Marketers turn to the positive in the US

04 February 2010

NEW YORK: Hyundai, Allstate and Bank of America are all using more positive messages in their advertising in the US, as they seek to prepare for the start of the economic recovery.

Hyundai has previously been lauded for the success of its Assurance Program, which promised that anyone buying or leasing one of its vehicles could return it if they lost their major source of income

Its latest commercial for this on-going initiative emphasises that the financial crisis will only be over when the situation improves for everyone.

Joel Ewanick, vice president, marketing, at the automaker, said "we're saying 'things are better, but not great, so we're going to hold onto this [the Assurance programme] until it's over.'"

Rather than "ignoring the big elephant in the room – there are people still out of work, 10% of Americans are still out of work – we're going to acknowledge it," he added.

The financial sector has found conditions particularly tough in recent times, but "The Great Recovery", a new spot from Allstate, poses the question of how consumers will look back on the recession.

"People are ready to stop being miserable," Mark LaNeve, the Northbrook-based firm's chief marketing officer, suggested.

Having reduced its expenditure on advertising last year, the insurance provider is plotting an "aggressive" push in 2010, particularly in support of its special offers.

Bank of America has similarly begun promoting the services of advisors from Merrill Lynch, in a $20 million (€14.3m; £12.5m) communications drive aimed at high earners.

Meredith Verdone, its svp, brand, advertising and research said "at the height of the crisis there was a lot of press and some consumer questions about stability. Now they're less worried about that and wondering more how they can move ahead." 

General Electric and Levi's are among the other organisations that have adopted this kind of approach, in an effort to differentiate their brands during the recession.

Macy's, the department store chain, has also placed a greater emphasis on its online operations, and tailoring the offerings in its brick-and-mortar stores to the needs of local communities, in the recession.

Martine Reardon, its executive vice president, marketing, said "we are working to more clearly define Macy's value to our customers in a way that isn't focused only on price."

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by Warc staff