You are on page 1of 16



FALL 2009
After a year spent surveying brand and consumer response to the recession through our, we found that only a handful of the 350 examples we collected across 24
countries truly stood out. Creating innovative work isn’t easy in any economic climate; it’s even
harder when marketing budgets are low and risk aversion is high.

Despite these challenges, some notable responses to the recession emerged this past year. Our
AnxietyIndex Brand Hall of Fame salutes 10 of the best that we’ve seen—those that made us
wish we had done it (and in two cases, we did). Among them are a brand that re-imagined a
product, another that sold hope (literally) and another that leveraged the headlines of the day
through a quick-turnaround campaign.

We believe these will hold up in years to come as case studies of work that transcend typical
approaches to a downturn. Our third AnxietyIndex Quarterly report lists these Top 10 in
ascending order and explains why we think these are stand-out responses to the recession.

About AnxietyIndex Quarterly

During periods of heightened consumer anxiety, brands need real-time data that can help them navigate a
rapidly changing landscape. They need answers to new questions and a point of view on the types of businesses
and business practices that will emerge out of the crisis.
JWT should know. At 145 years old, we have a proven track record of leading brands through pivotal times.
We’ve done this by providing tools to help brands succeed. One such tool is our proprietary AnxietyIndex,
launched during the run-up to the war in Iraq; it tracks the level and drivers of consumer anxiety and explores
how these affect attitudes and behaviors.
Earlier this year, we expanded upon our AnxietyIndex by debuting With daily content
updates and major research and trend reports added frequently, this interactive site is intended as a place to
discover and discuss how brands and consumers are responding to and coping with the global recession.
Last spring we launched our AnxietyIndex Quarterly. This third issue seeks to contextualize the content we have published over the course of the year.



Program: American Express OPEN

Country: U.S.

Why it’s one of the best: Through its OPEN card, American Express positioned itself as an
ally of small-business owners both through word and actions.
Description: In a campaign for its OPEN small-business platform, American Express praised
small-business owners as “the most powerful force in the economy. They drive change. And
they’ll relentlessly push their businesses to innovate and connect.”

While the anthem spot was inspirational, what is truly powerful is the brand’s OPEN Forum,
an online resource and social networking site for small businesses that features a virtual
Rolodex of credentialed businesses, marketing toolkits and an idea hub, among other things.

For the past few months, American Express has been pairing up with other organizations to
support small businesses. Most recently, it linked with NBCU for the “Shine A Light”
competition, in which one small-business owner won $100,000 in grant and marketing support
for his or her company.
Results: saw steady growth in traffic between September 2008 and
September 2009, increasing from 68,005 unique visitors to 355,109. Most of this growth
occurred between July and September this year after the official unveiling of the social
network. During September 2009 alone, Openforum’s unique visitors spiked by nearly 20
percent. The “Shine A Light” competition received 4,000-plus entries.


Program: Lottery

Country: Brazil

Why it’s one of the best: Caixa Econômica Federal reimagined one of its products to
increase consumer confidence in credit during a crisis.
Description: Brazil’s national bank, Caixa Econômica, invested in a promotion inspired by
Brazilians’ faith in the luck of lotteries. Each purchase made with a bank credit card
generated a coupon that could be raffled. The prize? The bank paid the credit card bill. This
meant that the more often consumers spent, the more chances they had to win everything
they’d bought. Betting on a game of faith valued by Brazilians, the bank offered people a
chance to reduce their worries related to credit card bills.


Program: We’re an Employer

Country: Australia

Why it’s one of the best: Woolworths tackled one of the primary sources of anxieties for
Australians head on.
Description: In April, our AnxietyIndex showed that Australians were more pessimistic about
unemployment than a series of other potentially troubling factors, such as cost of living, crime
and the state of the economy. Woolworths addressed those fears directly. As the downturn took
hold in Australia in February, Woolworths Ltd. announced that new store openings and growth
in existing locations would create 7,000 jobs. “We see our role as generating economic activity
and jobs,” CEO Michael Luscombe said in a release accompanying the announcement, noting
that while 43,000 jobs had recently been lost in the retail sector, Woolworths would continue
to hire.

A commercial linked back to this message. It showed a mother going to a job interview with
her son, with the message that “We employ thousands of Australians. And we’re always
looking for more.” Without mentioning the “R” word explicitly, the spot sounded just the right
tone of pragmatic optimism.
Results: Although it shut operations in the U.K., Woolworths is Australia’s largest
supermarket retailer, and in the quarter ending Oct. 4, year-over-year sales for the division
increased by 3.8 percent to $11.5 billion.



Program: Global Downturn

Country: U.K.

Why it’s one of the best: The Financial Times’ novel use of an outdoor medium—billboards
empty because of the recession—tied in perfectly with the newspaper’s message.
Description: The Financial Times took over empty billboard spaces in the U.K. to question the
wisdom of decreasing marketing budgets during hard times. Stickers in the right-hand corners
of the billboards posed questions like “What’s the first mistake businesses make?”—alluding
to studies showing that businesses that increase ad spend during recessions are the ones that
do best afterward. The goal: to encourage brands to advertise in the Financial Times.
Results: The campaign won a gold CLIO Billboard Award.



Program: Store+ The Store That Sells Hope

Country: Portugal

Why it’s one of the best: The Red Cross understood the importance of tapping into the core
value of hope.
Description: Before Christmas last year, as consumers tightened their wallets, the Red Cross
in Portugal decided to sell hope in a literal way. In a popular mall in Lisbon, it opened a store
where little cards promoting “hope” were clipped onto hangers and stocked on shelves, just as
normal goods would be; the cards sold for 10 euros apiece. “Hope” was positioned as a gift
alternative for the holidays, a product that people can’t hold in their hands but can feel
emotionally. Shoppers could get the satisfaction that comes with both a mall transaction and
the act of giving.

Where its messaging could have played on the guilt of previously generous patrons, the Red
Cross spoke in a voice of optimism.
Results: Hundreds of people attended the opening night, and in its first day the store achieved
a place in the mall’s top 10 for sales; the Red Cross extended the store’s hours, as well as its
closing date. And the store not only helped raise immediate funds but boosted awareness for
the Red Cross. The Hope Store won a gold Lion for PR, two silvers for Direct and a silver and
bronze for Promo at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.


Program: Bigwigs: Making Jetting Newsworthy

Country: U.S.

Why it’s one of the best: JetBlue moved quickly to

leverage public sentiment in a timely campaign that
was perfectly aligned with its brand.
Description: As C-suite execs were getting chastised
for their excesses—private jets included—amid bailout
mania, JetBlue turned out its “Bigwigs” campaign,
poking fun at stuffy, stodgy CEOs. It subtly
communicated “more for less” by telling “Bigwigs,
Muckety-Mucks, Private Jetters and Big Cheeses” how
“jetting on JetBlue is a lot like on your private jet,
with a few basic differences.” A section on the airline’s
Web site described features such as lots of leg room,
DirectTV, free snacks and “fares that won’t give the
CFO a conniption.”

Not only did the work fit with JetBlue’s distinctly un-
stuffy, anti-stodgy airline brand, but it was relevant
and timely, and undoubtedly struck a chord with
bailout-weary American taxpayers.
Results: While most airlines were experiencing double-
digit declines, JetBlue recently reported its third
consecutive profitable quarter. And as its rivals laid off
staff and cut flights, JetBlue hired 2,300 workers and
expanded to eight additional cities. The airline looks
likely to move from Fortune’s top 1,000 to the top 500.



Photo: Infrogmation/
Program: Cash for Clunkers

Countries: Germany and the U.S.

Why it’s one of the best: These programs used the recession to achieve a higher goal: to get
more efficient cars on the market. In doing so, they gave a desperately needed boost to the
auto industry.
Description: Germany started its “Cash for Clunkers” campaign in January with the hope
that it would encourage people to buy German-made cars, help the environment and stimulate
the economy. The U.S. government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program in July and August
encouraged Americans to trade in their gas-guzzling clunkers for thousands of dollars off the
price of a new, better-for-the-environment vehicle.
Results: While auto sales surged 21 percent in Germany, buyers tended to choose small and
cheap Hyundais over German-made BMWs or Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Still, the program
helped raise confidence levels in German business, according to an Ifo Institute for Economic
Research report.

In the U.S., the program was so successful that the government ran out of funds for it and
shut it down early. “Cash for Clunkers” stimulated the sale of nearly 700,000 cars; GM and
Ford even announced additional factory shifts to keep up with the demand.

The “Cash for Clunkers” program helped boost consumer spending on durable goods, which
grew by an annual rate of 22.3 percent in the third quarter compared to a decline of 5.6
percent in the previous quarter.


Program: Power of Ideas

Country: India

Why it’s one of the best: Rather than

empathize with anxious consumers, The
Economic Times inspired them.
Description: The Economic Times created
a platform to encourage entrepreneurship
by giving people an opportunity to submit
their business ideas to the financial daily, as
well as receive mentoring and the chance
for funding. Its “Power of Ideas” contest
provided both inspiration and advice for
business development in a recession.

Over the last decade, the spirit of Indian

entrepreneurship has been riding high, and
there is a collective feeling in corporate
India that the country will determinedly
turn the recession into opportunity. Indeed,
while anxiety levels are high in India, our
AnxietyIndex found a great deal of
optimism, both absolute and relative to the
other countries we’ve studied. Research we
conducted in April and May found that
aside from crime and terrorism, Indians
believed that most factors—from the
economy to the cost of living to
unemployment rates—would improve over
the next six months.

Rather than mirror the anxiety of consumers, The Economic Times treated them as hope-
fueled and talked to them accordingly. It helped to feed India’s ambition and optimism.
Results: According to the program’s Web site, more than 12,000 ideas were registered; 254
finalists ultimately went on to be mentored by professionals.


Program: Live NOW, Pay Later

Country: India

Why it’s one of the best: Levi’s came up with a

solution that was revolutionary for the apparel
Description: In India, Levi’s is a premium brand
and the No. 1 denim brand. The brand is hugely
aspirational; making it more accessible and
broadening the user base is the challenge: How
does Levi’s cater to those who aspire to it but
may not be able to afford a purchase? And how
can it do that without discounting the brand or
weakening its premium positioning? Levi’s also
wanted to increase frequency and value of
purchase among existing customers.

In the face of a global recession, these were

particularly challenging goals. Our April-May
AnxietyIndex in India found that when it comes
to saving money, Indians are most likely to
consider reducing purchases of branded apparel;
one-third have contemplated switching apparel
brands in favor of more affordable options. To
counteract these tendencies, Levi’s brought in
new category thinking: It partnered with one of
India’s major banks (HDFC) to offer an EMI
(equal monthly installment) scheme.

JWT wanted to use the creative to keep the brand in the conversation. So the communication
champions a “Live Now” philosophy; the anthem print ad, which brings this to life, takes on
the “un” from the “Live Unbuttoned” global Levi’s campaign.
Results: The program has seen terrific industry and consumer response, and has generated a
lot of PR and buzz. The average bill value has risen by about US$20, and 60 percent of HDFC
credit card users who have recently made a Levi’s purchase have used the EMI scheme.



Program: Hyundai Assurance

Country: U.S.

Why it is the best: Hyundai Motor America was a leader in removing the risk from purchase.
Its Assurance Program inspired myriad brands to follow with their own versions of job-loss
Description: Lose your income, return your car—that’s the assurance the South Korean brand
gave people who financed or leased a new Hyundai in 2009. The deal provided “certainty in
uncertain times,” as the promotional material stated.

With anxiety levels high and the future uncertain, consumers were reluctant to spend in
2009—even if they weren’t directly impacted by the recession. They were especially reluctant
when it came to bigger-ticket items or long-term financial commitments. Hyundai sold peace
of mind by taking some of the risk out of the equation—as did the brands that followed,
including JoS. A. Bank Clothiers and Bigelow Homes in the U.S., Telefónica in Spain, AIG
Israel, Virgin Mobile USA and Ponto Frio in Brazil.
Results: At a time when most major automakers in the U.S. watched sales slide by as much
as 25 to 50 percent, Hyundai Motor Group reports that sales are up 2.6 percent for the
year—in fact, it’s the only automaker to see its U.S. sales rise. Hyundai Motor Group (which
includes the Hyundai and Kia brands) gained 2.2 percentage points of market share this year,
becoming the sixth-largest automaker in the U.S. based on sales volume.


This cross-market look at JWT’s AnxietyIndex compares the levels, intensity and drivers of
anxiety across 11 markets: the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Spain, Australia, Brazil,
Russia, India, China and Japan. It is based on data collected from adults age 18-plus through
online surveys conducted in 2009. Data were weighted by age, gender and household income
based on government population statistics.

Levels of anxiety vary significantly across the 11 markets we’ve surveyed, ranging from a low
of 35 percent in China to a high of 90 percent in Japan. (See Figure 1.) While overall anxiety
levels remain generally high, they are starting to abate across the markets we regularly track:
In the U.S., the anxiety level dropped from a high of 82 percent in November 2008 to 72
percent in September; in the U.K., it shrunk from a high of 74 percent in March to 65 percent
in September; in Canada and Australia, it fell from 71 percent in December 2008 to 55
percent and 59 percent, respectively, in September.

Figure 1: Levels of anxiety

Overall, given everything that is going on in the world, the country, and your family’s life, how
nervous or anxious would you say you currently are?

% Nervous/Anxious % Not Nervous/Anxious

10 16
26 28 30
80 34 35 41
70 58 65
90 84
40 74 72 70
66 65
30 59 55
20 42 35
Japan Russia India U.S. Spain Brazil U.K. Australia Canada France China
Nervous/Anxious February-March 2009 Not Nervous/Anxious February-March 2009


While Japan is the most anxious market, Russia records the most intense anxiety, with 38
percent of respondents saying they feel very nervous/anxious. (See Figure 2.) Again, the
intensity of anxiety has been diminishing in the markets we survey on a regular basis: In the
U.S., the percentage of respondents reporting intense anxiety fell from 25 percent in early
November 2008 to 16 percent in September; in the U.K., from 16 percent in March to 9
percent in September; and in Canada, from a high of 17 percent to 8 percent in September.

Figure 2: Intensity of anxiety

Overall, given everything that is going on in the world, the country, and your family’s life, how
nervous or anxious would you say you currently are?

% Very Nervous/Anxious

40 38
20 18
12 10
9 8 8
Russia India Japan Brazil U.S. Spain France U.K. Australia Canada China


Not surprisingly, the economy is the primary driver of anxiety in most markets. (See Figure 3.)
In the U.S., the U.K. and Spain, the primary drivers of anxiety are the economy and the cost
of living. The same is true for Russia, Japan and India, although it’s more exaggerated in those
markets. Also driving anxiety in Japan is the cost of health care, crime and political
leadership. Indians are worried about those factors, as well as crime, the threat of terrorism
and current military hostilities. Brazilians are concerned about the cost of health care and
crime. Relative to the average of the 11 countries we’ve surveyed, the drivers of anxiety in
Canada, France, Australia and China are muted.

Figure 3: Drivers of anxiety

Events in your life, in the country and in the world can make people nervous or anxious. For
each of the following, please indicate how nervous or anxious you currently are, or not.
Political Leadership U.K.
1400 Canada
Brazil France*

Threat of 1200 Leadership

Political State of U.K. Russia
1400 Spain Japan*
Terrorism Economy
1000 France* China**
Threat of 1200 State of
Russia India*
800 Japan*
Terrorism Economy Australia
1000 China**
800 Australia
Cost of
Military 400
Potential Health Care ***
Hostilities Cost of
Military 200
0 Health Care

Current Cost of
Current Cost of
Military Living

Crime Job
Crime JobSecurity

AnxietyIndex: % who are nervous or anxious/% who are not

*Potential military hostilities not measured in France, Japan or India.
**Political leadership, threat of terrorism, and potential and current military hostilities not measured in China.
***Quality of health care measured in Canada and France instead of cost of health care.


In terms of specific drivers of anxiety, unemployment is heavily cited across a number of
nations, including the U.S., Brazil, Spain, Japan and India. The U.S. is also worried about the
government’s budget deficit, as is the U.K. Food prices are causing anxiety for Brazilians,
Indians and Russians. Russians are also worried about the safety of the food supply, while
Brazilians are also concerned about the impact of global warming. India is worried about a
host of issues, including the impact of global warming, natural disasters, the national
infrastructure, the stock market, gas/petrol prices, the housing market and the war in Iraq. The
same applies for Japan, which is concerned about the impact of global warming, natural
disasters and the quality of products imported from China. Australians are worried about gas
prices. Compared to the average of the markets we’ve surveyed, Canada, France and China are
fairly calm about these factors.

Figure 4: Specific drivers of anxiety

Events in your life, in the country and in the world can make people nervous or anxious. For
each of the following, please indicate how nervous or anxious you currently are, or not.

The war in Iraq
Impact of global warming 1000 The war in Afghanistan France*
800 Japan*
The housing market India*
Natural disasters 600 Australia

Safety of the food Gasoline/Petrol prices


Quality of products Food prices

imported from China

The government’s
budget deficit Unemployment rates

The state of the national

Bank failures
The stock market

AnxietyIndex: % who are nervous or anxious/% who are not

*Bank failures, government’s budget deficit, safety of food supply and
the war in Afghanistan not measured in Japan or India.
**Bank failures, government’s budget deficit, quality of products imported from China, safety
of food supply, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan not measured in China.


466 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017

For AnxietyIndex inquiries, please contact Ann Mack (, 212-210-7378).

For press inquiries, please contact Erin Johnson (, 212-210-7243).