I stumbled across "recession washing" as a useful expression in this presentation and thought it captured so much of the advertising bandwagon right now.
Six months ago, I was at a conference on marketing in the credit crunch and several speakers stressed the importance of showing empathy to consumers. Of course, sincerity is crucial too. Empathy without sincerity can do more harm than good.
The last two years, agencies were flooded with "green briefs". Many businesses tasked their agencies to come up with advertising to communicate sustainability (whether or not there was any actual substance there).
This year, it feels like "green briefs" have been replaced with "value briefs."
In their presentation, the agency scenarioDNA ranked a few examples of recession washing and recommended a few tips on what not to do:
- Don't be Mother Theresa. Empower consumers to stand on two feet.
- Don't over-empathize. Respect boundaries. Allow breathing room.
- Don't be overly reactive. Roll with punches but keep on thinking.
- Don't count on loyalty. Be prepared for consumer boot strapping.
- Don't only help when they're down. Always be consistent.
- Don't get stuck in the mud. Be flexible. Help consumers transcend.
- Don't over-promise. Help relearn the ideals of patience.