In a turbulent era characterised by Brexit, COVID-19, and a rapidly changing world, 2022’s biggest headlines have felt just as dizzying as the years before it: the euphoria of England’s Euros victory, the highs of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations followed by the poignant lows of her death three months later, the ignominious end of Boris Johnson’s premiership and the wobbly start of Liz Truss’s, and of course the daily horrors of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
However, one subject has had the feeling more of an undercurrent, providing an uneasy rhythm for readers throughout the year. With inflation squeezing consumers’ spending power and concerns rising around the surging price of energy, many people have acutely felt the cost-of-living crisis. As early as May, we found that 72% of UK adults were pessimistic about the cost of living, while 53% had major worries about their personal finances.
News brands have kept millions of readers informed not only of the latest political developments, but have also helped them find ways they can balance the books as winter nears — from the best budgeting apps to the latest trend of “cash-stuffing.” Meanwhile, advertisers have also made important campaigns showing brands both support readers in making their pennies go further and are sticking by them in difficult times as well as good ones.
Here are just some of the ways brands have helped readers navigate choppy economic waters.
On the frontline of the price squeeze in an extremely competitive market, supermarkets have been particularly active in reassuring readers they are on their side. Tesco’s campaigns have been notable, helping to spread the costs of Christmas in summer, using its free Clubcard rewards system to give access to lower prices, and quickly turning around a contextual ad after a politician’s remarks to help readers avoid food waste.
New prime minister Liz Truss was under mounting pressure to reveal her government’s plan to tackle rocketing energy bills when she was elected as Conservative Party leader in September. Downing Street duly announced a cap of £2,500 until 2024, but some were confused about what that really meant for tariffs. In its latest campaign to help demystify energy, British Gas sets the record straight.
Saving money is rightly worrying for many, but it doesn’t always have to be so serious. eBay’s recent campaign, featured in print and digital across several news brands in September, puts the party back into pre-loved and gives budding entrepreneurs and intrepid bargain hunters plenty of ideas.
With people struggling to make ends meet, it can feel difficult to stay afloat. As interest rate hikes made headlines in reaction to the plummeting pound, building society Halifax made sure readers knew its doors were open.
Back to the good news — so good, in fact, that this message is reassuringly short. Prices at the online mobile network giffgaff are fixed until the end of 2023. Huzzah!
But amid all the fun and games of finding good deals, the realities of living on tighter budgets and in an uncertain economic climate can take its toll on our wellbeing. Ad campaigns from mental health charities such as Mind remind readers that, if they’re struggling to cope, there is always somewhere to turn.