BML Public Relations + Digital, a national, award-winning public relations agency specializing in earned, social + digital media for consumer, B2B + corporate communications clients, today announced the results of a new nationwide survey uncovering the temperature of fun in brand marketing, how it factors into purchasing decisions, and the types of news stories consumers seek in the current media landscape.

The online survey of 2,046 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, conducted on behalf of BML Public Relations + Digital by The Harris Poll, found 85% of American consumers agree it is time for fun to return to brand marketing campaigns. More than three in five, or 62%, say humor in a brand’s TV, radio, online, social media and/or print presence makes them consider the brand “fun.” Consumers also revealed the power of fun is good for bottom line, with 75% indicating they are more likely to purchase from brands they associate with being fun or upbeat versus from those they do not. Categorically, consumers identified where fun matters most when making purchasing decisions, with approximately 7 in 10 Americans saying it is important that hospitality/travel (72%), food & beverage (69%) and quick service restaurant (67%) brands are considered “fun.”

“As an agency that heavily infuses fun in our earned, social and digital media campaigns, we wanted to understand where it currently stands with consumers in this challenging climate,” says Brian M. Lowe, founder, president + CEO of BML Public Relations + Digital. “Our goal was to determine if consumers want brands to turn up the fun in their marketing – which was at significantly higher levels pre-pandemic – or, if it would be tone deaf considering the countless foreign and domestic issues that exist in the current the news cycle. We are excited to report consumers not only overwhelmingly want fun to return to brand marketing, but their spending habits heavily rely on it.”

More than just a pulse on fun, the survey also aimed to uncover the type of news stories consumers are seeking from media. Four in five, or 80%, of Americans say in these challenging times, they crave news stories that are more “fun” or “positive” than ”dark” or ”depressing” currently dominating the news. 

“Since the start of COVID-19, the news cycle significantly shifted away from a balance of hard news and fun to, in my opinion, overloaded negativity all the time,” says Lowe. “And, while that might generate ratings and clicks for outlets, this research shows consumers are exhausted by the level of negativity and crave a more balanced news cycle with some levity.”

Consumer Trends, News