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.
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.