FEATURE11 May 2017

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Asia Pacific Behavioural science Features Impact

RUSSIA – Anxiety among Russians has risen steadily since 2010, and brands are tapping into this. John Murphy of Simpson Carpenter explains


Over the past century, Russia has experienced numerous wars, radical social experiments and natural disasters. And, although its citizens enjoyed a relatively stable 13-year socioeconomic period at the start of the millennium, 2014 witnessed a series of negative events that have had a significant impact on the social mood.

Unsurprisingly – in the face of the Crimea annexation and the ensuing economic sanctions from the West, the collapse of the rouble and the subsequent halving of real incomes, the decrease in oil prices and the wars in Ukraine and Syria – anxiety levels among the public rose steadily between 2010 and 2017. Currently, 65% describe the situation as ‘tense’ or ‘critical’.

A three-year study of consumer-facing advertising, carried out by Simpson Carpenter’s Russian cultural insight partner LocalTalk, shows how local and international brands have tapped into this climate of social anxiety. We can identify the dominant frameworks in which brands communicate messages of safety – both directly and indirectly ...