Ad agency Leo Burnett releases State of the Nation research

Publicis Groupe

  • January 17, 2024

Sixty per cent of Brits are more hopeful in January 2024 compared with one year ago.

This is according to PopPulse, a brand new state of the nation report from advertising powerhouse Leo Burnett, which provides its clients with insights to inform their marketing strategies. The agency is home to a stable of the biggest and best-known brands including McDonald’s, TUI and Premier Inn.

Despite a myriad of macro issues from Brexit to Covid to the cost-of-living crisis, forty per cent of Brits say they’re hopeful compared with twenty per cent who say they’re anxious, ten per cent who are exhausted and four per cent who are fearful.

Compared to the start of 2023, only sixteen per cent of people say they’re less hopeful than at the start of 2023 with twenty-three per cent unchanged with sixty per cent more hopeful.

With less spending money, and daily exercise routines formed during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, people have discovered what psychologists have known for centuries – that getting out into nature is one of the best ways for people to recharge and can help with anxiety and depression. Two-thirds (67%) of people are turning to nature to de-stress, spending time outdoors as they find cheap ways to cope with the perma-crisis that continues to bite.

Eighty-nine per cent of UK adults are hopeful for their family in the coming year compared with 46% who are hopeful for the country overall.

Josh Bullmore, chief strategic officer at Leo Burnett UK, said: “This year will shape our futures. With the primaries in the US, the European Parliament elections and a General Election in the UK, 67 million Britons’ fortunes are going to be affected. We wanted to speak to people to understand how they’re feeling in the wake of more change, and how they’ve been coping with the perma-crisis of the past four years. We do this to help our clients understand and anticipate their customers’ needs.”

The research will be unveiled this evening (Tuesday) at the advertising agency’s third annual PopFest event with panellists Alastair Campbell, Dr Julie Smith and Remel London discussing the impact of the state of the nation study for an audience of advertisers.

Bullmore continued: “What we found was that people have found new ways to cope with the perma-crisis and are developing new behaviours to help them overcome the stresses and strains of modern life. Emerging from the pandemic, and navigating the choppy waters of last year, people have become experts in self-soothing, finding ways to get by and ways to maintain their wellbeing, and people are generally feeling pretty optimistic about the year ahead.”

As part of its PopPulse study, Leo Burnett also commissioned in depth interviews with Brits to find out how they’re feeling after a bruising few years, and to understand what the bright spots are for people and how these bright spots manifest themselves. The research found that:

  • People are coping better and finding fresh hope now they’ve learned new behaviours and habits to deal with the cost of living crisis acquiring new survival skills along the way.
  • Things remain hard but Brits have now adapted to living with the harsh realities presented by the cost of living crisis.
  • Mid-2023, the nation was focused on coping and people are coming out of this now.
  • The wars in Ukraine and Gaza are on people’s minds but are tier two concerns.
  • People have got used to the new norms with higher prices for everyday items and fewer options with less disposable income. They are familiar with the new reality and are more optimistic than they were six months ago.
  • People are finding new hobbies, small pleasures and increased social connections are providing the bright spots they need.

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