Levity And A Clear Vision Of The ‘New Normal’ Top What Consumers Want In Brands’ Messaging

Since the onset of the pandemic, the advertising landscape has been beset by messaging from businesses in seemingly every industry, delivering some variety of “we’re all in this together” set to a somber soundtrack. But is this what consumers want? Advertising and media agency Walrus asked more than 1,000 people across the U.S. and found that what most of them wanted was advertising content that was humorous and offered a bit of escapism and presented a clear view of what the “new normal” will look like.

The company’s study found that for 66 percent of people, reading, hearing and thinking about COVID-19 every day, at this point, is exhausting. For one-third of respondents, brands’ current pandemic messaging has grown “boring.” This is perhaps reflected in 65 percent of those surveyed, who say they now have a greater appreciation for brands with simple messaging.

Walrus’ study highlighted the importance of recognizing consumers’ real anxieties—65 percent are worried about being around sick people, 54 percent believe there would be social consequences if they contracted it and 61 percent say that just because people are allowed to go to public places doesn’t mean they should. Its research suggests these anxieties are preventing people from trying new brands—51 percent say that since quarantine began, they prefer to buy brands they’ve used before, versus 39 percent who say they have purchased from new brands.

Escapism has also grown more important. The study found that 68 percent of people say entertainment is a helpful escape, and 69 percent say they are appreciating more of what makes them laugh or smile, while 55 percent say they appreciate brands that make them laugh.

Among 63 percent of respondents was the belief that it would be better if people spent more time considering what the “new normal” will look like. The survey also found 59 percent of people say they appreciate brands that have a unique point of view that is different from other brands.

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