The Way Back For Advertisers After COVID-19

Advertising and performance marketing have hit an inflection point in the road back home, which refers to pre-pandemic days of walking into a grocery store or retail store without a mask. In California, retail stores -- mostly direct-to-consumer -- are opening up.

For example, emails this morning sent from Arizona Leather and Jenni Kayne tell me local stores are opening with some restrictions.  

The big question for advertisers becomes when to shift their marketing message and how to stop talking about, yet still acknowledge, the importance of staying safe.

Data released Monday from CivicScience suggest about half of consumers are ready to resume life and don’t particularly want to see ads that talk about sheltering in place, while the other half are very supportive of them. The data was collected between May 6 and May 11.

People who want to resume many normal activities once their state opens are much more likely to disapprove of ads that reference the fact they are asked to stay home or wear a mask, while those who plan to be cautious or remain in quarantine don’t mind the ads at all. I think they want to put things in the past. 

When asked to what extent they approve or disapprove of businesses referencing the lockdowns in their advertising, 58% who plan to remain in quarantine approve versus 20% who disapprove. Some 51% who plan to resume some normal activities approve, compared with 25% who disapprove. Some 28% who said they would resume all or most normal activities approve, compared with 45% who disapprove.

Overall, about half of the general population participating in the survey approve to some extent of businesses referencing the fact that they are asked to remain at home, while nearly 30% disapprove of it.

Men disapprove more than women. Women are likely to approve of such ads that speak to the current at-home experience, at 53%, compared with 47% of men.

Current job status also plays a major factor. Adults who worked prior to the pandemic or those who had their hours cut or lost their job altogether are the most likely to approve of stay-at-home messages in marketing or advertising.

Some 51% of those with reduced hours, who are paid but are not working, or are not getting paid approve. About 33% in this category disapprove, and 16% are not sure how they feel.

As states move to reopen there have been numerous studies done on how consumers feel in a BIGtoken study released Tuesday, 67% of respondents are fearful that an early reopening can lead to the spread of the virus. Some 32% of respondents said they will immediately go out for non-essential services as soon as they open, 50.6% said they will travel to another state when it’s allowed, and 67% plan to gather with friends and family.

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