by Jo Weston, Planning Director Wunderman Thompson UK
Let’s rewind a year. Warnings of travel restrictions, supply chain shocks, potential job losses, medical supplies not getting through, lorries backed up at the border, some of us had even started stockpiling – remember Brexit? There was fear and bitter division in the face of that momentous political decision.
Who’d have known, a year on, we’d be facing a far more real and present danger, but one that we’re still unclear on how to fight.
When you listen to people talk right now, they say they’re scared. Afraid for their health, their livelihoods, the NHS and those around them. They’re angry, at the greed and rampant individualism of panic buying, and blatantly flouting of the rules. And these feelings cut across age, gender and income.
‘Stay Home, protect the NHS, save lives’. ‘There is such a thing as society’. Much as I’d like to deny Boris his Churchillian moment (and inaccurate rebuke of Thatcherism), these are words of unity right now.
There’s a real sense of public consensus which is why we’re beginning to see the green shoots of collectivism; people pulling together in the interests of their communities. Reports of children spending their pocket money on loo roll for the elderly, regular cries of ‘I’m going to the shops can I get you anything?’ from a neighbour, or the silent decorum when our eyes meet in the queue for the supermarket. It’s all around us. And no doubt, the reason giffgaff have brought forward their campaign focused on community.
Online conversation around ‘community spirit’ has increased 82% in the last month. ‘Spirit of the Blitz’ is being used 70x more than this time last year. The majority of these conversations concern support for the most vulnerable and local businesses, and almost half are from the over 45s.