IPA leadership needs to be more than ‘mindful’ as cost of living crisis worsens

Research often tells us something we know already and the IPA’s latest TouchPoints survey of 3,000 consumers does just this: nearly half the country is struggling to cope with the current cost of living crisis (40%) with people hunting “bargains” and special deals.

The position of mortgage holders will become even worse as the floundering Bank Of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (composed these days chiefly of ex-Treasury wonks and refugees from the big US investment banks) hikes interest rates yet again. Inflation is seemingly stuck on 8.7%.

Brands and agencies are like rabbits caught in the headlights. Many brands, particularly US-based ones where inflation is lower, have taken advantage of inflation to hike their global prices. Supermarkets in the UK have vociferously defended their price rises even though, surprise, surprise, they have recently reduced (some of) them as their antics have been referred to the Consumer Markets Authority (CMA.)

Agencies, which are supposed to advise such clients against trashing their reputation, have done sweet FA.

So what does agency trade body the IPA say?

Here’s Josh Krichefski (above), IPA president and CEO, EMEA & UK, GroupM:

“There can be a danger when looking at data points that we look at the numbers but don’t fully appreciate the people and the story behind them. And this is where the TouchPoints data plays a crucial role. We can see from the latest TouchPoints data the significant impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumers’ lives.

“As financial burdens increase, halting both our short and longer-terms plans, it is imperative that brands and their agencies are mindful of these challenges and work to understand the role we can play in helping to add value to consumers’ lives at this tough time.”

“Mindful” means being conscious or aware of something. You’d have to be living down a rabbit hole not to be aware of this particularly crisis. Hardly a ringing call to action for brands to pull their socks up.

Krichefski and his colleagues should be telling their clients to stop ripping off customers. Maybe even resigning accounts that do. As it is, they seem happy to keep kicking the can down the road, concentrating on income streams like CX (customer experience), another marketing activity enthusiastically plumbing new depths.

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