Major industries are taking notice of the “mindful consumer.” Now some businesses are trying to prove that they can be mindful too.
A report by Benoît Tranzer, managing director of branding giant Millward Brown, says the post-recession consumer has abandoned rampant consumerism, possibly for good. They want to shop carefully—mindfully, even—and advertisers are looking for ways to appeal to them.
Tranzer maintains that the mindful consumer is doing more with less, turning away from expensive brand names, spending less on luxuries and buying closer to the heart. While the old consumer wanted instant gratification, the mindful consumer considers local community, moral responsibility and the environment.
Companies whose principal concern used to be selling as much product as possible are suddenly seeking to prove they have a heart, outdoing each other in their efforts to be mindful. Pepsi recently launched a “Do Good for the Gulf,” campaign, inviting the public to submit ideas that could help U.S. states affected by the BP oil disaster. In France, McDonalds launched a “Come As You Are Campaign,” inviting people to come, relax and be themselves. Unilever’s Dove brand of soap is taking aim at typical media depictions of beauty through their “Campaign For Real Beauty.”
This mindful approach to advertising is the result of a recession, political instability and the threats to the environment. But is there a meaningful upside? Will the world be done some good? Tranzer seems to think so. “I expect mindful consumption to eventually affect all global markets,” he writes. “It represents more than just a response to the present crisis. It is a response to the idea that happiness can be purchased. As mindful consumers, people are increasingly challenging this assumption.”