The uncertainty and strain of the coronavirus pandemic caused a significant uptick in stress among millions of people across the country. According to a survey conducted by the CDC, nearly one-third of Americans said that they had recently experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety. In 2019, that number sat at just 11 percent.
As a result, companies are making sure to emphasize stress-relief and wellness in their marketing campaigns and as features of new products. For instance, Lincoln is pitching its Nautilus SUV as a “sanctuary” that includes refreshed air, noise-dampening materials on the doors, and calming sounds created with the help of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “The door opens and it really feels like a human hug,” said Lincoln’s design director Kemal Curic. Meanwhile, PepsiCo launched a blackberry- and lavender-flavored water called Driftwell that contains magnesium and L-theanine, which the company says promotes relaxation.
“Consumers are increasingly looking for alternative solutions for their anxiety,” says Laura Brett of the National Advertising Division. “So we’re seeing a lot of products outside the prescription or over-the-counter drug space making claims about being able to address that.” Of course, it can be challenging for companies to convince consumers that some products actually contain stress-relieving properties. In fact, consumer advocates say that the number of complaints against products claiming to relieve stress has increased in the last five years, with many citing a lack of scientific evidence.
- Why are companies starting to place greater emphasis on their products’ stress-relieving qualities?
- Do you think some companies are exaggerating claims about their products’ abilities to relieve stress?
Source: Ellen Byron, “Companies Target a New Market: The Stressed Out,” The Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2021.