What the Pandemic Means for Ad Creative & Marketing Plans
Advertisers are seeking to understand how they should proceed with their campaigns in light of the pandemic. This week, the Westwood One blog looks at insights and recommended strategies for local retailers and national brands using some of the experts in marketing effectiveness and leading creative evaluation firms.
Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
73% plan to create new assets or modify creative in Q2. A just-released study from the IAB found that most agencies and brands expect to alter creative in the coming months.
There has been no reduction in advertising’s ability to connect with people and existing campaigns can continue. Orlando Wood, the Chief Innovation Officer for System1, the ad testing and tracking firm, revealed the results of a recent study where 100 ads were retested and compared to previous pre-virus scores, concluding that, “Brands can most likely continue with their pre-COVID-19 advertising.”
AM/FM radio ads with Coronavirus themes perform at 97% the creative impact of TV ads at one-fourth the CPM. CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One partnered with creative evaluation firm VERITONIC and tested 26 TV and AM/FM radio ads. AM/FM radio and TV ads with a COVID-19 theme performed similarly with the same impact at one-fourth the CPM.
COVID-19 AM/FM radio advertising effectiveness is running high. After testing 360 Coronavirus-themed ads across all media including 63 AM/FM radio ads, ABX found: Overall, consumer response to ads during the month of March improved +5%, even with no change in creative; Ads with COVID-19-related content performed better than non-COVID-19-related ads by a full +175%; All but five AM/FM radio ads with COVID-19-specific messages were above ABX norms and well above long-term AM/FM radio averages.
System1 finds what’s working and what’s not
System1 finds the following five elements are currently working better: Ads with established brand characters, ads that make use of familiar scenarios or tag-lines, ads set in a specific time and place in the past, ads that highlight the human connection in the current state of “betweenness,” and ads with a strong connection to local community and togetherness. The following are not performing as well: Ads that stress price and offers, focusing on things instead of people; ads that appeal to vanity; ads that rely too heavily on soundtracks; and aggressively competitive ads.
Local ads should be useful. Consumers want pragmatic and helpful information from local retailers: store hours; what the retailer is doing to help; how the store is cleaned and social-distanced; how the store is protecting employees.
35% already sick of, “We’re all in this together” ads. Ads thanking frontline workers generated the most positive brand favorability followed by COVID-19 discount offers; and creative highlighting brand donations and fundraisers. A full 35% indicate they are sick of, “We’re all in this together” ad copy.
There are seven guidelines for brands during this recession. Major points include a focus on emotion-driven brand advertising for national brands; and investing in lower-cost, long-term growth by increasing share of voice during the recession.