Rahul Sachitanand
Mar 26, 2020

Brands must desist from freezing advertising plans: Kantar

Consumers want them to focus more on their employees' wellness and not exploit the pandemic for business gain

Over three-quarters of respondents want brands to reassure them how they are being helpful in the time of COVID-19
Over three-quarters of respondents want brands to reassure them how they are being helpful in the time of COVID-19

Despite battling frozen or shrunken marketing budgets, brands must desist from entirely stopping their advertising, a new study of 25,000 consumers from Kantar has revealed. The top findings from this study suggests that rather than stopping their advertising, consumers expect brands to look after their employees and implement flexible working plans to support them. 

However, in terms of actual business impact, as many brands consider going dark to save costs, Kantar estimates that a six-month absence from TV will result in a 39% reduction in total brand communication awareness, potentially delaying recovery in the post-pandemic world.

For those brands that plan to keep their advertising going, there are likely to be a change in focus. Over three-quarters of respondents want brands to talk about how the entity is helpful in this new everyday life, even as a similar number expect consumers to be informed about their efforts to face the situation. Meanwhile, in terms of the tonality, 70% of consumers expect brands to adopt a reassuring tone, but strikingly a full 75% say brands should not exploit this pandemic to promote themselves blatantly and 40% say humorous tones should be avoided.

Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, media usage is following a growing number of people staying or confined to their homes. In later stages of the pandemic, web browsing increases by 70%, followed by (traditional) TV viewing increasing by 63% and social media engagement increasing by 61% over normal usage rates.

In terms of messaging platforms, Whatsapp's usage was up 40% increase in usage; in the early phase of the pandemic usage increases 27%, in mid-phase 41% and countries in the late phase of the pandemic see an increase of 51%. Increased usage across all messaging platforms has been biggest in the 18-34 age group. Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram have all experienced a 40%+  increase in usage from under 35-year olds.  

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