Tagged 'cost of living'

Rising cost of living in Saudi Arabia spurs innovative charitable act

Hail - Refrigerator

In Saudi culture, charity is a duty. It’s part of everyone’s life, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. And with the rising cost of living in the kingdom, more citizens are aware of the need to help one another. But not often do we find them approaching the subject with an activation worthy of global brands.

Recently, a Saudi citizen in the city of Hail placed a refrigerator in front of his house and encouraged residents of the area to donate leftover food to help the needy, sparing them the shame of asking for food. A Saudi cleric, Sheikh Mohammed al-Arefe, confirmed this in a tweet, saying: “I’ve always said the people of Hail are generous. A man puts a refrigerator in front of his house for leftover food; an indirect act of charity for the needy. Oh how I love you Hail!”

The tweet received an overwhelming response from al-Arefe’s followers, who re-tweeted it more than 7,000 times. More people are now encouraging this idea with the month of Ramadan approaching.

Photo Credit: MohamadAlarefe

Brazil’s ‘citizen consumers’ use digital tools to air grievances, mobilize

Rio Surreal

As prices surge, inflation rises and customer service languishes, Brazil’s consumers are growing increasingly anxious about the cost of living. But while Brazilians have battled many frustrations over the years, for the first time they are turning to the Internet as a platform for airing grievances, commiserating and mobilizing the crowd.

With prices climbing steadily higher ahead of the World Cup, some residents of Rio de Janeiro have set up a Facebook group, Rio $urreal – Não Pague [Don’t Pay], focused on “exposing and boycotting the extortionate prices being charged by bars, restaurants and shops,” as The Guardian reports this week. (“Surreal,” a reference to the craziness of current costs, is a pun on Brazil’s currency, the real.) The page has garnered more than 179,000 likes, and what started in Rio has now expanded to São Paulo, Brasilia and Belém. As we explain in our recent report “The Brazil Opportunity: A Guide for Marketers,” there’s also BoicotaSP, another Facebook outlet where consumers identify businesses or brands they believe are exploitative, with the list serving as a database of places to boycott. And Reclame Aqui (Complain Here) is a website where Brazilians can post complaints about brands, products and customer service.

Brazil’s newly empowered “citizen consumers” are engaged and ready to challenge both government and business, aided by digital tools. As Brazilians take a more active role in shaping their world, they will not only fight perceived offenses committed by marketers but also expect brands to work with them to make things better. Heineken’s Delegates app, for instance, allows users to comment on bars they patronize and suggest ways to improve the experience.

Photo Credit: Rio $urreal

What’s keeping the world up at night? Anxiety around the globe in 2 minutes

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.

In Rome, a Carrefour market taps into nostalgia

A supermarket in Rome, now owned by Carrefour, was looking to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its opening. Meanwhile, battling the economic crisis, Italians had started to cut back on groceries. The solution was a one-day promotion in which some prices were rolled back to 1961—a time of economic boom in Italy. That also meant posting prices in lira rather than the newer, controversial euro. For further nostalgia, the campaign copied the look and feel of ’60s ads.

The campaign went beyond a simple discount event, because more consumers visited the store for a few days even after the event ended. (The event itself attracted 20,000 customers, and over the next few days, the supermarket got a 25 percent boost in traffic.) People usually yearn for the past in times of economic crisis, and this promotion managed to provide a sense of the security and trust that today’s consumers associate with times long gone by.