How to Advertise During COVID-19

The 2020 pandemic has been felt by everyone across the planet, so invariably, this has also changed the way people are prioritising, valuing and viewing areas of their life. As such, the way advertisers design campaigns should also change to match the current needs, concerns and mood of its audience.

Drawing from recent research, in this article we’ll take a look at how to advertise during COVID-19, including tips for tone, messaging, and placement of your ads to ensure you stay true to yourself and communicate effectively with audiences.

8 Tips for Advertising During COVID-19 

Avoid laying low 

It may be tempting to conserve your resources, money and creative output and ‘lay low’ with advertising – but this is actually the opposite of what you should be doing. Rather, you should be there for customers during this time, like an ally, and it’s important to communicate this sentiment. Also, audiences are looking for distraction from pandemic news and a sense of normality. If you have the ad spend to play with, it’s important not to get pushed into the back of your audience’s mind by staying silent this year. 

A softer, more authentic approach 

With the world tense and worried, it’s perhaps not the time for the hard sell. Rather than blunt, buy this language, instead opt for a softer tone of voice. In these uncertain times, consumers are looking for certainty and a friendly, caring voice from brands. This has seen many companies switch from a sell sell sell attitude to a we’re all in this together approach. 

Another element of this is staying true to your brand and values, and really channeling your authentic voice. The Kantar COVID-19 barometer report tells us that around 64% of consumers are looking for brands to convey their company values in their messaging. Again, it seems this reassuring and positive approach is one that consumers will remember and respond to during these times. 

Be flexible 

The pandemic has certainly been unpredictable, with everything changing by the week. As such, you should try and weave some flexibility into your campaigns using Digital Out of Home. For example, if you’d planned a campaign centered on enjoying lunch with friends or going to the beach, you may want to rethink these proposals. Rather than ditching the whole campaign, consider how you could creatively respond and approach from a different and more COVID-sensitive angle. 

Responsible messaging 

Tying in with the above point, is your messaging responsible? One big example is KFC who temporarily dropped their Finger Lickin’ Good slogan, conscious that it wasn’t perhaps the right message to send during a pandemic. Consider your brand and also your standard approach to communication – is there anything that needs to be tweaked to ensure you’re communicating only responsible messages? 

Tasteful humour 

While you certainly shouldn’t mock the situation or take it too lightly, some tasteful humour could go a long way to warming audiences to your brand. A positive tone of voice in general is welcome, and any urgent or scaremongering language should be avoided. However, take care not to go to the other extreme and crack too many jokes about what is essentially a serious situation. It’s all about getting the balance right, which is exactly what Emily Crisps did with their first Out of Home campaign during the first UK national lockdown.

Love your local   

While this pandemic is playing out on a global level, it actually seems to be connecting people more with their local area. This includes a drive to support local businesses, so if you fall under this category, it may be wise to display some local pride in your advertising campaigns. If there are any good causes to get involved with in your neighbourhood, this is a great way to do your bit for the area, while also connecting and listening to customers. 

Scotland Billboard

Plan for the future 

Foreseeing the future is tricky at the best of times, and especially during the coronavirus situation. However, positioning yourself for the future is still important. Just make sure to be flexible in your plans and keep your ear to the ground on the changing situation. You may also want to analyse trends that have emerged during the past year. For example, are customers engaging with you differently now? Are you noticing that they have different priorities? Try and factor in these changes into future plans. 

Choose out of home advertising 

The whole world seems to be online, but actually more people are out and about than you might think. Support your social media and television campaigns with out-of-home advertisements at bus shelters, supermarkets and in other locations still visited by the general public. Plan out where your advertising spaces will need to be placed to ensure the maximum reach and visibility. Digital out of home advertising spots have the added benefit of being switched on and off at times that suit the needs of your campaign and the behaviours of your audience. 

Ensure your adverts are seen at the right time by the right people. Here at Clear Channel Direct, we have a network of prime out-of-home advertising spots to help companies reach their local, and national, audience. Simply get in touch today, and together we’ll devise a campaign strategy that works for you and your audience.

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