Marketing the Recession With Hyundai and Wendy's

As the economy continues to spiral downward with seemingly no end in sight, the hardest hit industries have had to adapt in kind. Like a Faustian bargain to keep the consumer cycle in motion, the incentives are being offered to any market that might bite.


Automakers like Hyundai are creating agreements like its “Assurance”policy by which the company will cover car payments for up to three months in the event of job loss and, barring a more long-term solution, allow the buyer to return the car if insolvency looms. Distancing itself from the slurry of institutional failures, Bank of America’s latest campaign touts its commitment to “Strength. Stability. Opportunity”. The real estate industry no longer flaunts the lush language of luxury, highlighting instead price reductions to lure cautious buyers back to the market. Even Wendy’s national ad campaign uses the tagline “3conomics” to promote its recession inspired $0.99 value menu.

Unfortunately, these same print and television ads are sandwiched between the continual stream of headlines on the dire state of the economy, creating a perfect storm for consumer anxiety. While the marketplace has quickly adapted its tone to match the reality faced by cautious consumers, the most recent economic status reports suggest that in spite of these efforts consumers aren’t biting anything except their nails. Can these marketing campaigns spur the economy by ushering a new era of thrifty consumer spending, or have they been defeated from the outset by confirming new economic realities and perpetuating a cycle of consumer fear? 

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

In U.S. first, drug company faces criminal charges for distributing opioids

It marks a major shift in the government's battle against the opioid crisis.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The nation's sixth-largest drug distributor is facing criminal charges related to failing to report suspicious drug orders, among other things.
  • It marks the first time a drug company has faced criminal charges for distributing opioids.
  • Since 1997, nearly 222,000 Americans have died from prescription opioids, partly thanks to unethical doctors who abuse the system.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

Calling out Cersei Lannister: Elizabeth Warren reviews Game of Thrones

The real Game of Thrones might be who best leverages the hit HBO show to shape political narratives.

Photo credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that Game of Thrones is primarily about women in her review of the wildly popular HBO show.
  • Warren also touches on other parallels between the show and our modern world, such as inequality, political favoritism of the elite, and the dire impact of different leadership styles on the lives of the people.
  • Her review serves as another example of using Game of Thrones as a political analogy and a tool for framing political narratives.
Keep reading Show less