Advertising in the Time of COVID-19

Ad campaigns

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in different ways. It has changed the way we travel, as most international and local flights are banned. It has also affected the way people communicate. People are avoiding direct contact and using technology such as Zoom or Skype to catch up on family and conduct their business. It has even affected the way we dream. Harvard researchers have found that trauma from the current crisis is inducing strange dreams in many people.

But not everything has been negative. Marketers and advertisers are responding to the pandemic, with ads that address people’s anxieties and how they could help. As a result, many have pulled out planned ad campaigns and scrambled to create new ones that would be more sympathetic. For now, it seems, companies are using three approaches when it comes to advertising: support, inform, and act.

Support Ads

These ads boost their target market’s morale. They encourage people to follow social distancing guidelines to show how much we care and love our friends and family. Some use advertising to show support to frontliners and their sacrifice. This brand earnestness often works in tough times. Many audiences respond to emotional manipulation because these simple gestures could acknowledge their anxieties.

Action Ads

Some companies do not cancel their campaigns. Instead, they improve or add on to their planned campaigns by donating supplies, equipment, or money to charitable organizations. These companies don’t use ads to show what they’re doing. They often use their social media and pay-per-click services to announce donations of equipment, easing of mortgage payments and loans, and even charity and donation runs of which they are the major supporter.

These kinds of ads show to their target audience that they are recognizing the situation and doing something to help them overcome the crisis.

Product Design Process

Inform Ads

Sometimes some companies just want to let you know that they are still open and could give you the things you’ve always wanted from them. Only now, you have to contact them in a different way: either you have to call a delivery number or they have a new process that ensures that everyone is following social distancing measures. Other companies also use this kind of ad to ease people’s concerns about hygiene and cleanliness and show how their staff will make sure that everyone follows social distancing rules. This type of ad can be used on social media or even in traditional advertising strategies.

Things Are Only Going to Get Stranger

And things will not go back to normal anytime soon. Most advertisers want to show how products and brands could change our lives for the best. But in the time of COVID-19, how is that possible? Companies must use their advertising to acknowledge the current reality and how their audiences can still live with a sense of normalcy, whether they’re pledging money, equipment, or support. And if they want to focus on the positive, they have no choice but to address how following health guidelines can save lives.

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