Inflation is affecting everyone. However, you'll also find its presence in a place you would have never thought.
Everyone is feeling the effects of inflation. Prices for everything have skyrocketed and it has taken a big toll on the budgets of many. The effects of this can be seen in obvious places like in your bank account and on the receipts you accumulate from store purchases. However, the effects of inflation are visible in one unlikely spot, too. Inflation has infiltrated TV advertisements.
Companies have begun to use inflation to their advantage. The Wall Street Journal documented numerous examples of how companies are leveraging the effects of inflation to draw in customers. And this is most evident in the adverts they push out to the public via television and other mediums. For instance, Walmart’s current ad comes with the message that “Consumers are getting squeezed, but Walmart is keeping prices low.”
Another creative example can be seen in an ad Mint Mobile put out featuring Ryan Reynolds. In the ad, Reynolds highlights that Mint Mobile is keeping its prices low and coyly pokes fun at big carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. “When they announced they’d be raising prices due to inflation, we decided to deflate our prices due to not hating you,” says Reynolds in the advert. Both the Walmart and Mint Mobile ads spin inflation’s harrowing effects and use it to their advantage in an effort to convince customers they have their best interests at heart at a time when their wallets have vices around them. You can watch Ryan Reynolds in the Mint Mobile ad below.
Paul English, Ogilvy Consulting’s managing director, explained that companies are recognizing that in order to get their products sold they have to offer incentives that customers can immediately see the value in. “For example, if you sell hot dogs, don’t give me a 2-for-1 offer for 12 hot dogs. Help me take my kid to the ballgame I can’t afford anymore,” highlighted English. Bojangles, for instance, ran a promotion that gave customers a gift card for gasoline if they purchased one of the chain’s 12 or 20-piece family combos.
Furthermore, travel companies are also using the effects that inflation is having on other sectors of the industry to their advantage. Outdoorsy, a company that offers RV rentals, shifted its marketing campaign to reflect how much travelers can save by choosing to vacation in an RV. Their marketing highlights how with an RV one does not have to pay for airfare or lodging. This tactic is particularly insightful given the state of the airline industry at present. Not only has airfare surged to unfathomable heights, but airlines are having immense difficulty dealing with the massive surge in the number of people wishing to travel.
Ultimately, inflation’s presence in ads is reflective of the ingenuity of marketing teams across companies. Marketing and advertising professionals are essentially finding ways to make something inherently negative and have it work to their benefit. Objectively, it’s ethically questionable to take advantage of people’s psyches at a time when their budgets are tightest. Regardless, the minds behind the adverts certainly deserve credit for the creative and effective ways they have found to spin inflation and keep people spending when they are most hesitant to do so. “We knew that people are changing their behavior. So it’s important for us to be clear in the role that we can play,” remarked William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer.