Advertising During the Coronavirus

Taking the right action during a rapidly changing situation can be especially challenging
in the advertising and marketing world, where things are meticulously planned out
months in advance. Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, there have been major
unprecedented shifts. Employees are now working from home, office doors are closed to the public and advertisements are changing or being completely pulled.

Many veteran marketers have faced plenty of adversity in the past, such as the 9/11
terrorist attacks and the 2008 recession, along with severe natural disasters. However, the coronavirus has a worldwide impact on both the population and businesses. It’s in
times like these that it is most important to have strong leaders, have open communication with clients, and to adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.
Advertising is being watched under a microscope right now, making it extremely important for marketers to set the right tone by either tabling production, reorganizing, or starting from scratch.

Hershey is setting an excellent example by reworking their marketing strategy. They recently changed their original advertisement of strangers hugging and shaking hands over gifts of chocolate. They noted in the statement that the “human interaction” could be perceived as problematic since people are practicing social distancing during this time. Another prime example of shifting marketing strategy to adjust to all that is happening is set by QuickBooks. They switched their ad campaign to support small businesses. They redirected their original campaign, where they gave a nod to some classic films like Ghostbusters and Karate Kid. Instead, they bought TV ads to direct consumers to donate to a new Small Business Relief Fund. With a voiceover that states, “QuickBooks salutes the grit and determination of those who work for themselves—they’re the backbone of our economy, and in these challenging times, they’re adapting to support their communities.” They are encouraging viewers to donate to the fund, created by QuickBooks this way. They are still promoting their brand while adjusting to the current circumstance of the nation.

There are also brands that are developing new strategies entirely based on the current
circumstances, like Bud Light. Many pop stars are performing virtual concerts during the Coronavirus outbreak and Bud Light decided to jump in on the action by creating
“Bud Light Dive Bar Tour: Home Edition.” They organized their first concert featuring
country music star Jake Owen. “Live at the @budlight Dive Bar Tour: House Edition: Come have some beers and hang with us.” They seized an opportunity to collaborate
with artists and promote their brand while also promoting people staying home.

While many have had to redirect their strategies completely, others have found that
moving forward with their original concepts may be even more appropriate. Coldwell
Banker recently went through a rebrand with a campaign aimed at “Guiding You
Home.” Although this has been in the works since last fall, CMO David Marien felt it was
the best decision to move forward. “Because it’s a heartfelt message, we thought it
would be striking the right chord,” Marine said. “It was always based on what we thought
the audience needed.”

As we continue as marketers to assess the global situation, it is apparent that one thing
is clear. Now is not the time to put your marketing on hold. However, it is essential to remain conscientious of the effects this pandemic is having on people around the world and it is not to be taken lightly. Plan ahead for the best, worst, and moderate- case scenarios to anticipate all possible changes that may lie ahead. Be aware and address your audience with how your brand is taking the right step forward in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

If you are looking for help in adjusting your marketing strategy during this time, please
email us at or call (334)790-9785 for Brand New Ideas.

Posted: Mar 27, 2020