The Coronavirus has taken over the world as we once knew it. Affecting every industry globally, from school closings to businesses closing, the Coronavirus is certainly creating a tough economic time. Industries from sports to travel are taking major negative hits. Theme parks like Disney in Shanghai and Hong Kong are temporarily closed. Major conferences like SXSW are being canceled. It’s an interesting time for the advertising industry who is no stranger to disruptions.
A few companies have had to pull ad campaigns due to the current economic situation. KFC had a Finger Lickin Good campaign running with a commercial showing people from all over the world licking their fingers. Considering the heightened awareness of health, the campaign was bad timing. According to FastCompany.com, “163 people have reportedly complained to the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority about the ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ spots.” resulting in KFC pulling the spots. Hershey’s also made a decision to recently pull some ads in which people were hugging and shaking hands. Hershey Co. chief marketing officer Jill Baskin told AdAge, “Sadly, we have decided to temporarily replace two of our ads that feature human interaction, that include hugging and handshakes, due to the current sensitivities surrounding the COVID-19 virus. At this time, our ads have been replaced with product-centric spots.” CoorsLight also recently announced that they are pulling a March Madness campaign stating that they are the beer of working remotely. Concerned that they are taking advantage of the pandemic, Coors made a smart decision to pull the campaign. More companies have to adjust their tones and campaigns as the disruption continues.
Coronavirus is also affecting ad spend, according to the WallStreetJournal, “Publicis Groupe’s Zenith said this week it would lower its December prediction of a 4.3% rise in global ad spending this year due to the coronavirus.” Early indications show ad spending taking a hit except for TV spots. However, according to AdAge, “NBCUniversal, meanwhile, said this week that ad sales have remained robust for for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics—the company has surpassed $1.25 billion in ad sales, a new Olympics record—as parent company Comcast and the IOC reaffirmed their commitment to the summer games amid coronavirus concerns.”
The advertising industry is likely to keep suffering, like most industries, during this economic crisis. The Times now expects total ad revenue to decline in the mid-teens in percentage terms this quarter, with digital advertising revenue expected to shrink 10%. It previously had been anticipating total ad revenue to drop about 10%, with digital falling in the mid-single digits.
What are your thoughts on how the advertising industry should face its current challenges?