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.
Ukraine has recently seen revolution, war, terrorism and economic crisis, news that has appeared all over social networks and news feeds—creating a “maximally negative information realm in the Internet,” as this drily humorous case study from AVK’s Kresko brand puts it. And a tide of negative posts and comments on social media only help to trigger feelings of fear and anxiety. So to launch these cookies, the confectionery company positioned them as having an anti-stress effect.
AVK’s humorous “World Web Antistress Project” asked consumers to click to specify their level of irritation, after which they received the “required dose” of positive content (dog videos, etc.) as a remedy. An Antistress Project Twitter account communicates with users directly and reinforces their feeling of annoyances, but offering a solution. According to the video, more than 30,000 users had engaged with the project in its first two weeks, and the brand had collected more than 5,000 likes. There’s always a place for good feelings and emotions—although giving freebies or discounts to the most irritated or anxious consumers could have helped boost the positivity factor.
Brazilian capital São Paulo is infamous for its traffic: Traffic jams on Friday evenings can stretch for many miles. What’s worse, given the Brazilian media’s propensity to focus on dramatic, gory stories, many drivers are bombarded with bad news along the way, only compounding the headache. So for one day, Advil stepped in to help reduce the pain of the commute by lightening drivers’ moods.
The painkiller brand partnered with Metro, one of the city’s largest daily papers, to create a cover that showcased positive stories. The biggest headline announced that the city’s famous and much-loved Ibirapuera Park would be staying open for a full 24 hours. On page 2, an Advil ad asked, “Did you feel like you didn’t have a headache on the first page?”
Several other brands have focused campaigns around upbeat news, including LG and Tropicana, which sponsored a Good News section on The Guardian’s site. And we’ve written about campaigns that have focused on easing anxiety for commuters in New York (also Tropicana) and Bogotá (Coca-Cola). Advil brought these themes together nicely. The brand also addresses The Super Stress Era, one of JWTIntelligence’s 10 Trends for 2013: As stress becomes a more pressing health concern, we’ll see brands and governments ramping up efforts to help prevent and reduce it.
With stress spiking and happiness a hot topic, as cited in our 10 Trends for 2013, we’ll see more marketers emphasizing themes of stress relief as a way to boost happiness. In 2011, we highlighted Hanes’ message that consumers could de-stress by de-cluttering their underwear drawers. Now Ikea is tapping into this idea in a U.K. and Ireland campaign for its storage and organizational systems: A commercial beautifully creates the anxiety-provoking atmosphere of an uber-cluttered home, with piles and piles of stuff keeping a young couple apart—until their place is transformed into an organized ideal. The tagline: “Make Room for Your Life.”
Happiness guru Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) is currently promoting a similar theme in her latest book, Happier at Home, which outlines a yearlong guide to improving one’s home and, as a result, one’s quality of life. While the Ikea scenario is an exaggerated one, most of us can easily imagine feeling happier if only the mess at home could be sorted out.