Why advertise now?

“They say, timing is everything. But then they say, there is never a perfect time for anything.”
Anthony Liccione

In these unprecedented, uncertain and difficult times, one of the most difficult challenges for brands is whether (and indeed how) they should continue with their marketing activity. Businesses are having to change the way they operate, as well as the way they market their products and services. Given the gravity of the current situation and the worldwide panic surrounding it, it’s easy for advertisers to think that pulling all their advertising is the right thing to do, however this may have implications for long term brand health. Evidence shows that maintaining ad spend during a slowdown boosts profitability and market share during recovery.

People look to the familiar and the trusted, including brands, for reassurance during times of stress, and for the longterm health of your brand it is important to stand out – but for the right reasons. Brands will be under scrutiny, and advertising must be appropriate and relevant, addressing the new needs and concerns of the public during this time.

Ironically, its never been a better time to book traditional media, with media channels being more flexible and adaptable than ever before, keen to recover cancelled bookings and revenue, so there are significant discounts, added value and increased audiences to be tapped into, as we re-evaluate the media mix in this climate.

Not surprisingly, “At Home” media consumption has risen considerably with digital, TV, VOD and radio enjoying huge audience surges at this time so there is the opportunity to benefit from increased audience availability, to grow & maintain share of voice in a highly cost effective way.

TV advertising represents phenomenal value at the moment – with families cocooning at home, TV is definitely the ‘go to’ media for news, as well as entertainment and escapism. Thinkbox’s latest viewing report shows consistent increases in viewing time, and daily reach across all audiences. Some of the highest increases have been for younger and upmarket audiences. There have also been huge increases in viewing for 16-34s and ABC1s adults, with late morning and lunchtime viewing near double the same period last year. This captive audience is now available to buy at significantly lower cost than usual with extra value being bolted onto campaigns, whilst late booking penalties are waived as stations endeavour to entice advertisers on air.

There is huge confidence in radio at the moment, providing a trusted source of news, whilst continuing to offer advertisers value-for-money audience delivery, and now we can tap into vastly increased listener numbers and hours of listening, as well as availing of the flexibility the platform offers – ads can be turned around quickly to respond to market changes.

Outdoor advertising has experienced a colossal shock over the past number of weeks since lockdown. Huge changes to how we have been asked to live our daily lives has impacted its audience. However, outdoor advertising is well placed to work with government, commercial brands and charities as they seek to deliver contextually sensitive content. The reactive real time capabilities of Digital OOH and the short lead time means advertisers can activate new or updated messaging quickly. Retail, in particular is a powerful environment at present – anyone who has been to a supermarket recently can testify to the high footfall and long queues. Dwell times at stores offer brands the chance to reassure but also add some levity and a light touch – even an opportunity to make us smile, rather than an overtly commercial message. At this time, there is the chance to avail of a multitude of late offers, deals and discounts as cancelled campaigns open up new opportunities for other brands – availability, at short notice, for once, is not an issue! To encourage activity within the market, media owners have been offering special rates, with some reducing costs by up to 60% or offering additional bonus plays.

As restrictions are gradually lifted, audience habits will shift again, and our media strategies will adapt accordingly – and these changing market conditions will no doubt impact on media pricing and availability as the rush to get back on air commences. But we don’t have to wait – people will remember the brands that were there for them, and did the right thing, those who helped, and were visible (and audible) – those companies will come out stronger, more valued and relevant.

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