As the coronavirus pandemic progresses, companies are searching to find the right tone and message for their marketing. While some industries like travel and retail have cut back their ad spending, many companies are still heavily promoting their products and have pivoted their ad campaigns during the crisis. How are some of the world’s most recognisable companies re-envisioning their advertising in the times of the pandemic?
According to Nat Ives, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) CMO Today Editor, the coronavirus has upended everything and that definitely extends to marketers, all of whom laid out plans for the entire year well ahead of time and most of them had to tear up those plans.
Early on, as the pandemic spread and the world shut down, marketers had to act quickly to make sure their ads were still appropriate.
“The first thing that marketers did was slam on the brakes. They started pulling things down as quickly as they could. One of the example was that of Mint Mobile Ad in which somebody put queso dip in somebody else’s mouth which is kind of horrifying but that was the joke even in the first place but it became really quite horrifying in the context of what everybody was suddenly going through.”
Mint Mobile said they were considering pulling the ad when Twitter users started mocking it. That sped up their decision to quickly remove the spot.
“That’s just one example of creative that had to be tailored, taken off the air, removed or uprooted as soon as people realised the severity of what was going on.”
Once the dated ads were pulled, marketers decided they still needed to come out with comforting messages.
“So they said, I’ve gotta stay relevant. What can we do to stay current and present while locked at home? And so they figured out ways to make ads from their homes that reflected what their audiences were doing at home. So all of a sudden you say an enormous amount of ads showing empty streets, people at home, it became repetitive.”
Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB Worldwide: “It’s been proven now that during a crisis or a recession, the brands and the companies that keep investing and keep their message out there actually come out of it much stronger.”
Now brands are looking out ways to move out of the public service announcement phase.
“You will see a lot of safety advertising but also a lot of tension in marketing as advertisers try not to overplay that message.”
The longer-term outlook for advertisers and the industry that rely on it like much of the rest of the economy is uncertain.
“It’s very hard to tell how much the ad industry is going to look like the ad industry we knew a year ago, even once we have a vaccine and life gets back to something like normal.”
It should come as no surprise that the tone of TV adverts has changed. Advertising is all about selling us temptations and dreams, shopping, dining out and going on holiday. But the lockdown has changed the perspective and now social distancing is the new norm. So the advertising industry is finding new and creative ways to alter its messaging.
Before Covid-19 it was already a challenging time for the traditional ad industry because of greater spending on digital spots. Traditional ad spending is expected to fall by 12% this year according to media research group Magna. But it might also turn out to be a bumpy ride for even Facebook and Google in this pandemic. According to a report, Facebook and Google together could lose over $44 billion in ad revenue in 2020 because of Covid-19.
Making ads has changed a lot under current health guidance but digital agencies are not giving up. CGI and virtual studios are getting the work in place of traditional photographers and filmmakers. According to Andria Vidler, Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO, TAG says that CGI is achieving enormous amounts. “The way that CGI and AI are adapting to create new things all the time means that actually you don’t need to have had the original shoot and so all of the risks around location management, finding the right people actually can be avoided”, says her.
Consumers also want a different kind of marketing during this pandemic. In these uncertain times, resourcefulness, creativity and the public’s input could be the key to making ads that the public will still watch and listen to.
But the lockdown has changed the perspective and now social distancing is the new norm. So the advertising industry is finding new and creative ways to alter its messaging
CGI and virtual studios are getting the work in place of traditional photographers and filmmakers
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