Brands are commonly advised to continue to advertise during a recession, but there are different considerations during a health-induced recession caused by disease; System1’s Orlando Wood offers some advice in The WARC Guide.

This month, The WARC Guide looks at marketing in the COVID-19 recession, including an assessment of consumer expectations of brands during the crisis. (Subscribers can read The WARC Guide to Marketing in the COVID-19 Recession in full here.)

Writing in The WARC Guide, Wood, chief innovation officer at System1, examines whether brands can continue to use their pre-existing work and how COVID-19 tactical response ads are connecting.

And he answers these questions by referencing an experiment and analysis drawn from System1’s advertising database, System1 tests every ad that airs on TV in the UK and US for emotional response and brand recognition, predicting its effectiveness in driving market share gain.

Retesting ads continuing to be shown during the crisis that were first tested in January and February showed very little change in the ability of pre-existing advertising to connect with audiences

“Brands can therefore feel re-assured that their pre-existing advertising will continue to connect following the crisis,” says Wood.

If that’s heartening, so too is the finding that all new ads appearing in lockdown seem to be connecting better with audiences today, and to be better branded, than those appearing in the same period in 2019.

And the same is true when looking specifically at tactical COVID-19 response ads, although when broken down to a brand level it becomes apparent that some categories fare better than others.

It’s not surprising that COVID-19 ads from telecoms brands and food providers perform more strongly than do those from auto brands, credit and financial services companies.

“For some brands, there are compelling reasons to create COVID-response advertising – you may want to promote or signal a change in a service or product, announce an initiative or re-assure your customers,” says Wood.

“For other brands, the case is less clear-cut. Unless there is a compelling reason to advertise, it might be best to air or re-edit current work.”

Read Orlando Wood’s article in full for more details on what sort of advertising is working during COVID-19 and what isn’t: How should brands advertise during COVID-19?.

WARC has also been running a series of webinars on marketing in the COVID-19 recession as part of its WARC Talks 360 series: you can find more information here.

The WARC Guide is a compilation of fresh new research and expert guidance with WARC’s editorial teams in New York, London, Singapore and Shanghai pulling in the best new thinking globally. It also showcases the best on WARC – case studies, best practice and data sourced from across the platform.

Sourced from WARC