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.
Certain purchases, such as condoms, will be met with a degree of embarrassment and social anxiety, especially in sexually conservative countries. In Dubai, where premarital sex is actually illegal, Durex recently released the SOS Condoms app as a whimsical way to deliver the product with discretion. The idea is that users simply select their location and Durex product of their choice, and within an hour, a courier disguised as a pizza delivery guy, cop or tourist arrives to slip the customer the condoms. The video below illustrates how the service works, at least in theory (a Dubai reporter received his order from a man sans disguise, carrying the condoms in a plain bag). While Durex has reportedly halted the Dubai initiative, the company is asking consumers to vote via a microsite on where else to launch the service.
Meanwhile, in a Valentine’s Day promotion, Trojan plans to deploy so-called Safe Ride taxis in Manhattan for two days this week in an effort to counter myths associated with condom use, according to a press release. Participants will get a free ride in exchange for answering trivia questions, part of an educational campaign that includes the website FactsAboutCondoms.com.
The Durex app shows a novel way for brands to shift from simply selling a product to helping customers procure it in real time. The idea of helping consumers keep what happens behind closed doors a private matter is a smart one, though it remains to be seen if the initiative can be implemented on a wider scale or is more about PR buzz. In Trojan’s case, providing a real-life or digital forum for correcting misconceptions is always a good strategy for brands whose misinformed consumers may be too anxious, nervous or embarrassed to ask questions related to the product.
With technology increasingly dominant in everyday life, people are becoming concerned about electronic communication substituting for face time with friends and family, and missing out on real-world experiences. In a survey we conducted for our 10 Trends of 2011 report, 63 percent of British and American respondents said they wished they could spend more time communicating with friends and family in person rather than through technology (our De-Teching trend ties into this). Bacardi rum has been addressing this idea with the “Bacardi Together” global campaign.
“Fight the LOLs and OMGs; fight the little white headphones,” a manifesto spot tells viewers, urging them to take the time to reconnect in a real way with family and friends (and Bacardi), because “we are all meant to be together.” In the U.S., a Get Together Project features two twentysomething guys “on a mission … to bring people together” via meet-ups in parks, bars and more. The “Like It Live, Like It Together” project turned users’ Facebook “likes” into real-world experiences: People voted for their top “likes” and entered for a chance to win tickets to one of two events in New York or Las Vegas that incorporated participants’ favorite cocktails, music, food and entertainment. “Together Tools” on Facebook let people arrange parties with friends. Bacardi is not only suggesting people spend more time together but also giving them opportunities to do so.
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.