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Advertising in a Pandemic Economy

By NCS Marketing

Months into the pandemic Americans are still spending more time at home, consuming both more groceries and more media. Meanwhile, lower advertiser demand across industries like automotive, entertainment and travel have caused ad inventory prices to drop. 

This confluence of factors present an enormous opportunity for consumer packaged goods brands to increase loyalty among existing customers, make in-roads with new ones and make the most of their ad dollars. 

Yet the current economic climate has left CPG advertisers with limitless questions. Should I advertise now? Where is the best place to advertise given all the changes in consumer behavior? Will consumers think we’re tone deaf if our creative doesn’t acknowledge the pandemic? Are consumers tired of hearing about the pandemic? 

Add to that the challenge of advertising on a limited budget, and there’s a lot for advertisers to consider on how to advertise effectively in this climate.

Lisa Kerins, who leads sales and client consulting for the publisher platform team at NCS, says that’s why advertisers and publishers should be advertising now more than ever, to gain insights frequently over the next several months. By using sales as a primary success metric to understand the impact of advertising in a time when consumers’ behaviors are rapidly changing, advertisers can follow the consumer and understand what is working, and where it’s working.


Since no playbook exists for advertising during these times, we decided to create one. Our team put together this
Playbook for Advertising Effectiveness to help CPG brands get the most out of their advertising. It covers the who, what, why, where and how of advertising during a pandemic, using real brand examples from the COVID era. Patrick Gut, who heads up Advertiser/Agency Sales at NCS, provides a sneak peak of some of the questions the playbook explores:


Your brand can achieve a substantial return on ad spend during the pandemic — but it requires precise targeting, strategic creative, and constant vigilance. Get answers to
five questions for effective advertising during a pandemic.

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Over the last year, we’ve seen significantly increased #chocolate sales at the grocery store. As we approach Valentine’s Day this weekend, we expect the trend to continue, perhaps for an extended period of time. https://t.co/p5nMHfelYA #ValentinesDay

Wondering why brands in certain categories are moving forward with advertising for the Big Game, while others are pulling back? The answer could lie in the growth (or lack there of) experienced by the entire category. https://t.co/nCBt4QcF7J