So Petco and JWT agency Digitaria developed WholePets, a digital content hub for all things pets—giving pet parents a hub to find sound recommendations on how to address pets’ physical, mental, social and emotional needs.
You can filter tips by pet type and topic to find details on Cat Nutrition 101, for instance, or house training a new dog. Having an online destination with go-to tips from a trusted source not only helps to relieve anxiety about how to enhance pets’ lives but ultimately to be better, happier parents.
The horse meat scandal is perhaps the greatest food transparency issue in recent years. It continues to grow, and here in the U.K., the majority of big retailers have been affected in one way or another. The country’s largest retailer, Tesco, has felt the effects the hardest, with a number of their value products implicated. This resulted in an apology ad that guaranteed a full refund in national press.
By contrast, the scandal has played into the hands of Morrisons, which can claim “100% British meat” and has around 1,700 butchers across 500 in-store butcher counters in the U.K. They capitalized on the scandal with ads stating, “100% British. 100% of the time.” Morrisons has said they’ve had an unprecedented number of customers approaching them for advice and to buy fresh burgers, among other meats. The results have been significant: fresh meat counter sales have risen 18 percent, sales of fresh beef burgers are up 50 percent, and sales of beef mince are up 21 percent.
As we noted last year during the “pink slime” scandal in the U.S., as consumers grow increasingly anxious about food quality, brands that can clearly illustrate safety and purity will continue to gain ground over those with suspect ingredients.
The Indian consumer is very anxious when it comes to crime and is constantly looking for a sense of safety in his surroundings. In a spot for Godrej Security Solutions, created by JWT India, the home safe brand addresses this anxiety by giving the consumer control over the situation.
A couple is sleeping peacefully when rumbling from another room wakes up the wife, who urges her husband to check out what’s causing the commotion. The husband spots two thieves trying to break into the family safe, then calmly heads back to bed, popping cotton balls in his ears to muffle the sound before cozying up under the covers. The wife inquires as to what happened, and he replies, “Nothing, it’s just some thieves.” The spot concludes with the line “No matter when trouble arrives, what is the need to be scared?”—and a shot of the frustrated thieves breaking into some dinner leftovers instead of the safe.
Rather than relying on fear tactics to convey the benefits of using a Godrej safe, the brand smartly breaks the seriousness of the category by using subtle humor without compromising the gravity of a break-in.
America’s Boomers are facing a delayed retirement, in part because many long-term investments plummeted in value during the downturn. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, a Conference Board study found that nearly two-thirds of Americans aged 45 to 60 are intending to put off retirement, up from 42 percent two years ago. Annuity.com taps into these financial-planning anxieties to sell this generation on fixed annuities.
In a commercial, the annuity check is represented by a safe, carried by a man clad in black suit and black shades. He follows the check’s recipients from supermarket to sauna to doctor’s office and beach—he’s always there. The voiceover explains the benefits of an annuity, assuring that “best of all, your money’s not at risk from the ups and downs of the stock market, and that means you won’t have to put off your retirement.”
Last year we wrote about how Prudential is targeting this cohort, by confronting head-on the hard realities they’re facing. Watch for more marketers to addresses the anxiety felt by most Americans when it comes to retirement.
Americans are well-known for working long hours and for their limited amount of vacation time. Which means vacation planning is especially crucial to American travelers. They tend to feel anxious about planning the perfect trip and even pressured to achieve a “once in a lifetime” vacation. Priceline’s Booking.com, popular among European tourists, launched its first U.S. campaign recently with a TV commercial that tackles these concerns.
The lighthearted 60-second spot focuses on that moment of joy when happy travelers see just how nice their accommodation is and feel hopeful that the trip will meet expectations. An assortment of travelers—a family of five, a couple, a group of women—all arrive at their holiday destination, weary from their journey and nervous about what awaits them on the other side of the hotel room door. When the lodgings turn out to be a winner, there is much celebration, and a voiceover declares: “You got it right! You got it booking right!”
Booking.com prioritizes the customer’s experience by committing to deliver the right vacation, with the commercial doing a nice job of illustrating the brand’s promise to “bring an end to the ‘click-and-hope-for-the-best’ era of online travel planning.”
Suppose you find out that a co-worker has stolen your lunch and eaten it, especially after you’ve been fantasizing about your delicious meal in the office fridge. Unfortunately, this is a widespread phenomenon in every office. The million-dollar question is, How can this be prevented? BGH, a microwave manufacturer, is humorously fighting this low-level employee anxiety with the world’s first alarm-equipped Tupperware container. Its purpose: to keep food safe at work.
A series of three commercials from Argentina showcase the concept. “The Big Steal” opens with what sounds like a car alarm, and we see a man running desperately through his office—not to reach his car, as we discover, but to rescue his lunch from the clutches of a food thief. His Tupperware alarm has saved his meal. The risk of stolen food increases when the dish is heated by BGH microwaves, says the brand, because their devices are so good at cooking. Consumers can obtain these unique Tupperware containers only by submitting cooking tips to BGH’s Facebook page.
Through this whimsical invention, BGH assures consumers not only that their food is literally secure both also that, more generally, it’s in safe hands.
At night, some kids suspect monsters are hiding in the closet or under the bed. Some have nightmares, others are just afraid of the dark. A nicely produced student spec spot for German teddy bear brand Steiff offers the bear as a solution to help children cope with these fears and anxieties. We see a little boy alone in a dark forest, chased by a giant monster. The boy wakes up but finds that his nightmare is not over: The monster breaks through the window and bursts into his bedroom. The last line of defense for the boy is his teddy bear. It fights his battles and in the end defeats the monster.
The teddy bear acts as the boy’s defender and his savior. The spot presents the bear not just as a simple fluffy, cuddly stuffed animal but as a protector—a provider of comfort and source of confidence, especially at night.
As we recently discussed on our sister site, JWTIntelligence.com, food safety remains a top concern for Chinese consumers thanks to the proliferation of toxic additives, fake foods and other serious lapses across the nation. The result is that many consumers choose international labels over domestic brands as a means of ensuring quality and safety. Mindful of this, McDonald’s in China has focused on the trustworthiness of its ingredients—and in turn is viewed as a healthy option.
Recent TV ads featured “’100% fresh beef’ on the chopping block, farmers picking tomatoes from the vine and chickens eating high-quality feed,” a company spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. Last year, an ad promoting McDonald’s chicken products showed a child playing with baby chicks as a voiceover talked about “the importance of following the rules of nature,” according to an Ad Age column. The aim is to communicate a hygienic, natural and healthy lifestyle. Yes, healthy—while many Chinese consumers are aware that McDonald’s offerings are high in fat, “When it’s a choice between a little extra fat in your shake or a little extra melamine, healthy eating can take on a whole new meaning,” as one reporter observes.
Western and Chinese brands alike will need to reassure Chinese consumers—who have grown weary of being dragged around the block when it comes to food safety issues—by communicating quality as well as transparency.
Insurance companies are at the center of anxiety-producing incidents in consumers’ lives, and many people feel that dealing with these companies only compounds their stress. With its newest campaign, “Humans,” Liberty Mutual is trying to distinguish itself in the category by making the company seem more, well, human, with a commercial touting its “empathy towards policyholders in times when they need us,” in the words of a press release.
“At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we get that it’s tough out there, and our job is to make it less tough,” says the voiceover (actor Paul Giamatti) as we see golfers unwittingly hitting balls into a car window and a husband accidentally putting his foot through drywall. Other mishaps range from the serious (a car rolls downhill without its owner) to the silly (a woman’s blouse gets doused with ketchup). Liberty Mutual shows that it forgives consumers for their human flaws in a lighthearted and relatable way, an engaging contrast to typical insurance ads. The humor is also more earnest than that usually seen in the category, and likely an approach that consumers who hate dealing with insurance companies will respond to more positively. The simple, understanding message really does a nice job of portraying Liberty Mutual as a supportive partner, breathing humanity into an industry often chastised for its lack thereof.
In the wake of the recession, visions of retirement are no longer what they once were. Rather than dreaming of sailboats and vacation homes, Americans are simply dreaming of retiring at all. Given that fewer than a quarter of those with a retirement account say they feel financially secure and look forward to retirement, according to Mintel, it’s clear that there’s great uncertainty and insecurity around the issue of retirement. While many financial services companies have attempted to reassure insecure consumers by highlighting their strength and stability, a new campaign from Prudential goes a different route.
The “Bring Your Challenges” campaign confronts head-on the stark realities faced by most Americans when it comes to retirement and rallies consumers to bring Prudential these challenges rather than shying away from them. The print executions very frankly acknowledge the changing realities and needs of today’s retirees and illustrate how Prudential is there to help navigate this new landscape. Underscoring the reality theme, the “Day One” TV spots feature real-life Americans on their first day of retirement, and the “Day One” microsite lets consumers communicate with each other about retiring.
Prudential is attempting not only to redefine how consumers view retirement (as a start, rather than an end), but how they speak about it. The company also directly addresses the new normal of today’s economy, sending the message that it’s there to help apprehensive consumers adjust.