Gloom Rages

Downturn trends get noticed

Colm Carey

The recession has spawned a new growth industry in the form of recession research. Everywhere we look we trip over a report providing insight into how people are responding to the new world order. One report comes to us courtesy of DDFH&B.

Colette Henry, the agency's senior strategic planner ran ‘Recession Sessions' with consumers aged between 16 and 69. A problem shared is a problem halved, in which case we assume the participants went away half as depressed as when they started.

A quick trot through DD's report indicates that teenagers are upset because their pocket money is being rationed and parents are nagging them to turn out the lights. The 20-somethings, who had expected to inherit the earth, are feeling hard done by due to a lack of instant jobs and having to drink Dutch Gold. Diddums!

Moving to the 30-somethings reveals even further gloom. The rush to get into property has turned out to be more of a noose around the neck than a ladder to prosperity. The first bit of good news comes from those in their smug 40s.

The 40somethings are battening down the hatches and counting their lucky stars as their wave hit the shore before the economy hit the rocks. Those in their swinging 50s are worried about their graduate kids. What about the 60-somethings?

Despite fears for their pension funds, at least they have the comfort of having survived it all before and the satisfaction of saying “we told you so” to the bright young things who spent the last 15 years slagging them off and blinding them with bling.

The folks in Cawley Nea\TBWA and OMD have also been getting down with the young ones. Their Amarach-led study indicates that 60 per cent of 18-29s are staying in more and that 43 per cent of them are drinking at home more often.

The recession is driving the youth to drink and presumably their parents too who have to put up with them lounging about the house with their mates and crying into their cans. More than a third of these youths are spending more time with the family compared to this time last year. This probably accounts for the growth in counselling and psychotherapy being experienced by practitioners of these mysterious arts.

Finally, the report revealed that “…youth audiences want brands that reinforce their perspective on life but are responsive to the market conditions and tightening spends they are faced with.” Two pints of (cheap) lager and packet of (value) crisps please.

The survey by Eulogy! was aimed at drawing attention to new links between Adrian Brady's London PR agency and RP1 in Brazil. From 1,800 interviews, the Brady bunch wanted to show what comes to mind for Irish people when Brazil is mentioned.

Gisele Bundchen


Brazil supermodel Gisele Bundchen is the world's top supermodel and earned $35 million last year. Despite Bundchen's work for Apple Mac, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, D&G, Victoria's Secrets and C&A, she didn't score highly with Irish people. Coffee, nuts and even F1 driver Felipe Massa were better recognisedexports.

Brazil is one of the world's fastest-growing economies and along with Russia, India and China, forms the BRIC countries said to overtake the five biggest economies by 2050. It's a nation with more to offer than models, beaches, carnival and caipirinhas.

So would it be footie, scantily clad dancers or nuts? Well, Pele (or Edson Arantes do Nascimento to his nearest and dearest) and the beautiful game (59 per cent) couldn't match coffee (76 per cent), Brazil nuts (51 per cent) or F1 driver Felipe Massa.

So while Irish people have the hots for Brazilian coffee beans with a 76 per cent vote, stunning model Gisele Bundchen could only muster a ten point rating. Now there's evidence that Specsavers and other opticians are destined to survive the recession.

Meanwhile, a report in Esomar's Research World reveals that the search for value among Mexican consumers has led to a resurgence of local Mom and Pop stores as people revert to shopping several times a week rather than having a single blow out in a major supermarket. Entrepreneurial Mexicans are opening small food stores in their garages and front rooms to make hay despite the lack of economic sunshine.

Colm Carey ( is managing director of The Research Centre.

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