New Report from J. Walter Thompson’s Innovation Group Tackles the Rise of the Hyper-Politicized Consumer

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From the fallout of Brexit and the lead-up to the US presidential election, it’s impossible for consumers to ignore the effects of political decisions on their lives

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In an atmosphere of extremes, we’re seeing a rising politicized consumer who is viewing the world in a new light through the lens of their personal circumstance and vocally questioning brands, institutions and platforms.

A new report from J. Walter Thompson’s Innovation Group is making sense of the impact politics has on consumers and consequently, the brands chasing them.

Launched today, exactly one week before the 2016 US Presidential Election and just four months post-Brexit, “The Political Consumer” confronts a new world where hot-button topics are difficult to sidestep and where more consumers are choosing sides and watching where brands stand.

Why are we suddenly so politicized? How do brands navigate today’s hyper-politicized landscape?

“The Political Consumer” looks into the economic, technological and cultural factors that are crucial to answering these questions and ties in original data from a survey of 1,001 US consumers conducted by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research unit.

Key findings from the report include:
– Live video on social media, despite being a very new medium, comes in second in importance as a source of political news for both of these groups, at 51% for Generation Z and 56% for millennials.
– 60% of the public say they generally trust political content from brands on social media – far more than they trust online political content from celebrities (45%) and politicians (41%).
– 39% of millennials say brands should play a larger role in politics, and 51% say they appreciate when brands take a political stance in their advertising.

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group, said of the new report: “In an atmosphere of extremes, we’re seeing a rising politicized consumer who is viewing the world in a new light through the lens of their personal circumstance and vocally questioning brands, institutions and platforms – propelled by social media, live video and digital platforms. ‘The Political Consumer’ charts this cultural shift, exploring the digital media sphere and how brands can navigate the political consumer landscape.”

The report follows another politics-related study from J. Walter Thompson and Forethought that found that political advertising – even those with positive messages – generate negative emotions in consumers.

Download “The Political Consumer” here.

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About The Innovation Group
The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futures, research and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, and consumer change and innovation patterns, and translates these into insight for brands. It offers a suite of consultancy services, including bespoke research, presentations, co-branded reports and workshops. It is also active in innovation, partnering with brands to activate future trends within their frameworks and execute new products and concepts.

The Innovation Group is part of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, a platform for global research, innovation and data analytics at J. Walter Thompson Company. It houses three key in-house practices: SONAR™, Analytics and the Innovation Group. For more information, please visit jwtintelligence.com and follow us @JWTIntelligence.

About J. Walter Thompson Company
J. Walter Thompson Company was founded in 1864 and has been making pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business for more than 150 years. Today the company has evolved to include several global networks including J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Mirum and Colloquial.

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Nikki Kria
J. Walter Thompson Company
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