Study: Consumers Want Return to Normalcy

NEW YORK — Nearly three months after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., consumers are counting on a return to normalcy and they want advertisers to recognize it, according to a study released by Initiative Media North America and The Massachusetts School of Technology.

“What advertisers are seeing is the resilience of the country to come back to itself very quickly in terms of a mindset,” said Steve Greenberger, evp and director of IM Convergence and Print Media. “The population was quick to react to the attack and it was very interesting to see how viewing patterns resumed very quickly as well.”

Some of the primary points the emerge from the data — 35 percent say they intend to stay close to home — are that consumers are likely to look more towards home entertainment as opposed to going out to live sporting or concert events. Hence, the increased consumption of publications and higher television viewership that has remained strong after September 11 has opportunities for advertisers seeking to strengthen their connection to the public, the survey found.

“The more we keep acting in different ways, the more we remind people of an uncomfortable time,” said Arthur Schreibman, evp and director of National and Local Broadcast for Initiative. “Just after the attacks, there was a lot of discussion with our clients about when it’s appropriate to advertise again and start to get things back to normal. In terms of a gut feeling, I felt it was appropriate two weeks after the attack, but it’s better to have actual data than just an intuition. It’s good to have research support that view.”

And while 46 percent of those surveyed say that the September 11 incidents would likely affect their households, Schreibman said he feels that the impact of the terrorist attacks would have a very subtle impact on consumers looking out over the next few months.

“From a business perspective, the economy is the driving force — more so than 9/11 — on decisions,” Schreibman said. “When you get into the 9/11 effect, it’s more of a fine-tuning in terms of choosing the kinds of media you want to be in. Unless you’re an airline or a theme park, your decision on what to spend and where to spend your ad dollars is determined by the state of the economy.”