IPA survey suggests consumers have lost their sense of humour in the cost of living crisis

As we gear up for all the Christmas campaign launches, consumers don’t want brands to entertain or engage with them – they just want fair prices, according to the IPA’s latest cost of living crisis survey.

But what else can agencies do when faced with a festive ad brief? No one is going to object to a good Christmas ad, as long as it’s not tone-deaf. Customers may applaud John Lewis’s decision to cut back on marketing spend in favour of free staff meals, but they will still be expecting an ad that matches up to its usual high standards.

When asked what they would most like brands to do to support them, only 4% of consumers said they are looking for a laugh, and only 8% want “new solutions and ideas” which is slightly fewer than when they were asked the same question in May.

In store, though, consumers will be watching prices more keenly. The IPA respondents want brands to keep prices fair (60%); put a freeze on prices for value range products or services (44%); and reward customer loyalty (32%). All these figures are up on the May responses.

Paul Bainsfair, director general, IPA, said: “It is no wonder that as the cost of living crisis really takes hold, consumers are continuing to look to brands to keep their pricing fair. While stretched themselves, brands must ensure they assess their pricing and subsequent marketing strategies accordingly, particularly when engaging with their female and older audiences for whom this need is even more pronounced.”

Agency creatives have an opportunity to hit the mark, as W+K has already shown in its very humorous ad for TK Maxx.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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