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Why suddenly running only COVID-19 feelgood ads is a bad idea

24 April 2020 (Edited 24 April 2020)

Kind of ads Americans say they want to see right now: 'informative' cited by 49%

Suddenly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers have raced to replace their normal, carefully crafted ad campaigns - demonstrated to be making sales and acquiring repeat customers - with ads apparently designed to demonstrate the advertiser's empathy with consumers who are suffering hardships because of COVID-19. (If you doubt that, be sure to watch the video, below.)

Of course most American consumers ARE suffering hardships because of COVID-19, but do they need to be reminded of that by advertisers?

Since businesses have been closed and stay-at-home orders put into place around the country, Americans have been consuming media at record rates, with impressions on some major news sites spiking, clickthrough rates doubling and sessions lasting up to 20% longer than before.

A survey conducted earlier this month by video ad platform Unruly found that only 2% of Americans want advertising to stop altogether, while 80% of people aged 18-44 reported increased cellphone use, and 60% of those aged 18-54 reported watching more TV.

Cutting back severely on "real" advertising at this time wastes a major opportunity. Ads can still be COVID-19-sensitive while driving business - current, or perhaps more importantly, future business - from all these captive, media-consuming people.

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David Boggs    - David
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