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 China, where long working hours can make it difficult for parents to stay connected with their kids, Oreo harnessed emojis to facilitate more family bonding. Using WeChat, China’s popular messaging platform, the Mondelēz brand allowed users to create emoji characters that incorporated photos of themselves or their kids, as well as celebrities. Users could choose from various templates and actions, including animations. Consumers could also project their emojis onto the screens at Oreo bus shelters and print out stickers of their creations.
The emojis proved a hit—more than 99 million were created over the course of the 11-week campaign. While Oreo appears to be the first marketer to let people emojify themselves, brands including Honda and Singapore’s SingTel have done various clever things with these teeny images as communications become much more visually driven. Given their whimsical appeal across generations, emojis were a smart way for Oreo to expand its positioning as a brand that brings parents and kids together, in this case finding a way to drive a mobile connection for absent parents.
People are now accessible to one another anyplace, anytime, and employees are constantly connected to their workplace. (As a recent Amstel “cell phone locker” initiative we wrote about put it: “Nowadays every professional with a smart device can confirm that it is impossible to get away from work.”) This increases accordingly the level of anxiety when trying to achieve a balanced work/family life. In a campaign from Orange in Israel, a family is seen enjoying themselves in an amusement park when the father receives a call from his boss. He hesitates: not answering the call could be a bad career move, but this family outing is valuable to him.
The park characters then come to life, singing to him to persuade him not to answer the call, to put his phone on silence mode and to dedicate his time to his family. In the end, Orange delivers the message: “There are times when you should put your cell phone aside, but at other times you have Orange Ultranet.” Orange tackles the work/family issue by encouraging its customers to change their behavior and reduce the amount of time on their phone in favor of quality time with the family, encouraging smarter consumption.
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.
Today people are connected in so many ways, and yet in this globalized, fast-paced world, many people feel their interactions with friends and family have become more distant and impersonal. As we have reported, a range of brands (including Nestlé’s Abuelita in Mexico, Nescafé in Australia, the U.K.’s National Rail, and Tostitos in the U.S.) have responded to anxieties around losing connections to loved ones and missing out on family traditions by positioning their products as a means to get closer and reunite. Skype has joined in on this concept but from the digital perspective, emphasizing that online connections can help maintain strong ties when families are separated by long distances.
Skype’s “Stay Together” campaign illustrates that instead of breaking down family traditions, the Internet service enables people to maintain them. “Stay Together stories” show modern iterations of the family portrait, with Skype video from one end of the connection projected onto a wall at the other end, so the family can pose together; artist John Clang then creates a portrait. A 10-year-old in L.A., for instance, poses next to her cousin in Brazil to see how much taller the older girl has grown. The campaign also asks consumers to share their own stories about how they stay together with important people in their lives. There’s also a personal storytelling competition, and the most compelling entry will win an “Impossible Family Portrait” and a $10,000 travel certificate to bring relatives together in real life.
One of the anxieties that has grown in the wake of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster—one that often follows traumatic experiences—is a fear of being alone. Evidence points to a rise in weddings and engagements: McKinsey & Co.’s June report on Japan’s luxury market says this has helped keep sales of watches and jewelry strong. For example Ginza Tanaka, a major jewelry company, reports that sales of engagement and marriage rings jumped 20 percent year over year in April and May. Takashimaya, the department store, has “never seen anything like this” in terms of ring sales, an employee told The Financial Times. And according to O-net, a popular dating service, marriages among female members have increased 30 to 40 percent and enrollment requests have spiked 40 percent since May in Kanto and the Tokyo metropolitan area.
People are coming to more deeply recognize the importance of not only family but other types of “kizuna” (bonds/ties). My next-door neighbor here in Tokyo, whom I hardly know, gave me some rice and mineral water in the period after the earthquake when supermarket supplies ran short (many parents living in the western part of Japan, which was not affected, were sending goods to their children, but my parents live in Tokyo). I was happy to make a new “kizuna.” We can expect to see continued demand for and consumption of products and services that promote “kizuna” between people other than family, and marketing messages that tap into this idea.
Nestlé’s Abuelita is a traditional hot chocolate brand in Mexico, where it was established 70 years ago. To mark the anniversary, the brand wanted to salute families that have grown with the product, since Chocolate Abuelita has always been synonymous with home and hearth. Nowadays, however, families are scattered in different states or countries; many are without fathers. A commercial features a grandmother (“abuelita”) reflecting that “It has been more than six years since I saw them all together. We sometimes talk or write to each other, but it’s not the same. There are a lot of us. There are nephews and grandchildren I don’t even know.”
The tagline, “70 years joining Mexican families,” reflects the insight that a grandmother has the power to unite families. Positioning a brand as a facilitator of reunions, and spotlighting the idea that there’s always a reason for families to gather, is popular in this age of far-flung relatives and reliance on digital communications. The idea seems to strike a chord worldwide, from the U.S. (we’ve written about Tostitos’ “Reunite America” campaign) to Australia (Nescafé’s “Get a little closer”) and the U.K. (a National Rail effort).
We all know the twinge of anxiety caused by having to share a dish we’re enjoying. Kraft is jokingly treating this as a serious concern, offering peace of mind with “Macsurance” for kids whose parents steal their mac and cheese (it comes in the form of insurance “certificates” accompanied by coupons). Part of the “You Know You Love It” campaign, the initiative stems from the insight that parents enjoy Kraft Macaroni & Cheese but tend to grab bites when they’re making or serving it to their kids rather than prepare their own portions, according to MediaPost.
A commercial shows a Macsurance agent, who tells kids, “Chances are, you’ve probably had your Kraft Macaroni & Cheese stolen. Who can blame you for trusting the ones closest to you?” The ad is playing in movie theaters, where patrons can pick up a brochure and business reply envelope to request the Macsurance. Adults who “liked” the brand on Facebook could also get the coupons (though currently the page states that “due to a tragic rise in mac & cheese theft, we are no longer offering coverage”). This lighthearted campaign is relatable to kids and parents alike.
“Coke deckt den Tisch” (“Coke sets the table”), Coca-Cola’s new campaign in Germany, brings the whole family back to the table and successfully communicates that Coca-Cola is a perfect drink to serve at mealtime.
Families tend to come together during economic downturns and uncertain times, and they’re more likely to do so at home, since people are dining out less often. A recent survey by TNS Infratest on behalf of Coca-Cola confirmed this and also found that in Germany almost half of Coca-Cola drinks are served with food. And 40 percent of these drinks are consumed at home. The survey also found that 95 percent of families want to spend more time together and more than two-thirds want to eat at home together more often, but only half do so.