“Cashing in” on the downturned economy

That the economy has been in a slump is a surprise to no one.  Not only has this been all over the news, but the average family is feeling the downturn in its budget.  But, some companies are finding ways to “cash in” on the downturn and some publications are doing the same things.  And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

First, when it comes to advertising, those in the business have long since known that playing to what people are dealing with helps sell products.  In this situation, consumers are actually benefitting.  In an effort to increase weeknight movie attendance (I assume), Carmike movie theaters are offering a “stimulus package” on Tuesday nights.  I recently visited a Carmike theater while on vacation in Tennessee and noticed ads for $1 popcorn and $1 sodas on Tuesday nights.  Considering we’d just paid $15 for a popcorn and two sodas at a Sunday matinee, the deal sounded pretty good to me.  Definitely good advertisement in a tough economy.

Another business using the economic downturn to its advantage is candy-maker Mars.  The business editor of my local newspaper reported on this in today’s paper.  I checked it out for myself and found that Mars is indeed giving away from candy bars.  Titled the “Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act,” it allows consumers to go online starting at 9 a.m. on Friday (May 22) and sign up for coupons for free chocolate.  As the Web site explains: “Times are tough and we at Mars want to help. How, you ask? Every Friday through September, Mars will give away FREE real chocolate to 250,000 people. That means you can enjoy your favorite Mars candy brands—M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, 3 MUSKETEERS®, MILKY WAY® and DOVE®— for free!”  Only 250,000 people each Friday will get a coupon, but that’s sure to bolster Mars image.  And, in fact, it makes me think how good their products sound right now.

Finally, publishers are also cashing in on the downturned economy.  Anyone who has had a journalism class ought to be able to tell you that one news value (those things that make editors decide a story is worthy of printing) is timeliness.  While this can mean reporting on an event that happened when it happens, it also means you can angle articles to fit in with the times.  For example, on my same recent vacation, I was purusing the local library and spent some time reading through a large women’s magazine while my husband sat with his iPhone using the WiFi to do some work.  Nearly every article I read mentioned something about the slow economy.  Truthfully, so many of the articles pulled on this angle that I felt it was overkill.  But, then again, I was on vacation and didn’t want to be reminded of the state of affairs, so I may not have been 100 percent objective.

In my own writing I have addressed the slow economy.  It’s too big to ignore.  In writing a slew of local business profiles lately, it came up more often than not.  Business owners would tell me why consumers needed their products, even in tough times.  They would share what they were doing that worked to get them through the hard times.  And they would share what they wanted customers to know, like how they were going strong or offering certain promotions to counteract the economy.

While sharks are out there waiting to “cash in” on the downturned economy and take advantage of folks, at the end of the day many advertisers and publications are doing what they can to use the issue a bit to their advantage and, in some cases, to the benefit of consumers.  Not so bad.

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  1. geoff daum wrote:

    Yep – I would agree with that.. Thanks for the line.