Ad Tech & Ad Ops

Advertising During COVID-19 Crisis | Do’s and Dont’s

May 12, 2020 3 min read
advertising during COVID-19


Advertising During COVID-19 Crisis | Do’s and Dont’s

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As the world continues to combat COVID-19, economies across continents prepare to find their footing in these unprecedented times. An increasing number of companies are encouraging employees to work from home. Any events such as business conferences, sporting events, and concerts have been canceled and global markets are in free fall. But, what does brand advertising during COVID-19 look like?

With the pandemic on top of everyone’s mind, people are going to be influenced by developments and new recommendations from leaders as well as healthcare professionals. Brand promotion might not seem like the best idea during this crisis. As a result, marketing leaders across every vertical need to be mindful of this, and tailor their advertising strategies to continue benefiting consumers during this time.

A Different Consumer

Consumer behavior directly influences the strategies and outcomes associated with marketing. And with the sudden increase in people staying indoors, there has been a change in lifestyle. Consumers have turned to spend more time online than they ever did before.

Brands that were already providing to the “sofa-surfers” will most likely not be in much trouble. In fact, they might even witness an increase in sales. However, brands that are traditionally offline will have to innovate new online products. They will have to make an effort to accommodate this new way of living.

Digital advertising has a chance to influence public perception and help in evolving the preparation of those affected by this crisis. The ability to update the public in regard to essential goods and services is extremely important.

So the question is what is the role of advertising during COVID-19 and how can marketing professionals truly make a difference?

Do’s and Dont’s

Brands and advertisers need to be particularly mindful and courteous to the developing circumstances around COVID-19. As consumers become more informed of the essential items needed during these critical times, brands and advertisers should make adjustments to their strategies accordingly. Not only do industry practitioners need to make their ad experiences relevant, but they also need to deliver them in a way that is not troublesome.

Industry experts have findings that say consumers spend more time on their ‘mobile’ devices than they do on watching TV. Smartphones make up 70% of this ‘mobile’ time. Since the majority of the working professionals are inside their homes and working remotely – these numbers are bound to evolve.

However, this does not mean that brands and advertisers should reduce their investments. Alternatively, this is the time to be strategically tenacious while your competitors’ advertising investments diminish. So instead of reducing ad spend altogether, adjust it away from areas your consumers are avoiding.

For example, areas such as airports, public transit facilities, office elevators, or events can be withdrawn. Or it can be moved away from areas that consumers are not using much – for example, radios. Since they won’t be driving to work, the chances of consumers listening to the radio is lesser than before.

Ad spends can be redistributed to places that benefit both brands as well as consumers. A new focus should be placed at the home level, targeting where people are engaging the most these days.

Advertising during COVID-19

As more people spend their time at home, brands maintaining or increasing spending should strive to utilize creative that focuses on positive family notions. CPG brands can provide distractions from the increasingly negative news by delivering content that encourages special moments, like sharing a home-cooked meal together. Entertainment brands can encourage consumers to stream the latest shows together and share “watchable moments”.

Brands can emphasize how they enhance convenience and offer special discounts. These types of interactions bring a sense of comfort to the households. And it also shows consumers that brands are trying to play their part and ease their stress. 

As we enter a time where consumers are more cautious, marketers need to monitor real-time conditions and align their efforts accordingly. Many organizations will consider lowering their ad spend. This provides an opportunity for others to increase their share and bring substantial benefits to the consumer. With new developments around COVID-19 emerging on a daily basis, advertisers have a real opportunity to make a difference. They can help by ensuring people can overcome their fear, while also setting the foundation for their companies to come out stronger.