Inflationland: The Journey of Everyday Products
From essential household items to travel, dining and entertainment, the rising costs of everyday expenses are hurting Americans’ wallets. The global factors contributing to these rising costs not only harm consumers but also place pressure on retailers and workers.
For retailers, inflation impacts nearly every aspect of business, from cash flow and inventory to storage fees and revenue. Caused by a multitude of factors, there is no one magic solution that can curb inflation and bring relief to both consumers and retailers. The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest trade association for the retail industry, needed to visualize and contextualize how the rising cost of a product is driven by a multitude of factors before that product reaches retailers.
To begin a conversation about the many factors driving inflation and help persuade members of Congress to find solutions, Adfero partnered with NRF to visualize the development of an everyday product and the potential setbacks on its journey in a simple and engaging way.
Adfero’s solution incorporated easily recognizable elements from household board game favorites like CandyLand and LIFE where players navigate through obstacles and race to reach the end of the course. Inflationland was born — a gameboard-style microsite on the NRF website, that displays the costly journey of an everyday product on its path to the retailer.
This interactive, visual format demonstrates the pressures of creating an armchair in times of extreme inflation. Although inflation does not only impact furniture, the armchair was chosen as the primary game piece because of its wide use and also as a nod to the extreme backlogs for furniture orders, a relatable and recognizable pandemic-related issue to many.
Adfero then charted a path for the armchair that includes obstacles in the form of the factors that can drive inflation. The light and engaging tone of gameboard obstacles like “Material Mayhem,” “Supply Chain Strain,” “Global Energy Crunch” and “Labor Shortage” highlight key inflation-related facts and figures before the final space – the retailer. Each stop along the journey explains why and how such challenges occurred and can contribute to inflation. Once users reach the end of the game, the site drives them to an Action Center and encourages them to send a letter to policymakers. Adfero then developed additional creative assets that displayed various pieces of the gameboard to encourage NRF’s stakeholders to interact with the game across channels, including social media.
The launch of the Inflationland microsite successfully led individuals across generations to learn about inflation’s impact on the retail industry and call Congress to take action. Inflationland serves as a key interactive piece that is part of NRF’s larger campaign to urge Congress to help lower inflation, with solutions that include addressing the ongoing labor shortage through smart immigration reforms and easing the supply chain crisis by investing in supply chain resiliency. This interactive tool also helped continue conversations about the harm of inflation, with members of Congress addressing inflation in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Adfero’s creative concepting and strategic planning allowed NRF to unite their audiences of consumers and policymakers to create a strong voice for Washington to hear.