New Year, New You?

Christmas madness and all the food and jolly time it comes with are now over. It is a new year and for Brits a way to make a fresh start. But how important are New Year’s resolutions and do they really keep consumers going?

According to YouGov, 63% of Brits are planning to make New Year’s resolutions this year with health focused resolutions such as ‘lose weight’ (35%), ‘get fitter’ (33%) and ‘eat more healthy’ (31%) making up the top three choices. Other popular options include socialising more, find time for themselves, take care of their appearance, get a better work-life balance, give up smoking and drink less. Following very indulgent Christmas celebrations, taking care of their health is key to Brits and this shows in the list of resolutions as well as better overall organisation.

However, it seems that this isn’t a very efficient long-term strategy as 88% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail (source: University of Bristol) with almost half of them (43%) lasting less than a month (source: Bupa). This explains the popularity of short-term health focused events such as ‘Dry January’, an initiative launched by Alcohol Concern in 2012 where people are encouraged to stop drinking for this month or ‘veganuary’ where people, as the name suggests, go vegan for a month. Interest for both of these has never been so high; ‘Dry January’ triggered two times more interest this January than last year and ‘veganuary’ six times more interest year-on-year (source: Google Trends).

PETA capitalised on this opportunity in mass when it launched its ‘Go Vegan’ campaign on 1st January replacing all billboards in Clapham Common tube station with 60 adverts of animals and the slogan ‘I’m ME, not MEAT’ making it the UK’s first vegan tube-station takeover.


On the other hand, quite a few food and drinks brands are official partners of the ‘Dry January’ initiative. A good example is the restaurant chain Strada that added a range of alcoholic free beers and wines to their menu in support of the campaign. Even non direct partners of ‘Dry January’ communicated around the occasion such as Cancer Research UK with its ‘dryathlon challenge’ to raise money whilst going sober.

There are, however, cases of brands taking the opposite approach such as ‘Tryanuary’ where consumers are encouraged to try, share and enjoy new beers during January. Other examples of campaigns using new resolutions to communicate are, of course, fitness and gym brands such as ‘My Protein World’ with its TV campaign ‘New Year, New You’.

So January resolutions are a common behaviour for most Brits with a great opportunity for brands communicating around health to tap into. However, as most New Year’s resolutions don’t extend beyond January, it may not be the best communication option for brands wanting to implement a longer-term strategy. A great example of other messaging around New Year is Google with its ‘The Year in Search’ wishing users a Happy New Year through a retrospective video of 2016.



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