Just a few months after the first reported cases were announced Covid-19 has been pronounced a pandemic by the WHO. All sectors will be negatively affected by Covid-19; the marketing and advertising industry is no exception. Many marketing campaigns have been cancelled and estimates of global ad spend are expected to plummet. In times of crisis, advertising and marketing budgets are often first to face cuts. How advertisers react to this crisis and tailor their campaigns accordingly on smaller budgets will determine how brands will fare in the long term.

Inventive advertising strategies are needed

As the pandemic negatively affects global markets, advertisers must develop inventive strategies to market products. Advertising companies must now take the l step of embracing the digital economy fully if they are to survive the crisis. The focus must be placed on TV, streaming platforms, social media and gaming advertising. As more people look to these home entertainment during this crisis ad spends are expected to vastly increase, especially on streaming services.

Brands that adapt their marketing campaigns to the situation will also fair well. Bud Light launched its first “Bud Light Dive Bar Tour: Home Edition,” which streamed on Instagram, featuring country music star Jake Owen performing from his own home. The free show drew around 4,000 live viewers and featured a cross-promotion with alcohol delivery service Drizly, which gave people $5 off their orders with a promo code. Harnessing available and widely used technology to market products in innovative ways will be critical for brands to remain relevant through the crisis.

Proactive brands will fare better

Anheuser-Busch InBev, UK craft beer company Brew Dog and LVMH have all begun producing hand sanitizer. Furthermore, Kraft Heinz Co. announced it will donate $12 million in cash and food globally to help address the pandemic. In Spain, 35 agencies, including offices of BBDO, DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy, and McCann, have come together announcing initiative calling on brands to recognize their responsibility to help fight the pandemic. Proactive brands with sensitive advertising will fare better both during and after the crisis than evasive counterparts.

Despite the potentially negative effects of Covid-19 on the advertising industry in the short term, over time the brands that adapt to the new environment, use available technologies intelligently, and address the current situation head on, will be the front runners of the future.

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