Welcome back to ‘How Do We Really Feel?’, where we dig deep into the nation’s feelings using our self-taught AI mood tracker along with our weekly focus groups.
Hairdressers, pubs, restaurants…just some of the hot topics of our virtual and socially distanced conversations over the past few days as Ireland lifted much of the harsh lockdown restrictions in Phase 3 of reopening the country. Now that we are starting to really delve into this “new normal” way of life, though, how has it been affecting our thoughts and feelings?
Not surprisingly, optimism was the prevailing emotion being felt in the lead up to the 29th of June, the day in which we saw the country regain a real sense of normality. Users were expressing their joy and anticipation that some aspects of their social life can resume again - finally the time has come to visit our favourite restaurant and catch a friend for a coffee. Many also took to social to wish businesses luck that were due to open again on the 29th.
However, interestingly we saw a significant spike in ‘fear’ on the 27th-28th of June, the days before the country was set to loosen the lockdown restrictions. When we dive into this emotion, we see that tourism and overseas travel is the root of much of this fear and worry. Users are concerned that with people choosing Ireland as a holiday destination, the virus may begin to spread rapidly once again. In particular, a point of contention for many is UK newspapers promoting Ireland as a “safe” destination for holiday makers. Many were taking to Twitter to urge Dr. Tony Holohan to "keep control of the borders from US and UK visitors please." Another user expressed fear about both the issue of travel, and the opening up of pubs -
“scared out of my life with the thoughts of this virus being re-imported also the pubs re-opening.”
For many, there is the belief that if we allow travel in and out of Ireland this summer,
“we will be in trouble again by October.”
The flip side of this ‘tourism anxiety’, is that we are seeing many users complain that they feel it would be better value for money for them to go overseas, rather than have a staycation in Ireland. For example, one user stated:
“It’s cheaper to fly to France than take the train to Cork. Bananas. Plus once you’re on the continent, everything is cheaper.”
Others are taking to social to directly call out hotels and destinations in Ireland that they believe are overcharging customers, concluding that
“people will keep going abroad when prices are like this at home.”
Feelings of anger and sadness saw some minor peaks during the last few days of June - one key driver of this was ‘RTE Investigates’, which portrayed Ireland’s frontline battle against Covid-19. These feelings peaked at 10pm, after the show was aired. Users deemed it ‘powerful’ and ‘extremely sad’, and took to social to urge anyone who has 'grown complacent' about the virus to watch it immediately:
"Anyone who thinks COVID-19 is a scam or couldn’t affect them needs to watch #rteinvestigates and if you didn’t respect the work frontline @HSELive do and have done for us, you will after that, fantastic people.”
Other users took to social to exclaim their frustration over the rights of nurses in the country,
“Can we PLEASE never let our nurses have to fight for what they deserve, ever again!”
Feelings of fear were also apparent once again after the airing of this programme, with some believing that we are moving too fast in easing restrictions,
“If anyone has any doubt about the havoc that #COVIDー19 can wreak on our lives, please have a look. The last few days have worried me. I think we're moving too fast…Hope I'm wrong”
Pride, which was once extremely high at the onset of the pandemic, had begun to dip in recent weeks. However, as we can see above, this emotion is gaining strength again as we move into July. Most recently, this feeling has been in response to Dr. Tony Holohan stepping back from his role as CMO. Social media platforms were busy with many users showing their appreciation and pride in Holohan’s efforts during the pandemic,
"If there was an Irish version of a knighthood, he should be first on the list. Best wishes Tony and family.”
As always, it’s a real mixed bag of emotions that we as a nation are feeling. While the restrictions being relaxed in the country have been a source of positive feeling, this does not come without its anxieties and fears for many. It will be interesting to see how this continues to shape our thoughts as we continue to navigate our way through this ‘new normal’. Watch this space...
A closer look at live event lovers
For many, lives are planned around their favourite team, band, or comedy show. With lots of that coming to a halt this year, for this week’s research, we speak to live event lovers. Understanding what they miss, what they’re doing to recreate the buzz and their thoughts on live events in the future. Read on for our five key findings.
1Cannot recreate the atmosphere digitally.
Fans have adapted their homes to listen to their favourite band live-stream, or people have spent time watching old highlight footage of their team on YouTube or streaming a play they had booked to see – but it’s just not the same. Many thought they’d never miss the overpriced pints and extra-long queues for the loo, but without it there, is something missing? Live from the couch just doesn’t bring the same buzz.
2Missing uniting with like-minded strangers.
The common link throughout all types of events was the feeling and the buzz of being with thousands of strangers, united around one shared interest. While yes people can all tune-in to the same event from their couches, there’s something about being there and engaging with the crowd.
3Is the world turning into a video game?
With artificial cheering, virtual conferencing and mannequins in the stands, it all feels a bit like everything is turning into a video game… and not in a good way. Lots of people mentioned events shifting to some weird episode of Black Mirror and wondering how much things will shift into alternate realities.
4Happy to do what it takes to return to venues.
In whatever shape events take place and allow spectators to attend (digital health passports, temperature checks, wearing masks, etc), this group is open to them. For live event lovers, it’s a fair trade – giving their personal information or following safety procedures allows them to feel safe at the places they love and feels like it’s the only way to move forward.
5Opportunity to reinvent brand sponsorships.
Discussing how things were, sponsorship was always a given at venues and events – with some more natural tie-ins for certain brands than others. No matter what way we get back to events, there’s an opportunity for brands to step in with new ways of sponsorship other than being wallpaper for some. People are open to new ways of experiencing things (because they have to be), so right now presents an exciting opportunity for brand sponsorship.
For the full research deck and additional thoughts on brand sponsorship – click here.