What’s the Downturn Message?

By Patrick Gossage, Chairman, Media Profile

There’s new and considerable fuss about the endless gloom and doom being spread by mainstream media about the economic downturn in Canada and how this may actually be impacting consumer behavior and worsening the situation.

Compounding this is a distinct lack of creative PR from companies who are hit. Layoff announcements and reporting of awful results all add to the general tone of misery. The media add to thius shock and awe reporting and we just live in fear and stop spending.

I am not suggesting that some positive spin is needed – although you could argue it is! But it seesm nobody wants to talk about the real bargains that our hurting economy has produced – in retail, travel, even in restaurants and leisure activities. To position these as “our” response to the downturn appears out of bounds.

Moreover, in the auto industry, the focus of the most gloom, there is little creative messaging or thought given to how to position Canadian manufacturers in a way that will get people back in the showrooms. Toyota does have an amazing ad with a salesperson in a showroom pointing out which models are in fact made in Canada.  If ever there was a time to urge customers to buy a car to keep jobs here this is it. Only the union talks about this.

I guess those looking for bailouts, or laying people off have to keep the focus on how bad things are, forgetting that customers are looking for value and good product. Not much of this being communicated. Time to start.

And for the media to spend some time looking for pockets of hope before we all go to bed, pull the blinds and wait for summer.