Rapid rebound, small changes

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[laguna niguel, calif.] American consumers rebounded rapidly and with resiliency and resolve following the Sept. 11 attack, according to a Roper study unveiled at the American Association of Advertising Agencies Management Conference last week.

"For the most part, Americans have moved on," said Tom A.W. Miller, managing director, RoperASW, New York. Yet there remain some subtle, but significant, changes in consumer attitudes.

Today's cocooning is "local-area nesting," with an "appropriate appreciation" for community, he said. Even convicts have an information-sharing Web site, including ads for gambling, lawyers and moving services.

One important age group affected by Sept. 11 is the generation aged 25 to 34, who have experienced the defining event of their lives.

The young, Mr. Miller said, have not rebounded from the experience quite as quickly as older Americans and warrant careful monitoring by marketers, he said.


Some of the study's results have applications for advertising creative. Patriotic ad themes became popular in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the feelings still linger, Mr. Miller said.

For marketers, he advised only those with brands based on Americana, such as Ralph Lauren, to stick with flag-waving. Others jumping on the patriotic bandwagon may appear to be inappropriately capitalizing on the tragedy.

Ads also should not move away from concepts based on "fun," Mr. Miller said. "Americans have not lost their sense of humor."

Other attitude changes as a result of the tragedy include an increase in tolerance among Americans for varying ethnic, religious and cultural groups. Americans also are showing a newfound respect and admiration for the work of average Americans, such as police and firefighters.

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