To the untrained eye, the Back to School period in advertising in 2020 could merely be seen as a time to promote elastic rubber pencils, Disney lunch boxes, and fun-size sugary treats. However, as we can see with our back-to-school sentiment report, with the continued regional restrictions that have come with The Pandemic has meant back-to-school in the GCC has developed even more significance. It now symbolises the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ (or not so?) for consumers. One of the few major points in the calendar that is gaining massive traction in the Gulf.
Is there hope for the coming period? How do parents feel about the changes in their daily, household routines? What messages should the savvy marketeer transmit as part of their up-and-coming campaigns in this sensitive time?
As part of constant research using ambient feedback techniques and tailor made models in the region, D/A has produced our Back to School 2020 sentiment report for K.S.A and the U.A.E. The report first outlines how the overall volume in conversations has increased/deceased around COVID-19, back-to-school, and online learning.
The graph below shows the overall volume of conversations specifically on COVID-19 in K.S.A. Contrary to intuition, there has been a steady decrease in emphasis on the topic, dropping by around two-thirds since March. This may be due to the fact that some in the public domain have become used to living with COVID-19 restrictions. The once dreaded – ‘New-Norm’.
Importantly, it would be easy to draw conclusions about the feelings behind the overall volume of conversations and assume the audiences sentiment around the subject. Without tailor-made models, able to take into account; the many intricacies of regional dialects, fake accounts etc, much of the true feelings around key topics would fall by the wayside.
The sentiment graph below shows feelings around back-to-school in K.S.A since early June. Although negative has remained solid, positivity has become far more buoyant, with an increase of over 500% recently.
What about Online Learning in the U.A.E? Below, the sudden surge in conversation in March lockdowns slowed with the end of the academic year. As summer set in, conversation is now at an all time high, but there is a face off in sentiment between the positive and negative camps.
Previously, the lone talking point was the new, strange virus that was COVID-19. Recently, there seems to be much more of a focus on the secondary and tertiary effects of The Pandemic, e.g; access to sporting events, dietary concerns, travel restrictions, economic issues etc.
Sentiment is also becoming increasingly positive in the region, but the uncertainty for many consumers remains high.
With varying news on the modes of education; at home, in school, or 50/50 models, some parents in the U.A.E have hope for the coming year. Although, some only see more headaches of juggling the many plates of; kids’ schooling, working from home, partners, cooking, pets, vets, and increasing debts!
Given the mixed feelings about the mid-term, marketeers must approach the season with empathy. Messages must still bear in mind the worries of many consumers. We can’t ignore the elephant in the room of the Pandemic. Yet, not forgetting the increasing hope in the region. To keep both parties happy, strategies promoting a theme of escape and breaking free, could be considered.
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