Posts tagged ‘economy’
It appears that a depressed economy results in (sometimes misleadingly) uplifting marketing and content.
Marley and Me (major spoiler follows), about an uncontrollable Labrador and his hapless owners has cleaned up at the US and UK box office. It was marketed as a lightweight comedy, but I saw it over the weekend and it seems they forgot to mention that the dog dies at the end. The cinema was packed with people obviously wanting to see something cheerful – but they actually started to walk out when it became clear that the doggy wasn’t going to make it. I stayed ‘til the bitter end and cried…
first direct (who are a client of OnVisible, work’s online PR division) are launching a social media campaign about the little things that make a big difference to someone’s day, which looks like it’s going to focus heavily on making people happy.
Its seems that consumers are really responding to anything uplifting. Maybe the best opportunity for brands to engage at the moment is to offer a ray of sunshine amidst the economic gloom.
So, the economy is in free fall and we’re all doomed. Right?
The quallies at work have been doing a lot of focus groups with Credit Crunched Mums recently. Apparently yes, Mums are being careful and trying to be more frugal – but a lot of them are doing so not because they are very worried about their finances right now, but because they think things are going to get worse before they get better.
I think we might be talking ourselves into making the economic situation worse. The media isn’t exactly helping, a quick dig round nexis revealed dozens of recent case study stories about families who were cutting back and lots of first-person pieces by jounros describing how they were economising madly, but nothing suggesting that just maybe, a few people were actually carrying on pretty much as normal.
It’s admirable if someone decides to live more frugally now in order to try and safeguard their immediate future. But with every scare-monger story the media puts out, perhaps it has got to a point where people are taking more severe steps then they really need to, in turn bringing about the next step of the downturn they were trying to protect themselves against in the first place…
We are officially in recession, the economy is nose diving and there’s no question that clients have got less money to spend. Unless you happen to work in Digital (where every agency I know is still turning work away because they’re too busy), it’s looking a bit bleak.
I’ve already written about how as Planners we need to demonstrate our own effectiveness, both externally and internally, but maybe it’s becoming more about redefining the role of Planning itself in light of the new realities.
I’m getting quite evangelical about a greater role for Planning at the NPD stage (and fortunately my agency agrees with me) and from a purely practical point of view, involving Planning at this early stage can make the NPD research work harder and reduce the need for costly additional research and retro fit planning further down the line at the comms stage.
The value of Planning can also be defined in terms of the agency’s bottom line. Good planning advice and involvement upfront in campaign development (advising that those three briefs are actually two, tightening up propositions, giving the account director ammunition to deflect the client’s madder ideas, even on accounts which don’t have a regular Planner assigned to them), results in less creative resource being required, which saves agencies money.
So think about it, how are you saving your clients and your agency money?
I am loving these posters-for-our-times from the team at LOVE.
Good advice for the Planning community:
And also for Creative types:
I’ve got an in-tray full of Pending Pitch Outcomes. There’s everything in there, from £M+ integrated bonanzas to consultancy projects and startups.
But none of them have been signed off. In every instance we’re the agency of choice, or are down to the final two, but the client has delayed their actual decision to appoint – in some cases for several months now.
It’s a bit disheartening when you (and a large chunk of agency resource) throw yourself into a full blown pitch, confident that the client has promised to make their decision within a few days of your presentation, only to be kept waiting…and waiting…
I’m doing all the usual keeping-front-of-mind proactive measures but it seems that the dire economic conditions are making senior management extremely reluctant to sign off any new marketing spend or to commit themselves to anything that doesn’t have an immediate and totally measurable ROI (hello, online media chaps).
Pitching in itself isn’t exactly a cheap way of winning business. But the Tender Queens tell me they’re experiencing similar problems and it’s not just my agency, it seems to be pretty much across the board. So I guess we’ll all just have to keep keeping our fingers crossed.
Sorry to keep banging on about this (now apparently official) recession. But a few things cropped up over the weekend that I thought were worth sharing.
On the downside, over the last couple of days I’ve had reports of a restaurant where the takings are down 20% year on year, the hairdresser whose customers have added an extra week between haircuts and the beautician where you can now get a much coveted after-work appointment on two days notice.
On a more positive note, both freelance and agency mates are reporting unexpected work landing in their laps – from out-of-the-blue new clients to projects that had previously been written off as in Development Hell suddenly springing to life. I can only hypothesise that clients are so scared of having their marketing budgets slashed that they’re spending it while they’ve still got it?
I’m sure you’ve all read the ‘upsurge in sales for shoe repairers’ stories in the news suggesting that some sectors of the economy actually benefit from a downturn, in this case as people get their shoes repaired rather than splashing out on a new pair.
There was also an interesting piece in the New York Times as long ago as May of this year hypothesising that lipstick sales are a way to gauge the state of the economy, with the chairman of Estee Lauder commenting ‘When it’s shaky, sales increase as women boost their mood with inexpensive lipstick purchases instead of $500 slingbacks’.
I think you could add rising sales of other consumer goods as economic indicators too. Like ties – men might not be able to afford a new suit, but can still stretch to a new tie. Or an rise in cushion and throw sales set against falling sofa purchases.
So I suppose you’d better tell your New Business team to go after cosmetics, soft furnishings and erm, tie brands then.