As 2009 begins to unfold we find ourselves in the midst of strange times. The biggest blackest cloud of gloom, doom and mayhem is the GFC in tandem with Gaza madness and of course terrible events in the Congo which has been muscled off the front pages. Water is running out, fossil fuels are heading south, business and consumer confidence has and is taking a massive hit but the sun is shining (too much?) and Australia has scraped a victory in the third test with ten balls to go.
In the midst of this the ads on TV are urging us to jump on the bargain of all time…a new car…whilst stocks last (wotevr), buy weight ‘loss’ pre packed meals (numbered, by day, for the entire week!) and try the new double quarter pounder challenge of stuffing your face. Are we so morally isolated to believe that any of these options is a good idea? Buy a bike, avoid fast food and the weight loss will result.
It’s as though everything that is happening in the world is happening in a parallel universe and in the ‘consumer-universe’ everything is normal….so buy cars, eat fast food, spend on weight loss meals, buy cheap jewelry…spend spend spend.
I understand the need for brands to be seen to stand tall and strong in the face of adversity but a little more empathy might go a long way right about now. All the car manufacturers are ‘struggling’ GM most appear to be on the edge of the cliff but the current Holden ads do make some effort to empathise with their line “Holdens are tough but Australians are tougher”…it made me cringe when i first heard it but on reflection it does acknowledge tougher times.
Many marketing budgets will be cut as the months unfold but rather than continue with a ‘straight bat’ as though nothing is happening seize the opportunity to connect with the current sentiment…it will make those precious dollars work harder.