Britons are more worried about the cost of living than the threat of terrorism, crime or
global warming, according to the second annual ‘Mood of Britain’ survey from advertising agency McCann Erickson.
Some 62 per cent of people are frustrated at the increased cost of living, the survey of 1,000 people found. And while in 2007, the main subjects invoking the ire of Britons were immigration and race relations, crime and terrorism, these have now all been overshadowed by fears of an economic downturn.
McCann Erickson found a nation even more discontent than 12 months previously, as the credit crunch is affecting British consumers irrespective of wealth and age.
Uncertainty surrounding the economic forecast for the UK is also having a detrimental effect n the mood of the nation.
If the economy is the topic of 2008, uncertainty is the theme. When asked to choose
adjectives that described the current mood of Britain, 60% chose uncertain, up from 47%
Some 31% of people described Gordon Brown as making Britain angry in 2008, whilst just 3% described themselves as being happy with a new Prime Minister.
Worryingly for him, it is amongst the elderly that he has caused the most resentment, with 47% of people aged 65+ naming him as a source of anger.
Anger generated by terrorism fell sharply (from 49% to 34%), seemingly indicating that the danger of an act of terrorism has fallen, as well as the realisation that the effect of a terrorist act does not live long in people’s daily consciousness.
Levels of irritation about environmental issues fell from 27% to 21%. Worry about the economic situation has signified a reshuffle of consumers’ priorities with green issues, as one respondent asserted, “going on the back burner this year.”
Whilst anger at crime levels has only increased by 2% across all age groups, it rose from 28% to 39% amongst 18-24 year olds..
Discontent surrounding immigration/race relations remain relatively static (58% to 59%),but would be the top concern if it were not for the increase in anger regarding the
Continued disgruntlement surrounding the subject stems from the feeling that minorities are pandered to, although much of the anger comes from regret at the lack of genuine integration.
The proportion of people choosing negative adjectives rose sharply in 2008. In addition to ‘uncertain’, ‘disappointed’, ‘confused’, ‘angry’, ‘apathetic’ and ‘controlled’ all found
greater resonance with Britons this year.
In 2007, McCann Erickson coined the term ‘arking’ after observing that, whilst Britons found the bigger picture quite daunting, the smaller things – the things in their personal ‘arks’, such as family, friends and treasured objects – were pretty good.
As the bigger picture becomes more uncertain, so consumers are withdrawing to the sanctuary of their own personal havens – their arks. However, 2008 has seen one significant change to the arking concept.
“If in 2007 arks protected consumers, now consumers must protect their arks from the economic onslaught. Brands helping consumers defend their arks will come to be increasingly valued,” said Chief Strategic Officer at McCann Erickson, Nikki Crumpton.
In the current climate, the tone of communications will need to be reassessed in light of the gloomy mindset of Britons. Brands that eschew a frivolous approach in favour of a more reassuring, helpful tone look set to prosper as consumers seek to feel more at ease with the world around them.
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