When asked, “Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in what ways do you think it is appropriate for companies and brands to respond?” an IPA survey found that Brits overwhelmingly thought that business had a role to play.
There were surprising generational differences, with older respondents significantly more in favour of penalising Russia than younger ones: 81% of over 55s want brands to stop doing business with Russia, compared to just 33% of 18-34s.
The push for purpose seems to have impacted consumer expectations of brands, with 30% wanting them to speak publicly about their positions, and 31% wanting them to help tackle wider disinformation surrounding the conflict. Fifteen percent even want to see brands address the crisis in their ads, and 22% want them to use the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of solidarity.
Paul Bainsfair, director general of the IPA, said: “The war in Ukraine is deeply shocking and upsetting. But it is hard to know how we can or should respond in the most helpful and genuine way. This survey provides a useful snapshot of the response that consumers are looking to brands to provide and some interesting findings regarding the difference in strength of sentiment between the generations.”
The generational disparity is very marked, which is puzzling given the assumption that it’s young people who care most about the state of the world. Even when asked about fossil fuels, only 24% of 18-34s want brands to lessen their dependence, compared to 36% for 35-54s and 39% for over 55s.