COVID-19 Themed Ads Surge, Approaches One Fifth Of All TV Creative Units

In the thick of massive TV advertising changes at the end of March through mid-April, Nielsen says the number of COVID-19-related TV ad creatives airing on national TV and local TV stations doubled over the three-week period.

For the week April 13 through 19, COVID-19 messages tied to major brands represented 19% or 491,839 ad units of the total amount of U.S. ad units on national and local TV -- which amounted to 2.62 million during that period, Nielsen says, compared to 10% for the week of March 30-April 5, when it comprised 251,414 units out of a total 2.52 million national/local TV units.

During that period, travel, retail and telecommunications categories dropped their overall number of creative units, while categories such as beer/wine and pharmaceuticals rose.



Many big brand national TV advertisers postponed current media schedules and/or canceled third-quarter national TV deals.

Nielsen cautions that brands going “totally dark for the rest of 2020 could be facing revenue declines of up to 11% in 2021.”

In a study Nielsen did with Wizer, a consumer research platform, it found that 72% of respondents considered a company's COVID-19-related efforts from commercials key when considering using a specific consumer packaged goods brand.

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