With the economic downturn hurting retail sales, advertisers are trying a new technique to get people to spend their precious dollars on their products: compassion. It’s not working for us, and we’re not even in that dire of financial straits, but maybe we’re just cheap.
LA Times: Tough economic times are making new cars, clothing and electronics a tough sell. So corporate marketers are trying a new message: We feel your pain…
With October retail sales the slowest since 1971 and automakers posting huge third-quarter losses, companies across the country are struggling to persuade consumers to buy their goods and services…
The best way to persuade them to buy, advertisers say, is to emphasise value. Consumers are looking for long-lasting products that are good for the environment and are worth every penny, even if they cost a little more than competing items. They also want to cut back on waste and spend smartly. A new crop of ads is speaking to these concerns…
Madison Avenue is sure to shift even more heavily in this direction because it takes weeks or months to produce a television ad and get it on the air. Some current ads hark back to days when value was only a small part of the equation.
The LAT offers more examples of thrift-focused ads and the companies behind them explaining why they feel consumers’ pain. Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, the NYT noticed the same trend.
NY Times: As the economy rapidly deteriorates from flourishing to floundering, marketers are scrambling to remake their advertising so products seem affordable and sensible rather than indulgent and fabulous. For many big marketers, including automakers, retailers, consumer product companies and even financial services, a major shift in consumer psychology spells an end to the aspirational advertising that has dominated their campaigns for the last decade.
There is a sense that expensive purchases — even if consumers can afford them — have become gauche, said Stephen J. Hoch, professor of marketing and director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“At times like this, you don’t want to be as conspicuous,” Mr. Hoch said. “It’s really rude.”
That is true. It is rude to shop when others are struggling.
The trend toward frugality is sweeping along even wealthier Americans, or those Americans who still consider themselves wealthy after the last few months.
The well-to-do are “making lists, they’re planning, they’re comparison shopping, they’re starting to think more strategically,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, a market research company in Stevens, Pa.
Even so, she added, “many are simply staying out of the stores.”
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