Marketing Trends & Insights: November 2023

Updated on
April 14, 2024

This month, we're diving deeper into:
1. Macroeconomic Impacts
2. Brands Leaning into Stability During Economic Uncertainty
3. A New Age of Shopper Marketing

Companies and industries are still bracing for an economic downturn to come at some point. These are a few of the key datapoints we've seen:

  • Inflation is slowing down but is still high and unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings have risen by 61% this year and small business filings have gone up 41%.
  • Consumer credit card debt is over $1 trillion, with 61% of consumers living paycheck to paycheck—and paying off that debt is getting harder with inflation.
  • Student loan payments are starting back up, coinciding with holiday shopping and adding to the strain on consumers’ budgets.
  • Many companies are continuing to lay off employees (Nielsen, Roku, T-Mobile, Salesforce, and CVS have recently made cuts to their workforces).

Organized retail theft is affecting retailers nationwide.

  • Target closed down 9 of their locations due to an increase in theft and violent incidents. Walmart shuttered 4 of their stores.
  • H&M and Zara are working on creating more effective anti-shoplifting systems—including replacing security tags with RFID chips.

Some brands are celebrating calm and predictability amid ongoing economic uncertainty. Here are a few examples:

  • Ore Ida’s first ad campaign in 5 years spotlights their products as “deliciously predictable.” As the next Kraft Heinz brand to be refreshed this year, Ore Ida’s messaging focuses on comfort and value—which matches the emphasis of their sibling brands, like Kraft Mac and cheese.
  • Fruit of the Loom is leaning into nostalgia and bringing back their 70s “fruit guys” mascots for a digital-first campaign. Though people have been asking about the mascots for the last decade in focus groups, the company wanted to bring them back in a way that would intentionally connect with the next generation.
  • Domino’s launched an “Emergency Pizza” campaign that gives rewards members a free medium pizza. Their Senior VP and Chief Brand Officer said, “Why did we launch Domino’s Emergency Pizza? With so much uncertainty in everyday life, we believe everyone needs a pizza pick-me-up at some point!” (-Kate Trumbull)
  • The latest installment in Lego’s “Find Your Flow” campaign includes a film with a custom “Rhythm & Bricks” soundtrack and a takeover of the Lofi Girl channel on YouTube. The goal of these ads is to show adults how building with Legos can help them de-stress.
  • Blockbuster is proud to announce that they outlasted Netflix in the DVD business in their most recent ads. They’re keeping their brand (and single remaining store) alive with the apt tagline “’Til the Bitter End.”
  • Filmsupply’s 80s-style campaign asks “Why fly when you can Filmsupply?” With their anti-travel themed ads, they want to highlight that their product is less expensive than in-person production shoots that come with the potential for flight cancellations, extra fees, and unpredictable weather.  
  • LG is embracing optimism in their “Good Life” campaign. Their campaign is rooted in the insight that a lot less people consider themselves optimists nowadays. Their new spot ends with the quote, “Optimism is a hard things to choose. But once you do, you’ll see why life’s good.”

Shopper marketing (think: in-store signage, product sampling, displays) has been around since the 50s, but it’s not often the first thing marketers think of in the digital age.

  • Certain buying experiences (like grocery) are still primarily in-store, partially due to inflation and rising delivery costs.
  • Place-based media is highly contextual and relevant.
  • It’s no longer a matter of digital OR in-store.
  • Thanks to third-party measurement data, place-based media is no longer just an awareness play.
  • Typically shopper marketing put the product at the center, but now it puts the consumer at the center.

By the numbers:

  • In-store audiences are 70% larger than digital retail media audiences.
  • 81% of GSTV viewers spend more money on a day they see a GSTV ad—typically within 3 hours after fueling.
  • Dole recently saw an 8.5% increase in category share after placing a DOOH ad outside of grocery stores.


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