UK public can’t get enough food journalism during the lockdown

Mike Richards

24th April

As we end week four of the lockdown in the UK, the public’s media habits – and attitudes – continue changing.

Traffic on the Daily Mail website is up 28%, research from Associated Newspapers shows. Kim Kardashian is successfully surviving the crisis, then.

The group owns Metro News and too. Both are up 40% and 20% respectively. Traffic to articles within these sites on food and cooking is up 400%.

Associated Newspaper’s illuminating research panel of Middle England shows us when this crisis is over, what people are looking forward to most:

  • 86% of 55+ adults are looking forward to seeing their family (I’m assuming not the ones they’ve been locked up with), the UK average is 74%.
  • 65% are looking forward to travelling again.
  • 43% believe travel restrictions will be lifted by September.
  • 55% are looking forward to eating out, rising to 63% in London.
  • 50% are looking forward to out-of-home shopping (probably got too much discarded cardboard building up).
  • 20% are looking forward to going back to work, rising to 38% living in London aged 18-34.

Elsewhere, The Week and Money Week (both owned by Dennis Publishing and both subscription-based) have shown 30% and 40% increases in subscriptions since March 2020.

The website equivalents have also seen increases in their unique users by 21% and 30% respectively. Also up are subscriptions to the Junior Week (there are only so many times one can watch Frozen 2).

On a UK financial services front, page views of FE Trustnet by professional advisers are up 66% on this period last year. Private investor traffic is up 80%. Factsheet viewing is up 90% and 94% respectively. Overall page views on FE Trustnet are up 171% for the same time last year.

Business as usual for advisers

The FT’s adviser print and online channels, Financial Adviser and, have researched part of their audience about accessing information and work habit changes.

Over 90% state they can do everything they normally did or processes just take slightly longer. Advisers say they are working less than normal, but this was down to their inability to travel to see clients.

Nearly 80% believe communication from their business partners (financial services companies) is very or extremely important at the moment.

When asked who advisers believed were communicating well at the moment, the top companies were:

  • Aviva
  • Fidelity
  • Prudential
  • Quilter
  • Royal London
  • Standard Life
  • True Potential

Bear in mind though the Financial Adviser audience is very general, so life & pensions providers and platforms are likely to feature more heavily than asset managers.

Adviser use of professional media is either the same as usual (41%) or higher (39%). In terms of investment interests with this readership they believe there will be more call for ESG products.

Clients will become more risk averse and look closer at their portfolios, but they do believe investment is for the long-term and there are great opportunities for equity investments.

Brands getting adverts right

A global research company called System 1 has released data about sentiment and reaction to advertising in different countries, although not necessarily financial services.

The messages which are proving more positive during this current crisis are adverts set in, or referencing the past, adverts with connections to local places and those celebrating ‘betweenness’.

Major advertisers perceived by the public as doing this are:

  • Aldi
  • Guinness
  • John Lewis
  • M&S
  • Morrisons

Finally, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, where I attended lessons about production in 1976 and realised media was more interesting, has released research called ‘Stuck at home’.

It shows how brand trust is hard to grow, but emotive adverts are more likely to succeed and cites many examples such as Nationwide, which years ago was struggling. With careful campaigns to create brand awareness and gain customer loyalty Nationwide has moved to being the number one company in its sector. Customers are unlikely to leave a brand if they believe in it.

This suggests that the benefits of nurturing a trusted brand through good times and bad should never be under-estimated, even when markets are falling (or being volatile) and internal pressure for short-term decision-making is at its greatest.