Heaven knows we’re miserable now: Brits shun fun ads

depress2As the cost of living crisis bites harder by the day, Brits have warned brands they are in no mood to be entertained or amused by marketing campaigns; instead they want companies to focus on fair pricing and value for money.

That is according to a new nationally representative survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the IPA and carried out by Opinium, which is published on the same day that the Government has been forced into a U-turn by introducing a windfall tax on oil and gas firms to help millions of households.

In response to the question, “What would consumers like brands to do to support them through the cost-of-living crisis? the most popular ways cited are keep prices fair (57%); freeze price on value-range products or services (36%); offer more value for money promotions (33%); reward existing customers’ loyalty (30%); and increase the number of promotions they offer (28%).

In terms of the top preference of brands keeping prices fair, this was desired more acutely by women than men (62% vs 52%), and even more so (by 100%) from those aged 55+ (72% vs 36% of 18 to 34s).

At the other end of the scale, however, consumers are least in favour of brands taking the following actions: Entertain and make customers laugh/smile (5%); engage directly with customers to develop new solutions and ideas (8%); offer affordable customer finance (10%).

When it comes to consumers not wanting brands to entertain them, this is five times more unwanted among the older generations aged 55+ (2%) than by those aged 18 to 34% at 10%.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair said: “The cost of living crisis is a serious issue, especially for those at the older end of the spectrum, so it is understandable that consumers aren’t looking to brands to provide the fun but to provide help where it hits hardest – their finances.

“With further pressures forecast this won’t be easy for brands to navigate, but as the data shows, those that are fair and transparent with their pricing and value proposition may well fare better in their customers’ eyes going forward.”

Just last week, a separate study by Ogilvy Consulting called for brands to re-evaluate their messaging or risk alienating vast swathes of the population for good.

The report said that, with the UK experiencing its worst inflation in 40 years, large brands are often perceived to benefit from inflation, or even drive it. Meanwhile consumers see corporate net margins rise to record highs, creating frustration among the public, leading to an “us versus them” mentality.

It warned: “Most important is to understand the palpable sense of dread consumers are feeling about the future, feeling antagonised by the ‘we’re all in it together’ messaging and triggered by half-hearted price promotions.”

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