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How Brands are Banking on Comfort During Emotional Fatigue

After clinging to messages of hope and unity during the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers are now selling comfort, instead of emotion, to reach consumers.

Revolution Digital  |  July 21, 2020
How Brands are Banking on Comfort During Emotional Fatigue

We all search for comfort on a daily basis. And in trying times, like now, comfort and the feeling of safety have become even more significant. At first, we clung on to passionate messages of unity and hope, but with emotional fatigue beginning to take its toll on consumers, brands are pivoting to promote messages of comfort instead. In return, they’re hoping to connect with an audience that’s feeling emotionally drained by giving them something to finally smile about.

Sales of “Comfort Food” Skyrocket
It’s no surprise that the pandemic has shifted the way our world is functioning, and the same applies to how people are consuming food. In the past few months, sales of comfort foods like pizza and hot dogs, have skyrocketed. Aside from evoking feelings of nostalgia, comfort foods have become a survival tactic; they’re typically affordable, non-perishable and quick to prepare, making them every quarantined parent’s ideal meal.

Families Crave “Feel Good” Meals
During a time when we’ve had to limit social interaction and post up in our homes, brands are hoping to give consumers a little something to take comfort in. So, Campbell’s Soup, the brand that’s known for giving us the warm fuzzies, significantly increased their ad spend and created “custom content and Instagram Stories about how meals at home can bring people together during divisive times.” A big bowl of happy is comin’ right up.

A Captive Audience for Comforting Entertainment
The desire for escape and distraction has likely never been stronger. So, when it comes to media consumption, there’s now an effort to provide fans with content that feeds that longing, from TikTok to TV. During the pandemic, “Disney+ use went up, even among non-parents and young adults. From that information, you can surmise that people want comforting entertainment with stories of good triumphing.” Now, go watch Frozen 2 for the tenth time.

Product-Focused Ads Generate Positivity
If you’ve seen one pandemic-related ad, you’ve seen them all. At first, it was nice. Now, consumers are looking for ads that evoke a sense of normalcy. For that reason, ads for products that can improve domestic life, from food to tools for cleaning up, are generating a strong positive response. Idaho Potato’s “Side Dish” commercial, which ranked high among consumers, incorporates a folksy narration, a big truck, a down-to-earth farmer and a dog to deepen a connection with America’s heartland.

Retail Therapy Takes on New Meaning
There’s something therapeutic about online shopping. In times of economic uncertainty (ironically) and societal unrest, people find a sense of comfort and joy in buying things. Knowing this, retailers are taking measures to make shopping more comfortable for consumers and to help reduce post-purchase remorse. Big Lots, for example, collaborated with Instacart to keep consumers feeling safe and comfortable at home, while still allowing them to purchase what they need.

At Revolution Digital, we work with a variety of strategists for everything from audience insights to creative copy, to craft the most meaningful, impactful messages for all of our brands. Our insights team is built to inform and educate our clients about shifts in consumer sentiment and behaviors in order to pivot and plan accordingly. Interested in hearing more? Visit us online where you can contact us, browse our services, or ask our team a question about your brand!

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