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EURO RSCG WORLDWIDE Vol. 12, 2012 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern TimesProsumer Reports is a series of thought leadershippublications by Euro RSCG Worldwide—part of a globalinitiative to share information and insights, including ourown proprietary research, across the Euro RSCG networkof agencies and client companies.Euro RSCG Worldwide is a leading integrated marketingcommunications agency and was the first agency to benamed Global Agency of the Year by both Advertising Ageand Campaign in the same year. Euro RSCG is made upof 233 offices in 75 countries and provides advertising,marketing, corporate communications, and digital andsocial media solutions to clients, including Air France,BNP Paribas, Charles Schwab, Citigroup, Danone Group,Heineken USA, IBM, Kraft Foods, Lacoste, Merck,Pernod Ricard, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Reckitt Benckiser,Sanofi, and Volvo. Headquartered in New York,Euro RSCG Worldwide is the largest unit of Havas, a worldleader in communications (Euronext Paris SA: HAV.PA).For more information about Prosumer Reports, please visitwww.prosumer-report.com or contact Naomi Troni, globalchief marketing officer, at email@example.com.Follow us on Twitter @prosumer_report.
“The greatest wealth is health.” –VirgilTable of ContentsHumans and Health: The New Deal ................................................................................................................ 4Prosumer Nation: A Subculture of Proactive Health Consumers ............................................. 6Global Wellness Scorecard ....................................................................................................................................... 8Sense of Control Changes Everything .......................................................................................................... 10The New Notion of Health Solidarity: Factoring in Finance ....................................................... 12Brains and Diet: Key Weapons in the Fight for Good Health ..................................................... 14Marketing Implications ............................................................................................................................................. 24Back to the Future ........................................................................................................................................................ 26 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 3
20Humans and Health: Percentage increase in annual rate of new cancer Everything about how people regard, prevent, and treat physical ailments is changing.The New Deal cases worldwide in past decade.1In 1970, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collectivepublished the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a CN A third important shift influencing the healthcare landscape is globalization. Though there continue to USbook intended to inspire and empower women to be local variations on notions of what constitutesbecome their own “health experts” through education, good health, how it can be fostered, and how illnessaccess to information, and open discussions of issues Modernized medicine: Public Chinese should be treated, thinking about health is moving hospitals make about 60% of their closer to standardization in every country becauserelated to health. In the four decades since, the extent Impact of aging population: revenue through the sale ofto which the relationship between humans and their it increasingly draws on a global body of medical Per capita healthcare spending pharmaceuticals.5health has evolved is astounding. In part, that’s because research and knowledge. Healthcare specialists trainincreased knowledge and new tools and technologies is 5.6 times higher for people and work internationally, pharmaceutical companieshave removed some of the mystery and unthinking age 65+ than for children.2 draw on global resources and look for products withacquiescence from the healthcare equation. Thanks to global potential, universities and research institutesthe Internet and social media, we are no longer at the collaborate across borders, and all of the above meetmercy of the medical profession; we can research our and mix at international congresses and conventions.illnesses, hunt for alternative treatment options, andfind out whether another practitioner might be better In 2011, Euro RSCG Worldwide undertook a major BRsuited for our care. global study on the new realities in health and wellness. Working with research partner MarketOur changing relationship with our health also has Probe International, we fielded an extensive onlineto do with the nature of today’s ailments. As medical survey in 19 countries around the world, representing AUscience advances, dying is increasingly perceived less Average life expectancy in Brazil a combined population of 3.6 billion.8 Our respondentas a fate to be accepted than as a failure of disease increased from 45.5 years in base is made up of 7,213 men and women age 18 ormanagement. For the most part, people in prosperous 1940 to 72.86 years in 2008.3 older. What our study has uncovered is a revolutionparts of the world aren’t succumbing to disasters. in attitudes toward health—led by Prosumers and Australia spent 8.5% of GDPNor are they dying in infancy or being cut down by with important implications for brands both within on healthcare in 2008 (vs.communicable disease or infection in their primes. and outside the healthcare arena. 16% in the U.S.).6As communities live longer, death increasingly comesfrom the malfunctioning and decay of body systems:cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune conditions, 1 World Cancer Research Fund 65and degenerative diseases. In a number of these cases, 2 www.hhs.govlifestyle plays at least as great a role as heredity or Percentage of world’s population 33 3 Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics living in countries where overweight 4 WHOchance. And that changes everything about how people and obesity kills more people than Percentage of countries 5 PBS NewsHourregard, prevent, and treat physical disorders. underweight.4 6 OECD with no mental health 7 WHO budget.7 8 Findings from three Middle Eastern countries—Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, andTopline Findings the United Arab Emirates—were fielded by a separate vendor and are available to Euro RSCG employees and clients upon request. 1 Healthcare is moving out of The Western world is moving Consumers in disparate markets Prosumers are taking a multipronged As populations age, brain health Many aspects of modern life Health and finances are Consumers are looking to the sole control of medical toward a more Eastern view of feel remarkably confident in approach to healthcare, including is becoming a paramount concern, are considered deleterious to linked: The least healthy their brand partners for help authorities and into the hands personal responsibility, one that their control over a variety of tapping into social networks for free and people are seeking new ways health. By the same token, many are most vulnerable to the in keeping their health and of individuals. Opportunities regards health as something to diseases and disorders. They expertise to reduce medical costs. to protect and promote it. of the activities deemed best for economy, while the poor wellness goals on track. A nudge abound for brands to better be maintained and supported also share a strong belief in the us (e.g., sleep, exercise) largely are most vulnerable to in the right direction can go a equip consumers to help ward off over time rather than remedied power of the mind to heal. lie outside the world of modern disease. Healthcare decisions long way toward strengthening a illness and maximize well-being. with quick fixes. commerce and consumption. increasingly are based not relationship. just on efficacy but on cost.4 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 5
Prosumer Nation: A Subculture of Mainstream Prosumers % agreeing strongly/somewhat Prosumers and HealthProactive Health Consumers As in other areas of their lives, Prosumers use information to wield power in theWhen we look at our research findings, the most significant distinctions are not between healthcare arena. As far back as 2004,men and women, the various age groups, or even countries and cultures. The most consistent I pay a lot of attention to health issues our studies showed that 72 percent ofdifferences are in the attitudes and behaviors of leading-edge Prosumers and their mainstream and consider myself well informed in U.S. Prosumers searched for medicalcounterparts. For more than a decade, Euro RSCG has tracked Prosumers as they have shiftedthe balance of power away from retailers and manufacturers and instead toward themselves.Now they are using their access to information and new tools of communication to siphon 52 this area. information online. Today, each of the most popular health-oriented websitespower away from the medical community, as well. (e.g., Yahoo! Health, WebMD, MedicineNet) receives well over 10 million visitors aLooking at findings from the current study and our 2010 New Consumer research, we’ve found month. We have also seen an explosionthat Prosumers are significantly more apt to be informed about health, to be more proactive of books and other publications intendedhealth advocates for themselves and their families, and even to believe they can, to some to help consumers fight off particularextent, control whether they get sick. I have become a stronger advocate diseases or simply improve their overall for my own health and/or my family’s health; among them: Anticancer: A New health; I no longer automatically acceptA New Relationship to Health: Three Pillars what the doctor tells me.* Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber (1.2 million copies sold in 40 countries)The Prosumer-driven notion that people have personal responsibility for their health changes the way we perceive and the multiple best sellers of health guruourselves and our world. Dr. Andrew Weil (e.g., Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health).Pillar 1: Pillar 2: Pillar 3:Health in Relation to Self Health in Relation to Others Health in Relation to the Medical Community In recent years, Prosumers have gained increasing control over their worlds,The empowered health consumer is taking The empowered health consumer is more The empowered health consumer ismore responsibility for and exerting more cognizant of the impact his/her health more demanding of and less willing The Internet is a good source of thanks to portable technologies such ascontrol over his/her health and wellness. has on others in terms of social costs to accede to the control of healthcare information and support for people with smartphones and tablets, and to constantEmbracing anew the ancient notion of (e.g., burden on the healthcare system) professionals. He/she now seeks partners health problems.* improvement of the tools of research anda link between mind and body, modern and also is aware of the impact the and advocates rather than voices ofconsumers regard the brain as a vital health of others has on him/her (e.g., absolute authority. communication. They count on technologyweapon in the fight against illness. more taxes, higher insurance premiums). to organize their daily lives and expect to Questions raised: exert equal control over issues pertainingWith control comes power. But is this new Questions raised:power primarily a source of satisfaction to health and wellness. As a consequence, • What should I expect fromor angst? • If good health is a question of physicians? Drugs or advice on We are witnessing the rise of a subculture Prosumers are driving demand for personal responsibility and discipline, behavioral modification? that is redefining the consumer relationship proactive health boosters ranging fromQuestions raised: what is my obligation as an individual and member of society in regard to with health and wellness. alternative therapies to functional foods. • What other sorts of practitioners/ In many cases, these activities are meant• What if I’m not capable of living up those who don’t behave properly? Is it experts should I include on my to expectations—my own or those the duty of the collective to support not just to ward off ailments but also healthcare advisory team? of others? its weakest members—or are we to negate the need to buy and consume obliged to censure the unhealthy • What products and services will enable• How much personal responsibility do I pharmaceuticals. “Natural healing” has behaviors of others? me to be a more active and informed I am more apt to ask for a second bear for a particular illness or disorder? become a hugely attractive concept for What should I be doing differently? What participant in my healthcare? opinion (medical) than I used to be.* • Is there a greater role for communal people who already feel disconnected is outside my control? care now that government and • How can I best apply my consumer from nature and who have little faith in healthcare systems are falling short? smarts to my healthcare consumption?• How can I not only protect my brain the medical industry’s laboratory-created from the ravages of modern life but • With whom should I associate? Is solutions. As part of this more natural also fortify it so it will, in turn, serve it better to spend time with those approach to healthcare, three-quarters as my protector? who have the same health-oriented of Prosumers and 63 percent of their lifestyle I do? To form bonds with• How do I control my levels of stress those who are managing or simply mainstream counterparts say they try and anxiety, which I know are bad for facing the potential for the same I have some or a lot of control over to “listen” to their bodies more than they my health but seem almost intrinsic to types of disease? We’re already seeing illness in general. used to—further evidence that people are modern life? research that obesity spreads within friendship circles; does this mean I beginning to assume greater responsibility need to consider health factors when for their own health. choosing friends? Coworkers? *Euro RSCG Worldwide, The New Consumer (2010)—U.S. sample6 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 7
To understand respondents’ sense of their current levels of wellness, we asked the sample to “grade” five aspects of their lives, using the standard U.S. report card system: A=excellent, B=good, C=average/acceptable, D=poor, F=fail. Overall, respondents are satisfied with their physical For many, the effort to maintain a desirable body weight is Notions of physical health and weight management are well The modern notion of stress was virtually nonexistent health. Nearly two-thirds of the total sample gave one of the most tangible aspects of physical health. In modern established in most countries. In comparison, in many countries until the late 1960s. It took another couple of decades for themselves an A or B, while just 10 percent scored cultures, few people don’t have to make a conscious effort to mental health is a highly sensitive topic; people who admit to the notion to pass from the realm of psychology into the themselves a D or F. There are key regional and perhaps keep the number on their bathroom scales under control. having problems risk stigma and loss of face. Consequently, it’s mainstream media and two more to become a standard cultural differences at play: Latin Americans emerged as not surprising that the scorecard results for mental health were reference in everyday life. Mental-health practitioners point by far the healthiest-feeling respondents, while those Respondents overall were less positive about their weight higher than for physical health. out that the crucial factor is not stressful events, but rather in English-speaking countries were more apt to give management than about their physical health. Just slightly more how individuals respond to them—i.e., how they manage themselves tepid marks. The United States, Australia, than half the global sample scored themselves high, while nearly Considering the severity of the global economic crisis, their stress. and the United Kingdom scored themselves lowest of all. 1 in 5 scored themselves low. As with physical health, Latin respondents have a rather robust sense of their emotional America was the most self-satisfied region, this time joined by health. Experts have seen signs of mental health problems, The scores for stress management were noticeably less The Physical Health scorecard shows clearly that, India and China. including increased rates of suicide, associated with the positive than for mental health. France, the U.K., Ireland, and whatever the objective reality, people in developing financial crisis in Europe and expect further signs to develop. Australia scored especially low. countries tend to feel better about their physical The fact is that obesity is spreading around the globe, and health than do those in developed countries. all populations are at risk. The scorecard responses are less a If the economic crisis continues and high unemployment As weight management is to physical health, so stress reflection of waistlines in the countries in question and more an persists, there is a good probability that more people will management is to mental health; it’s a tangible aspect of insight into the relative levels of complacency, guilt, and anxiety suffer from mental and emotional problems—perhaps even an abstract idea. People may not know how to evaluate on the subject. “normalizing” these afflictions and putting them into the national their mental health, but they have a much keener sense of conversation in markets where they are currently taboo. whether they are stressed and how they are managing it.This aspect is arguably the point of most human activities, recognized by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle—with his central concepts of eudaimonia (“happiness”) and eu zên (“living well”)—and the U.S. Declaration of Independence (“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”), and cited in countless self-help books. Across the overall sample, two-thirds rated their sense of happiness an A or B, while fewer than 1 in 10 scored it a D or F.Happiness and well-being are complicated topics for self-assessment, given that individuals are likely to be strongly influenced by the norms of their cultures. Some cultures pride themselves on their exuberance (especially Latin cultures), while others regard themselves as no-frills phlegmatic (e.g., northern Europe) or even soulfully melancholic (e.g., Russia—not in the survey). We know from our earlier New Consumer study that a slight majority in the surveyed markets (Brazil, China, France, Japan, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.)—and nearly two-thirds of Prosumers—are actively trying to figure out what makes them happy. It is one area in which consumers continue to attempt to better their “scores.”8 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 9
Sense of Control Changes Everything “How people perceive health today is quite surprising: It is a mix of modernity and archaism. Modernity because people see themselves as empowered to wield control over their lives. Archaism because their belief in their control over even genetics-based illnesses sounds like magical or mystical thinking.” –Clement Boisseau, Strategic Planner, BETC Euro RSCGFeeling in control of key elements of life is When asked to rate how much they think it’sfundamental to health and wellness. In Britain’s within their control whether they develop alandmark Whitehall II study, for instance, clear links range of common conditions, respondents werewere found between well-being and levels of control given the following scoring options:at work: “People in jobs characterized by low control 5=“I have a lot of control”; 4=“I have somehad higher rates of sickness absence, of mental control”; 3=“Don’t know”; 2=“Mostly outsideillness, of heart disease and pain in the lower back.” my control”; and 1=“Entirely outside my control.”The report cites high stress and low control as In most instances, Prosumers outscored theira predictor of ill health. mainstream counterparts, meaning they have greater confidence in their ability to ward off these diseases and disorders. They wereThroughout history, people have attempted to 10 points more likely to think they can, to someexert control over disease and disaster by means of extent at least, control whether they developeverything from charms and tonics to pilgrimages obesity or a sexually transmitted disease andand human sacrifices. Now that ordinary citizens have 8 points more likely to think they can controlunprecedented access to healthcare information,products, and services, they are being encouraged to whether they develop diabetes, depression, or It’s worth noting that although the consensus of the medical heart disease. community would be that individuals have little or no control overtake more responsibility for their health by followingofficial recommendations and guidelines—but do they whether they contract a number of specific diseases and disorders—actually feel a greater sense of personal control? Or The disorders that respondents across the e.g., schizophrenia, blood cancer—significant minorities in our studydo they still believe themselves to be at the mercy of sample feel most able to control are obesity and believe otherwise. Remarkably, roughly as many respondents thinkgenetics and fate or luck? sexually transmitted disease, both of which 71 they have some measure of control over depression (53 percent) as percent of respondents scored a 5 or 4. Even they do over diabetes (56 percent) or heart disease (52 percent). This with these largely behavior-based conditions, latter finding would seem to suggest a fundamental misunderstandingWe know from our survey that a majority of though, 15 percent of respondents feel they of depression, or may be indicative of people lumping the “blues” withrespondents in each of the 19 markets rated their have no control, suggesting that around 1 in 6 more serious, clinical forms of depression. The general perception ofoverall “sense of control” in life an A or B (not consumers may be dismissing not just their ability Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases as being totally outsideshown), ranging from a low of 56 percent in China to influence whether they succumb to these one’s control suggests there is scope for further education regardingand Hungary to a high of 79 percent in India, and disorders but also their responsibility to do so. the benefits of regular exercise and mental stimulation as we age.including 72 percent of Prosumers in the globalsample versus just 63 percent of the mainstream.We then dug deeper in an effort to understand 52 percent of global respondents believe obesity is not a diseasepeople’s sense of their control over particularailments and diseases. but, rather, is caused by lack of willpower and self-control. “Australian Prosumers believe their health is very much within their control if they take “Over the last decade, Argentina has seen increased interest in and awareness of what is certain physical and dietary paths. They’ve obviously been getting the messages the necessary to achieve harmony between body and mind, including daily exercise and a government has been pushing on topics such as obesity, STDs, diabetes, and heart disease. healthy diet. Both are essential to staying younger longer.” It will be good for the health of the nation when the mainstream follow.” –Ayelen Colombatto, Strategic Planning Director, –Phil Johnston, Head of Planning, Euro RSCG Buenos Aires Euro RSCG Australia10 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 11
The New Notion of Health Solidarity:Factoring in Finance In recent centuries, citizenries in most places have accepted the notion of “public health.” We accept it when people with communicable diseases are quarantined to avoid the further spread of disease. Most of us accept that childhood vaccinations are necessary, not just to protect the individual but to reduce the incidence of those diseases as a whole. As a society, we work together to avoid pandemics and other communal health threats.What is different now is that people are also beginning Going forward, we’ll see governments and businessesto consider individual health actions as having an around the world devise all sorts of new ways to reduce theeffect on the community: If the people in the apartment burden of healthcare costs. Already, more than 8 in 10 U.S. The increasingly strong link between moneynext to me smoke, I have to deal with the impact, which businesses with 50 or more employees offer some form ofmay range from nuisance factors (e.g., cigarette smell health-promotion program. and health means people are focusing not justin fabrics) to more serious issues (e.g., health effects of on the physical impact of serious illness butsecondhand smoke). If I am obese, I, in turn, contribute to As healthcare increasingly is seen more as a communal also on the consequences it has for themselves,the community’s expenses as a result of direct health costs matter than a personal one, societies will have to determine their families, and communities.(e.g., building more hospitals to cope with higher rates of how to encourage better health choices. Our study showsdiabetes) and also society’s need to retrofit for larger bodies. that a good portion of consumers are already prepared to punish “transgressors”: 4 in 10 respondents believeAs these examples show, collective health concerns now companies should not be required to provide healthextend beyond whether we’re going to come in contact coverage to employees who smoke. We believe, however,with a disease carrier. I don’t want my neighbor to engage that people will show more support for positive behavioralin unhealthy behaviors not so much because I fear I’ll become modification than for punitive measures. Our intolerance forsick, but because I fear I’ll have to help shoulder the resultant the weak (and weak-willed) likely will be tempered by thefinancial burden. Imagine how such fears multiply when greater sense of solidarity that comes from seeing ourselves The ability to afford top-of-the-line care andapplied to hundreds or thousands of employees or to millions as part of an interconnected ecosystem of humankind. The navigate the labyrinth that is the modernof citizens. The CDC estimates that smoking-related idea that we, as individuals, have the ability to improvehealth costs, including lost productivity, exceed $193 the overall health of this ecosystem through our personal healthcare system is an increasingly importantbillion annually in the U.S. At the One Young World summit choices is empowering—and falls into line with our earlier demarcation between the “haves” and “have-nots.”held this past fall in Zurich, television chef–turned-activist New Consumer research showing that people are hungeringJamie Oliver noted that obesity costs the U.S. government for more personal responsibility and interconnectedness.$10 million an hour. It doesn’t take too great a leap in logicto consider what role escalating healthcare costs may behaving on the current national and global financial crises. “During previous economic crises, health and social protections were considered sacrosanct. Now, “The new discourses on health augur the advent of a new kind of society: The idea of one big nation financial insecurity has reached the point at which all solutions are on the table—magnifying fears that takes care of everyone is replaced by multiple communities of people who share the same risks, that a personal or family health crisis could lead to financial ruin or that lack of health coverage will the same way of life, and the same mindset regarding what their personal responsibilities are in the result in preventable death or long-term disability. For ourselves and for our countries, we are more realm of health.” fearful of what the future holds.” –Marianne Hurstel, Vice President, BETC Euro RSCG –Tom Morton, Chief Strategy Officer, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Euro RSCG Worldwide Euro RSCG New York12 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 13
Brains and Diet: Key Weapons in theFight for Good Health Powerful thoughts can help heal a personA New Focus on Brain Health The “Decade of the Brain” was officially designated by the U.S. Congress in 1990, launching initiatives to deal with a huge range of issues, from forgetfulness and hyperactivity to strokes, trauma, tumors, and dementia. One consequence is that neuroscience has become a media darling, raising public awareness of and interest in the brain.Our brain functions as our body’s “control center,” so it’s no wonder we want to protect it. What we’re seeing develop goesbeyond basic care, however. We are seeing signs that consumers are paying more attention to the brain for three reasons: 1. The brain is arguably the body part most susceptible to the negative impacts of modern life. As we’ll see later in this section, the brain is considered vulnerable to many of the most prevalent factors in 21st-century life, including stress and anxiety, environmental pollutants, cell-phone technology, poor diet, and lack of sleep. With populations aging in many parts of the world, there’s added impetus to do everything we can to stave off degenerative brain disease and other brain-related effects of growing old. 2. A consensus is emerging that the brain—to be in top form—must be the focus of ongoing care and attention. Now that the field of neurology is more advanced, there’s greater hope that scientists can hit on ways to fortify the brains of both young and old—safeguarding the brain from harm and potentially making it even more powerful. Interest is growing in “brain training” techniques. Recent studies have found that children who are taught that the brain is a muscle and are encouraged to participate in activities intended to “bulk up” that muscle have seen remarkable rises in their IQ scores. Where once the brain was considered largely “off limits” Agree and intelligence fixed for life, now we are beginning to learn that our brains may function best when we are proactive about their care, exercise, and feeding. % Disagree 3. What we think plays a vital role in how we feel. Arguably more surprising is that 4 in 10 respondents believe at least somewhat that most illness is psychosomatic—in other words, that it’s all in our heads (not shown in chart). That’s pretty astonishing considering all the types of illnesses that befall us. The notion of a link between mind and body goes back to ancient times, but modern For marketers, the important takeaway is that people believe the human brain is sufficiently powerful to both heal and cause consumers are embracing it with renewed vigor. Nearly two-thirds of our survey sample illness. This may prove a vital pathway of communication for people seeking to play a more active role in their own health agreed that powerful thoughts can help heal a person. management and that of their families or employees.14 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 15
Now that brain health is of generalinterest, the question arises as to what Good for the Brainsorts of behaviors help and hurt thismost vital organ. What can we do 1.70 4.20 Of the 14 factors that netted out overall as good forto make it stronger—and what must Recreational/ Exercise the brain, it’s striking that all except one are timelesswe avoid? To find out how people Illegal Drugs factors unrelated to technology. The only exceptionthink on this topic, we listed 30 was Online Social Networks, which netted out lowest ofbehaviors and asked respondents toscore each one in terms of its effect 1.76 the “good” factors with a mean of 3.11 (not shown); this compares with a much higher mean of 4.01 for its offline Tobaccoon the physical brain: 5=“Definitely counterpart: Meeting People and Socializing in Person.good”; 4=“Possibly good”; 3=“Neithergood nor bad”; 2=“Possibly bad”; and What’s more, technology and modern living have1=“Definitely bad.” This section looks impinged on a number of “good for the brain” factors,at the means (averages) for the total particularly the top-scoring Exercise (4.20) and Sleepsample on each behavior; the morethe means are above the midpoint 3.0, 1.89 4.18 (4.19). While a Healthful Diet (4.17) and Slow Eating (3.67) are clearly aspirations, the reality of modern Air and Water Lovethe better they are judged to be for Pollution life is, for many, processed convenience foodsthe brain; the more they are below the eaten fast on the fly. In busy working lives withmidpoint 3.0, the more harmful they numerous claims on attention, there’s also awere judged to be by respondents. squeeze on time for Playing (3.86) (not shown) and Meeting People and Socializing in Person. Identifying particular factors as good or 1.96 4.17 bad for the brain by no means implies we will act accordingly. Rather, the factors are Stressful Healthful Job Diet part of the cost-benefit trade-offs we make in our consumption choices and will influenceBad for the Brain whether we feel virtuous or guilty about those choices.Technology is behind several of the factorsrespondents rated as detrimental to brainhealth. Television (2.95) and Computer Games(2.93) are so close to the neutral 3.0 that theydon’t really count. However, there’s a more 2.00 4.13 Alcohol Reading Booksnegative assessment of Cell Phones (2.63)and especially of Living/Working Near aCell-Phone Tower (2.31) and Living/WorkingNear High-Tension Power Lines (2.20).The factors rated worst for the brain areintoxicants (e.g., recreational drugs, tobacco) 2.02 4.01 Anxiety Socializingand emotional factors (e.g., stressful job,anxiety). Looking at the top seven negativefactors for brain health, we might characterize 2.05 4.00them as a mix of environmental, corporeal, Low-Nutrition Sex Dietand emotional pollutants. Modern life is creating new typologies of fear. How can I protect myself and my family from things outside my Chart shows mean scores for the 14 factors deemed best and worst for the brain out of all choices listed. control—e.g., cell-phone waves? How do I reduce the feelings 1 2 3 4 5 of anxiety and stress that I know are bad for my body?16 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 17
Fortifying Body and Mind with FoodAs we have come to feel we have more controlover our health—and, hence, more responsibilityfor it—food has become an important weaponin our health-maintenance arsenals. This meanswe’re debating more and more the merits ofparticular foods and beverages, and becomingincreasingly conscious of the state of ourindividual and national diets.Just as concepts and practices regarding healthcare arebecoming globalized, so is food culture, with importantimplications for health. Around the world, the “Western”diet is becoming more prevalent, which equates to theconsumption of more meat, more sugar, more calories, andmore processed food—and to a concomitant rise in heartdisease, obesity, diabetes, and other ailments.Over the course of the 20th century, increased useof artificial flavors, preservatives, additives, and foodprocessing meant our bodies were being enriched less by 91 percent of Prosumers vs. 77 percent of the mainstream believe eatingthe land than by production plants. In the 21st century, we a healthful diet has a positive impact on the brain.are seeing a countermarch, as people seek to reconnectwith the natural world and begin to recognize the linkbetween the consumption of natural, whole foods and goodhealth. Around two-thirds of our respondents indicated theyare much more aware today of the nutritional/health valueof the foods they eat than they used to be.Even more notable is the extent to which food is beingperceived as having medicinal properties. Nearly 8 in 10Prosumers and two-thirds of mainstream consumersactually believe food is as effective as medicine inmaintaining one’s overall health. This likely reflects therecent focus on nutraceuticals and so-called “superfoods,”but it is also tied to a greater understanding of the role offood in our lives. As evidenced by the growing popularityof the Slow Food movement, more of us are coming tounderstand that the way we nourish our bodies—what weeat, how it is prepared, and where, how, and with whom weeat—has important implications for not just our physicalbut also our emotional and spiritual well-being.18 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 19
Concerns over Food Safety Given consumers’ heightened awareness of the health and wellness implications of what they eat and drink, it’s of concern that only 37 percent trust the food industry to provide them with healthful food. In general, it is the more developed markets that express the least confidence in the food industry, suggesting some level of suspicion regarding Big Food. “In recent years, the people of Colombia have been looking for different alternatives related to health and wellness—more contact with the countryside, healthy food, healthy life, etc., as well as more time to enjoy the company of others (family and friends).”It’s entirely plausible that consumers’ lack of trust in the food industry is tied to the food scares ofrecent decades. It seems as though just about every month there’s a new warning issued to avoid aparticular food because of one food-borne threat or another. The CDC’s newest estimates indicate –Giovanni Acuna, Planning Director,that contaminated foods cause almost 48 million illnesses, more than 125,000 hospitalizations, Euro RSCG Colombiaand more than 3,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. It’s little wonder, then, that 7 in 10 globalrespondents express concern over food safety.Adding to fears are concerns over the additives found in so many packaged foods. In the survey, amajority (59 percent) agreed with the statement, “I worry about the impact the artificial ingredientsand coloring agents I eat and drink are having on my health,” while only 13 percent disagreed (chartnot shown). The higher levels of agreement than disagreement in every market tell us that concernabout additives is the norm.Concerned about food safety% moderately to extremely worried 87 85 81 81 76 75 74 71 70 70 South Africa Poland China Colombia Hungary India Mexico Brazil Argentina GLOBAL 69 68 66 66 66 65 62 52 51 46 Czech Republic Germany Canada U.S. France Australia Belgium U.K. Ireland Netherlands20 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 21
A Need for ClarityOur findings illustrate the confusion around health and food. Veryfew people have the knowledge and skills to evaluate which foodsare beneficial—especially given all the conflicting informationbeing disseminated (“Eggs are bad—no, wait, they’re good!”).And even those who pay attention to companies and brands havetrouble keeping track of who produces what. Turning East for Holistic Healing Just as Eastern cultures have adopted conventional Western medicine in recent To simplify decision making, people apply general decades, the developed markets of the rules that make sense to them. One typical West have embraced Eastern philosophies example is that “natural is good,” even though and ancient remedies. Eastern cultures’ molds, infections, and infestations are natural and more holistic approaches to medicine clearly not always good. Similarly, the suspicion bring all aspects of a person’s life into a that additives are not good is widespread, even single picture of his or her health and take though many foods could not be eaten in developed for granted that everything a person does countries without additives to preserve them and (from eating to sleeping and breathing) has prevent spoilage during transport. an impact on how that person feels and heals. As citizens in modern societies seek to live longer and healthier lives, they are drawing wisdom from the ancient cultures of China and India in particular to change With 37 percent of our survey respondents their behaviors and influence their health. trusting the food industry and 33 percent not trusting it, that leaves almost as many consumers This shift is having a marked impact on (30 percent) uncertain as to whether to have faith consumption, including significant increases in their food suppliers—suggesting plenty of scope in sales of homeopathic and herbal for information, outreach, and building trust through remedies. We can expect to see a continued consistent quality and transparency. melding of traditional and conventional approaches to healthcare, especially as more Western medical schools incorporate complementary and alternative medicine into their curricula. “Among Chinese, older generations (41–66) place importance on food for good health compared “Our new relationship with health changes how we see the future. How are we imagining what’s next for with the younger generation (18–30) and worry about food safety more so than do the other age health? Is it a question of scientific advances or a reconnection to nature? Should we be moving forward groups.” with nanotechnology and the like or attempting to revert to the simpler lifestyles our forebears enjoyed?” –Simone Zhang, Strategic Planning Director, –Marian Salzman, CEO, Euro RSCG Shanghai Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America22 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 23
Marketing ImplicationsIn this new climate, we must ask ourselves: How do we communicate withconsumers? How can brands help their customers live better and at the same Brain Boosterstime protect themselves against the negative consequences of modern life? Given our increased focus on brain health, consumers will be looking for products and services that stave off the mental effects of aging, including supplements, devices, and activities (e.g., targeted exercise, Sudoku, adult learning). Over the next decade, we can expect to seeAn Opening for Brand Partners to the emergence of a category of “n” (neurological) products, including nBoosters, nHancers, nUtrients, and nGames. We are at the very beginning of the brain’s movement from somethingServe as Health Advocates mysterious and sacred (impossible to explore) to a body part that must be exercised and cared for just as we do our heart and other organs. There will be a much greater focus on the continued care and feeding of our brains, especially given the widespread acceptance that the As consumers—and Prosumers especially—seek to wield greater control over their health, they are physical health of our bodies is intrinsically linked to the powers and health of our minds. increasingly looking for tools that will help them keep their wellness goals on track. Brands in a number of categories are offering an assist. A few examples: Selling Certainty Reebok’s “The Promise Keeper” app allows the user to share when he/she goes for a run and automatically posts or tweets when the person fails to exercise. The app was designed to create brand engagement and A lack of consumer trust in product categories related to health and wellness—including promote the ZigTech running shoe. food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and insurance—offers great opportunity for businesses that operate on a model of transparency. As consumers begin to accept more responsibility Unilever, Tesco, and other food and beverage companies are providing financial support to the U.K. for their health, they are looking for brand partners that promote their progress. Department of Health’s Change4Life program, which offers consumers tips and information on ways to “eat well, move more, live longer.” There’s particular opportunity for brands in the telephony sector. Government studies continue to deny any harmful effects of mobile phones and cell towers, but today’s more Apple’s Design + Health kit is intended to help designers exercise, keep proper ergonomic posture at the skeptical consumers recognize that government also has been slow to confirm now widely keyboard, and eat right. The kit includes a set of weighted mugs (for lifting), sticky notes with health “nudges” recognized health hazards such as smoking. Brands in this and related categories must printed on them, an exercise guide, and more. assuage consumer concerns, not just through information (which can be dismissed) but through product designs that offer a sense of protectedness and peace of mind. Transparency In France, insurance company Swiss Life launched an online health dashboard that permits consumers to and a more humanized approach are all-important. evaluate their allergy levels and receive alerts about local air pollution. They can also program in medical appointments, set alarms as reminders to take their medicines, and read articles and an RSS feed on health. “The rise of ‘lifestyle’ diseases has created an urgent need to help people improve their health by changing how they live. Change is not easy, and more resources need to be put against giving people the support and simple tools they need to make lasting modifications. Creating communities centered on a culture of positive change can help make a healthier population a reality. Mutual support within these communities can empower people practically and emotionally in their efforts to live a better, longer life.” –Kate Gill, Managing Director of Integrated Strategy and Planning, Euro RSCG Tonic24 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 25
Back to the Future? We find ourselves at an interesting crossroads in regard to health. Forces are pushing us simultaneously toward the future (higher-tech solutions, genome exploration, implantable nanotechnology) and toward the past (wholesome lifestyles as the cure for all that ails us). Are the advances we’re making in personal electronics, “Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.” communications, and automation ruining our quality of life? Is our increasing separation from the natural world robbing us of the true fruits of human –Albert Schweitzer existence on planet Earth? Is there a line we need to draw on “progress”—and, if so, have we already crossed it? Or are we truly creating a better world? There are some who believe we will eventually morph into the next evolution of humankind—becoming smarter, stronger, and more psychologically powerful. The question is whether this “posthuman” society is something to which we should aspire or from which we should run. These next few decades will show us what price we’re willing to pay—with our bodies, with our cultures, with our social communities—for the modern conveniences and breakthroughs that are so much the focus of our efforts and interest today. “What is happening today with health echoes what happened over the last 10 years with the environment. Consumers finally understood that the dramatic expansion of our global population and our limited natural resources mean we have to invent new solutions and change our behavior if our species is to survive. Once they realized governments couldn’t—or wouldn’t—do it alone, people stepped up and began taking responsibility.” –Naomi Troni, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Euro RSCG Worldwide26 Prosumer Report, Vol. 12 My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times 27
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