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.
Britons are pulling out all the stops to keep their household coffers topped up through times of austerity, even to the point of engaging in actions they believe to be wrong. According to JWT London’s latest Austerity Index report, a small percentage of Britons (6 percent) reveal that austerity has forced them to do something they believe to be unethical. This underscores recent reports from charities and police federations noting a rise in desperate crime: people stealing to simply feed themselves or their families.
The most popular method our 600 respondents are employing to raise money is clearing out their attics, wardrobes and cupboards, with 46 percent hawking unwanted goods at car boot sales or online auctions. More poignant is the revelation that a fifth (22 percent) have been obliged to part with things they still wanted or needed to make ends meet. An enterprising 16 percent are resourcefully “flipping” items: buying goods with the intention of selling them at a profit.
Glimpses of an emerging peer-to-peer economy are discernible too: 15 percent of respondents are selling their skills and knowledge to others, and 4 percent are making money from unused assets in their home, like parking spaces, storage space or spare rooms. (Peer Power is one of JWT’s key trends for 2013.) Finally, a substantial number are taking their chances with Lady Luck: 42 percent are trying to win competitions, and 12 percent have started playing the lottery. Tough times are driving the nation to ever-greater levels of resourcefulness.
This Austerity Index survey was conducted in June using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. The JWT Austerity Index is a quarterly study that analyzes the impact of prolonged economic adversity on British consumers and markets. The Q2 report is available to download here. The Q1 report is also available for download, here.
In an effort to counteract the steady stream of news about drug-related violent crime in Mexico, the Mexico Tourism Board is spotlighting real-life American tourists for a campaign termed the Mexico Taxi Project. A series of Web videos that take inspiration from HBO’s hidden-camera series Taxicab Confessions feature American travelers returning from Mexico, answering their driver’s pointed questions about the trip. Some videos address the issue head-on; in one, a driver asks if the travelers felt safe, to which one passenger replies, “Oh, yeah, it was one of our biggest [concerns]. … We almost didn’t go.” His companion chimes in, “I would definitely recommend it. Everything you hear on the news is not what you experience down there.”
The campaign includes a microsite and a Facebook page where users can share photos of their Mexican vacation for a chance to win a free trip to the land of the Mayans and tequila.
We’ve seen a lot of “real people” advertising (the auto category is one we spotlighted), and one reason is that today’s anxious consumers are more apt to respond to authenticity than slick marketing tactics. Believable testimonials—or “real people telling real stories about Mexico,” as the microsite explains—are perhaps the best way to go when targeting skeptical, jaded consumers who are less interested in feel-good images of lovely beaches and sombrero-wearing mariachi bands than in having their concerns addressed.
Many Brazilians once classified as poor are improving their economic situation, and today their main anxiety is maintaining the comfort they’ve recently achieved. Class C (the new Brazilian middle class) grew from 45 percent to 49 percent of the population in 2009, according to Observador Brasil 2010, recently released research conducted by Cetelem/Ipsos. Correspondingly, class D/E (the Brazilian lower class) shrunk from 40 percent to 35 percent. Although they’re consuming products they’ve never had before, most of class C still lives in poor neighborhoods and is concerned about violence.
Indeed, crime is Brazilians’ No. 1 anxiety, as JWT’s AnxietyIndex research found. Attentive to this, Bradesco recently launched a life insurance policy for accidental death that covers stray bullets. People living in two favelas (slums), Heliopolis in São Paulo and Rocinha in Rio, can buy the insurance for US$2 a month. In case of death, the payoff is around US$10,000.
The product is part of a pilot project for the new middle class that mixes micro-insurance—low-premium insurance designed for people who don’t normally have access to insurance—and social assistance. Brazil is still regulating micro-insurance; if approved, as many as 100 million low-income people could benefit from it. Within the next few months, we will probably see a new market emerging in Brazil that revolves around diminishing violence-related anxiety.