Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Launch of Unstereotype Alliance set to eradicate outdated stereotypes in advertising - some but not all

You have to smile when you read the press release from Unilever explaining how it and the other companies in the Unstereotype Alliance (who thought of that name) are going to (in its own words)

The Unstereotype Alliance co-convened by UN Women and Unilever for the first time in Cannes, aims to tackle how the industry can affect positive cultural change by using the power of advertising to help shape perceptions that reflect realistic, non-biased portrayals of women and men.

Now call me a cynic, and lots of people do, but this reeks of group virtue signalling.

Firstly, using stereotypes in advertising is bad advertising. So what are these companies saying 'Our ads have been crap and we are going to change them now we realise that marketing by stereotypes is bad business'?

Secondly, why stop at gender stereotypes? I can think of a lot of others, starting with the way older people are represented.

Sorry guys, I don't buy the story. Dick Stroud

Monday, August 21, 2017

Renting not buying will result in widespread and unexpected changes

Pew Research recently published research about the trend in the US to rent not buy a property. For the US read what is happening in Europe.

As you can see their is a slow structural change to the fabric of home ownership in the US that is effecting all ages.

This set me thinking about industries will be changed by this development. I am sure I have missed out many of them:

Realtors / Estate agents
DIY products and retailers
Property services
Home furnishing
Financial Services
The change might not result in an absolute loss of revenue but it will change where that revenue is generated. As can be seen, the move from buy to rent is not limited to young people. Dick Stroud

Bet you have never heard of the Local Consumer Commerce (LCC) Index. It is going down and that is worrying.

I have never heard of the Local Consumer Commerce (LCC) index. It is created from over 19 billion  credit and debit card transactions from over 59 million consumers in 15 major metropolitan areas in the US.

The index captures year-over-year growth in everyday spending across a range of consumer and merchant groups. The transaction-level data includes the zip codes of both the consumer and merchant so that it can identify local, place-based spending growth (i.e. how much money people are spending within their city of residence).

You can read about the index and see a larger version of the graphic on the J P Morgan web site.

The bottom line of this analysis shows:

Spending growth among consumers 55 and older declined 4.9 percentage points between December 2013 and December 2016.

Restaurant spending growth by consumers 55 and older declined by 8.8 percentage points over the same period.

Growth in spending on other services by consumers 55 and older also declined by 7.2 percentage points.

Why is this happening? My first thought was that older consumer are travelling further afield to spend their money (that might be true). Then I thought that more spend was online, but if this is the case then it would be reflected in all ages.

Another explanation, and one that I think is the most likely, is that older consumers are feeling the financial pinch far more than we realise. The book by Elizabeth White 'Unemployed, over 55 and faking normal' describes this phenomena.

In case you didn't notice, the figures refer to the change in the rate of growth, not the absolute level of growth. Dick Stroud