Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

JWT AnxietyIndex Quarterly: The Best Brand Responses to the Recession (Fall 2009)


Published on

After a year spent surveying brand and consumer response to the recession through our, we found that only a handful of the 350 examples we collected across 24 countries truly stood out. Creating innovative work isn’t easy in any economic climate; it’s even harder when marketing budgets are low and risk aversion is high. Despite these challenges, some notable responses to the recession emerged this past year.

Our AnxietyIndex Brand Hall of Fame salutes 10 of the best that we've seen—those that made us wish we had done it (and in two cases, we did). Among them are a brand that re-imagined a product, another that sold hope (literally) and another that leveraged the headlines of the day through a quick-turnaround campaign. We believe these will hold up in years to come as case studies of work that transcend typical approaches to a downturn.

Our third AnxietyIndex Quarterly report lists these Top 10 in ascending order and explains why we think these are stand-out responses to the recession.

Published in: Business
  • It now 4 years since these bold client initiatives appeared and would be good to know from JWT whether these brands held their nerve and have continued to gain from the JWT, are there any updates so far?? I particularly liked the FT empty b'/boards, Bluejet unstuffy CEO's and India's Power of Ideas which encouraged ideas and then backed them!!!
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here

JWT AnxietyIndex Quarterly: The Best Brand Responses to the Recession (Fall 2009)

  2. 2. TOPLINE FINDINGSAfter a year spent surveying brand and consumer response to the recession through, we found that only a handful of the 350 examples we collected across 24countries truly stood out. Creating innovative work isn’t easy in any economic climate; it’s evenharder when marketing budgets are low and risk aversion is high.Despite these challenges, some notable responses to the recession emerged this past year. OurAnxietyIndex Brand Hall of Fame salutes 10 of the best that we’ve seen—those that made uswish we had done it (and in two cases, we did). Among them are a brand that re-imagined aproduct, another that sold hope (literally) and another that leveraged the headlines of the daythrough a quick-turnaround campaign.We believe these will hold up in years to come as case studies of work that transcend typicalapproaches to a downturn. Our third AnxietyIndex Quarterly report lists these Top 10 inascending order and explains why we think these are stand-out responses to the recession. About AnxietyIndex Quarterly During periods of heightened consumer anxiety, brands need real-time data that can help them navigate a rapidly changing landscape. They need answers to new questions and a point of view on the types of businesses and business practices that will emerge out of the crisis. JWT should know. At 145 years old, we have a proven track record of leading brands through pivotal times. We’ve done this by providing tools to help brands succeed. One such tool is our proprietary AnxietyIndex, launched during the run-up to the war in Iraq; it tracks the level and drivers of consumer anxiety and explores how these affect attitudes and behaviors. Earlier this year, we expanded upon our AnxietyIndex by debuting With daily content updates and major research and trend reports added frequently, this interactive site is intended as a place to discover and discuss how brands and consumers are responding to and coping with the global recession. Last spring we launched our AnxietyIndex Quarterly. This third issue seeks to contextualize the content we have published over the course of the year.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 2
  3. 3. 10. AMERICAN EXPRESSProgram: American Express OPENCountry: U.S.Why it’s one of the best: Through its OPEN card, American Express positioned itself as anally of small-business owners both through word and actions.Description: In a campaign for its OPEN small-business platform, American Express praisedsmall-business owners as “the most powerful force in the economy. They drive change. Andthey’ll relentlessly push their businesses to innovate and connect.”While the anthem spot was inspirational, what is truly powerful is the brand’s OPEN Forum,an online resource and social networking site for small businesses that features a virtualRolodex of credentialed businesses, marketing toolkits and an idea hub, among other things.For the past few months, American Express has been pairing up with other organizations tosupport small businesses. Most recently, it linked with NBCU for the “Shine A Light”competition, in which one small-business owner won $100,000 in grant and marketing supportfor his or her company.Results: saw steady growth in traffic between September 2008 andSeptember 2009, increasing from 68,005 unique visitors to 355,109. Most of this growthoccurred between July and September this year after the official unveiling of the socialnetwork. During September 2009 alone, Openforum’s unique visitors spiked by nearly 20percent. The “Shine A Light” competition received 4,000-plus entries.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 3
  4. 4. 9. CAIXA ECONÔMICA FEDERALProgram: LotteryCountry: BrazilWhy it’s one of the best: Caixa Econômica Federal reimagined one of its products toincrease consumer confidence in credit during a crisis.Description: Brazil’s national bank, Caixa Econômica, invested in a promotion inspired byBrazilians’ faith in the luck of lotteries. Each purchase made with a bank credit cardgenerated a coupon that could be raffled. The prize? The bank paid the credit card bill. Thismeant that the more often consumers spent, the more chances they had to win everythingthey’d bought. Betting on a game of faith valued by Brazilians, the bank offered people achance to reduce their worries related to credit card bills.8. WOOLWORTHSProgram: We’re an EmployerCountry: AustraliaWhy it’s one of the best: Woolworths tackled one of the primary sources of anxieties forAustralians head on.Description: In April, our AnxietyIndex showed that Australians were more pessimistic aboutunemployment than a series of other potentially troubling factors, such as cost of living, crimeand the state of the economy. Woolworths addressed those fears directly. As the downturn tookhold in Australia in February, Woolworths Ltd. announced that new store openings and growthin existing locations would create 7,000 jobs. “We see our role as generating economic activityand jobs,” CEO Michael Luscombe said in a release accompanying the announcement, notingthat while 43,000 jobs had recently been lost in the retail sector, Woolworths would continueto hire.A commercial linked back to this message. It showed a mother going to a job interview withher son, with the message that “We employ thousands of Australians. And we’re alwayslooking for more.” Without mentioning the “R” word explicitly, the spot sounded just the righttone of pragmatic optimism.Results: Although it shut operations in the U.K., Woolworths is Australia’s largestsupermarket retailer, and in the quarter ending Oct. 4, year-over-year sales for the divisionincreased by 3.8 percent to $11.5 billion.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 4
  5. 5. 7. FINANCIAL TIMESProgram: Global DownturnCountry: U.K.Why it’s one of the best: The Financial Times’ novel use of an outdoor medium—billboardsempty because of the recession—tied in perfectly with the newspaper’s message.Description: The Financial Times took over empty billboard spaces in the U.K. to question thewisdom of decreasing marketing budgets during hard times. Stickers in the right-hand cornersof the billboards posed questions like “What’s the first mistake businesses make?”—alludingto studies showing that businesses that increase ad spend during recessions are the ones thatdo best afterward. The goal: to encourage brands to advertise in the Financial Times.Results: The campaign won a gold CLIO Billboard Award.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 5
  6. 6. 6. PORTUGUESE RED CROSSProgram: Store+ The Store That Sells HopeCountry: PortugalWhy it’s one of the best: The Red Cross understood the importance of tapping into the corevalue of hope.Description: Before Christmas last year, as consumers tightened their wallets, the Red Crossin Portugal decided to sell hope in a literal way. In a popular mall in Lisbon, it opened a storewhere little cards promoting “hope” were clipped onto hangers and stocked on shelves, just asnormal goods would be; the cards sold for 10 euros apiece. “Hope” was positioned as a giftalternative for the holidays, a product that people can’t hold in their hands but can feelemotionally. Shoppers could get the satisfaction that comes with both a mall transaction andthe act of giving.Where its messaging could have played on the guilt of previously generous patrons, the RedCross spoke in a voice of optimism.Results: Hundreds of people attended the opening night, and in its first day the store achieveda place in the mall’s top 10 for sales; the Red Cross extended the store’s hours, as well as itsclosing date. And the store not only helped raise immediate funds but boosted awareness forthe Red Cross. The Hope Store won a gold Lion for PR, two silvers for Direct and a silver andbronze for Promo at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 6
  7. 7. 5. JETBLUE Program: Bigwigs: Making Jetting Newsworthy Country: U.S. Why it’s one of the best: JetBlue moved quickly to leverage public sentiment in a timely campaign that was perfectly aligned with its brand. Description: As C-suite execs were getting chastised for their excesses—private jets included—amid bailout mania, JetBlue turned out its “Bigwigs” campaign, poking fun at stuffy, stodgy CEOs. It subtly communicated “more for less” by telling “Bigwigs, Muckety-Mucks, Private Jetters and Big Cheeses” how “jetting on JetBlue is a lot like on your private jet, with a few basic differences.” A section on the airline’s Web site described features such as lots of leg room, DirectTV, free snacks and “fares that won’t give the CFO a conniption.” Not only did the work fit with JetBlue’s distinctly un- stuffy, anti-stodgy airline brand, but it was relevant and timely, and undoubtedly struck a chord with bailout-weary American taxpayers. Results: While most airlines were experiencing double- digit declines, JetBlue recently reported its third consecutive profitable quarter. And as its rivals laid off staff and cut flights, JetBlue hired 2,300 workers and expanded to eight additional cities. The airline looks likely to move from Fortune’s top 1,000 to the top 500.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 7
  8. 8. 4. CASH FOR CLUNKERS Photo: Infrogmation/creativecommons.orgProgram: Cash for ClunkersCountries: Germany and the U.S.Why it’s one of the best: These programs used the recession to achieve a higher goal: to getmore efficient cars on the market. In doing so, they gave a desperately needed boost to theauto industry.Description: Germany started its “Cash for Clunkers” campaign in January with the hopethat it would encourage people to buy German-made cars, help the environment and stimulatethe economy. The U.S. government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program in July and Augustencouraged Americans to trade in their gas-guzzling clunkers for thousands of dollars off theprice of a new, better-for-the-environment vehicle.Results: While auto sales surged 21 percent in Germany, buyers tended to choose small andcheap Hyundais over German-made BMWs or Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Still, the programhelped raise confidence levels in German business, according to an Ifo Institute for EconomicResearch report.In the U.S., the program was so successful that the government ran out of funds for it andshut it down early. “Cash for Clunkers” stimulated the sale of nearly 700,000 cars; GM andFord even announced additional factory shifts to keep up with the demand.The “Cash for Clunkers” program helped boost consumer spending on durable goods, whichgrew by an annual rate of 22.3 percent in the third quarter compared to a decline of 5.6percent in the previous quarter.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 8
  9. 9. 3. THE ECONOMIC TIMES Program: Power of Ideas Country: India Why it’s one of the best: Rather than empathize with anxious consumers, The Economic Times inspired them. Description: The Economic Times created a platform to encourage entrepreneurship by giving people an opportunity to submit their business ideas to the financial daily, as well as receive mentoring and the chance for funding. Its “Power of Ideas” contest provided both inspiration and advice for business development in a recession. Over the last decade, the spirit of Indian entrepreneurship has been riding high, and there is a collective feeling in corporate India that the country will determinedly turn the recession into opportunity. Indeed, while anxiety levels are high in India, our AnxietyIndex found a great deal of optimism, both absolute and relative to the other countries we’ve studied. Research we conducted in April and May found that aside from crime and terrorism, Indians believed that most factors—from the economy to the cost of living to unemployment rates—would improve over the next six months.Rather than mirror the anxiety of consumers, The Economic Times treated them as hope-fueled and talked to them accordingly. It helped to feed India’s ambition and optimism.Results: According to the program’s Web site, more than 12,000 ideas were registered; 254finalists ultimately went on to be mentored by professionals.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 9
  10. 10. 2. LEVI’SProgram: Live NOW, Pay LaterCountry: IndiaWhy it’s one of the best: Levi’s came up with asolution that was revolutionary for the apparelcategory.Description: In India, Levi’s is a premium brandand the No. 1 denim brand. The brand is hugelyaspirational; making it more accessible andbroadening the user base is the challenge: Howdoes Levi’s cater to those who aspire to it butmay not be able to afford a purchase? And howcan it do that without discounting the brand orweakening its premium positioning? Levi’s alsowanted to increase frequency and value ofpurchase among existing customers.In the face of a global recession, these wereparticularly challenging goals. Our April-MayAnxietyIndex in India found that when it comesto saving money, Indians are most likely toconsider reducing purchases of branded apparel;one-third have contemplated switching apparelbrands in favor of more affordable options. Tocounteract these tendencies, Levi’s brought innew category thinking: It partnered with one ofIndia’s major banks (HDFC) to offer an EMI(equal monthly installment) scheme.JWT wanted to use the creative to keep the brand in the conversation. So the communicationchampions a “Live Now” philosophy; the anthem print ad, which brings this to life, takes onthe “un” from the “Live Unbuttoned” global Levi’s campaign.Results: The program has seen terrific industry and consumer response, and has generated alot of PR and buzz. The average bill value has risen by about US$20, and 60 percent of HDFCcredit card users who have recently made a Levi’s purchase have used the EMI scheme.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 10
  11. 11. 1. HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICAProgram: Hyundai AssuranceCountry: U.S.Why it is the best: Hyundai Motor America was a leader in removing the risk from purchase.Its Assurance Program inspired myriad brands to follow with their own versions of job-lossguarantees.Description: Lose your income, return your car—that’s the assurance the South Korean brandgave people who financed or leased a new Hyundai in 2009. The deal provided “certainty inuncertain times,” as the promotional material stated.With anxiety levels high and the future uncertain, consumers were reluctant to spend in2009—even if they weren’t directly impacted by the recession. They were especially reluctantwhen it came to bigger-ticket items or long-term financial commitments. Hyundai sold peaceof mind by taking some of the risk out of the equation—as did the brands that followed,including JoS. A. Bank Clothiers and Bigelow Homes in the U.S., Telefónica in Spain, AIGIsrael, Virgin Mobile USA and Ponto Frio in Brazil.Results: At a time when most major automakers in the U.S. watched sales slide by as muchas 25 to 50 percent, Hyundai Motor Group reports that sales are up 2.6 percent for theyear—in fact, it’s the only automaker to see its U.S. sales rise. Hyundai Motor Group (whichincludes the Hyundai and Kia brands) gained 2.2 percentage points of market share this year,becoming the sixth-largest automaker in the U.S. based on sales volume.ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 11
  12. 12. APPENDIX LEVELS AND DRIVERS OF CONSUMER ANXIETY This cross-market look at JWT’s AnxietyIndex compares the levels, intensity and drivers of anxiety across 11 markets: the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Japan. It is based on data collected from adults age 18-plus through online surveys conducted in 2009. Data were weighted by age, gender and household income based on government population statistics. Levels of anxiety vary significantly across the 11 markets we’ve surveyed, ranging from a low of 35 percent in China to a high of 90 percent in Japan. (See Figure 1.) While overall anxiety levels remain generally high, they are starting to abate across the markets we regularly track: In the U.S., the anxiety level dropped from a high of 82 percent in November 2008 to 72 percent in September; in the U.K., it shrunk from a high of 74 percent in March to 65 percent in September; in Canada and Australia, it fell from 71 percent in December 2008 to 55 percent and 59 percent, respectively, in September. Figure 1: Levels of anxiety Overall, given everything that is going on in the world, the country, and your family’s life, how nervous or anxious would you say you currently are? % Nervous/Anxious % Not Nervous/Anxious100 90 10 16 26 28 30 80 34 35 41 45 70 58 65 60 50 90 84 40 74 72 70 66 65 30 59 55 20 42 35 10 0 Japan Russia India U.S. Spain Brazil U.K. Australia Canada France China Nervous/Anxious February-March 2009 Not Nervous/Anxious February-March 2009 ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 12
  13. 13. While Japan is the most anxious market, Russia records the most intense anxiety, with 38percent of respondents saying they feel very nervous/anxious. (See Figure 2.) Again, theintensity of anxiety has been diminishing in the markets we survey on a regular basis: In theU.S., the percentage of respondents reporting intense anxiety fell from 25 percent in earlyNovember 2008 to 16 percent in September; in the U.K., from 16 percent in March to 9percent in September; and in Canada, from a high of 17 percent to 8 percent in September.Figure 2: Intensity of anxietyOverall, given everything that is going on in the world, the country, and your family’s life, hownervous or anxious would you say you currently are? % Very Nervous/Anxious5040 38 3030 2520 18 16 12 10 9 8 810 6 0 Russia India Japan Brazil U.S. Spain France U.K. Australia Canada ChinaANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 13
  14. 14. Not surprisingly, the economy is the primary driver of anxiety in most markets. (See Figure 3.) In the U.S., the U.K. and Spain, the primary drivers of anxiety are the economy and the cost of living. The same is true for Russia, Japan and India, although it’s more exaggerated in those markets. Also driving anxiety in Japan is the cost of health care, crime and political leadership. Indians are worried about those factors, as well as crime, the threat of terrorism and current military hostilities. Brazilians are concerned about the cost of health care and crime. Relative to the average of the 11 countries we’ve surveyed, the drivers of anxiety in Canada, France, Australia and China are muted. Figure 3: Drivers of anxiety Events in your life, in the country and in the world can make people nervous or anxious. For U.S. each of the following, please indicate how nervous or anxious you currently are, or not. Canada Brazil Political Leadership U.K. U.S. 1400 Canada Spain Brazil France* Threat of 1200 Political Leadership State of U.K. Russia 1400 Spain Japan* Terrorism Economy 1000 France* China** Threat of 1200 State of Russia India* 800 Japan* Terrorism Economy Australia 1000 China** Average India* 600 800 Australia Average 400 600Potential Cost of Military 400 200 Potential Health Care ***Hostilities Cost of Military 200 0 Health Care Hostilities 0 Current Cost of Current Cost of Military Military Living Living Hostilities Hostilities Crime Crime Job Security Job Security AnxietyIndex: % who are nervous or anxious/% who are not *Potential military hostilities not measured in France, Japan or India. **Political leadership, threat of terrorism, and potential and current military hostilities not measured in China. ***Quality of health care measured in Canada and France instead of cost of health care. ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 14
  15. 15. In terms of specific drivers of anxiety, unemployment is heavily cited across a number of nations, including the U.S., Brazil, Spain, Japan and India. The U.S. is also worried about the government’s budget deficit, as is the U.K. Food prices are causing anxiety for Brazilians, Indians and Russians. Russians are also worried about the safety of the food supply, while Brazilians are also concerned about the impact of global warming. India is worried about a host of issues, including the impact of global warming, natural disasters, the national infrastructure, the stock market, gas/petrol prices, the housing market and the war in Iraq. The same applies for Japan, which is concerned about the impact of global warming, natural disasters and the quality of products imported from China. Australians are worried about gas prices. Compared to the average of the markets we’ve surveyed, Canada, France and China are fairly calm about these factors. Figure 4: Specific drivers of anxiety Events in your life, in the country and in the world can make people nervous or anxious. For each of the following, please indicate how nervous or anxious you currently are, or not. U.S. Canada Brazil U.K. The war in Iraq Spain Impact of global warming 1000 The war in Afghanistan France* Russia 800 Japan* China** The housing market India* Natural disasters 600 Australia Average 400 Safety of the food Gasoline/Petrol prices 200 supply 0 Quality of products Food pricesimported from China The government’s budget deficit Unemployment rates The state of the national Bank failures infrastructure The stock market AnxietyIndex: % who are nervous or anxious/% who are not *Bank failures, government’s budget deficit, safety of food supply and the war in Afghanistan not measured in Japan or India. **Bank failures, government’s budget deficit, quality of products imported from China, safety of food supply, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan not measured in China. ANXIETYINDEX.COM ANXIETYINDEX QUARTERLY 15
  16. 16. 466 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10017 www.AnxietyIndex.comFor AnxietyIndex inquiries, please contact Ann Mack (, 212-210-7378). For press inquiries, please contact Erin Johnson (, 212-210-7243).