Advertising Increases During COVID-19

Part
01
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Part
01

Advertising Increases During COVID-19 (2)

Five examples of companies that have increased their advertising or continued advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic are General Mills, Domino's Pizza, Clorox, Nike, and Postmates.

General Mills

  • According to AdAge, General Mills has boosted its marketing spend during COVID-19.
  • General Mills makes manufactures many products like Cheerios, Old El Paso taco shells, and other shelf-stable food items that are "suited for at-home meals" during quarantine.
  • One reason General Mills Chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening believes the company needs to advertise during the crisis is because "people look for things they know in times like these [and] our brands tend to do fairly well because it offers comfort."
  • Additionally, General Mills wants to help consumers maintain a sense of normalcy in a time that is anything but normal.
  • Channels through which General Mills is currently advertising include television and social media.
  • Some of its social media ads tout the company's commitment to helping during the crisis, including "committing $5 million in charitable gifts to ensure food access worldwide."
  • Examples of General Mills' social media marketing can be found here.

Domino's Pizza

Clorox

  • Clorox has increased its advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is a cleaning product and will likely see a boost in product sales.
  • On February 24, Clorox launched a new digital ad that included text that emphasized its Clorox Wipes are effective at killing 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.
  • According to Numerator, disinfectants like Clorox have increased their ad spend for television, mobile, digital, and online display.
  • On social media, Clorox is sharing tips on how to use Clorox products to make a disinfectant, how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and science experiments that parents can set up for their kids during homeschooling.
  • Examples of Clorox's advertisements can be found here.

Nike

  • Nike continued to advertise during the COVID-19 pandemic and initiated an entirely new campaign asking people to play inside to comply with social distancing recommendations.
  • The ad, which appeared on social media, used the hashtags #playinside and #playfortheworld. Nike's post stated, "Now more than ever, we are one team."
  • The text of the ad was "If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance. Play inside, play for the world." The text was followed by Nike's swoosh logo.
  • Additionally, the advertisement was re-posted by "Nike's brand ambassadors including Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James."
  • Nike also created a 60-second television ad with the same theme that features people working out in various rooms of their homes. It states that while they may not be playing for packed stadiums or for their countries yet, they are playing for the world.
  • The reason Nike continued advertising during the crisis is to "echo or amplify their message." These ads are in line with Nike's values, so the brand took the opportunity to continue to highlight its brand message, which is that everyone can be heroes.
  • Examples of Nike's advertisements can be found here.

Postmates

  • Food delivery company Postmates, launched a new advertisement campaign called #OrderLocal, "which features a number of celebrities praising their favorite local restaurants."
  • Postmates has seen its business increase dramatically as restaurants have closed or gone to takeout and delivery services only during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • One reason it created a new campaign is because, according to CMO Eric Edge, "Postmates is, and always has been, local first and we wanted to call attention to the hundreds of thousands of small businesses on our platform."
  • The company asked celebrities in Los Angeles to "highlight some of their favorite restaurants and encourage others to order from their own favorites, helping remind people to support local businesses during these challenging times."
  • Celebrities included in the campaign are Mario Lopez, Jamie Lynn Sigler, Meghan Trainor, Cody Bellinger, Tiffany Haddish, Bella Thorne, and Mindy Kaling.
  • Screenshots from Postmates' #OrderLocal campaign can be found here.

Research Strategy

Very little information was available on brands that had increased their advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we found a few examples that expressly stated they had increased their efforts, including General Mills and Clorox, most brands were highlighted because they continued advertising during the crisis. Therefore, we assumed that if a brand continued advertising with specific COVID-19-related ads during the crisis that they were increasing their spend because they would not have created these ads if the virus did not exist.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Advertising Increases During COVID-19 (1)

Five examples of companies that have continued advertising during the COVID-19 crisis by developing COVID-19-related campaigns are DoorDash, Ford, Zoom, CocaCola, and Mucinex.

DoorDash

  • DoorDash initiated a new campaign called "Open For Delivery" in mid-March, but "the brand isn't just out to promote itself, but restaurant delivery overall, including competing brands, such as Uber Eats and Grubhub."
  • The campaign includes television spots in the U.S. and Canada, social media posts, and a dedicated website.
  • Restaurants that are featured in DoorDash's campaign include Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Cheesecake Factory, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Cracker Barrel, McDonald’s, Wingstop, Cactus Club, East Side Mario’s, Harvey’s, Joey Restaurants, Kelsey’s and Montana’s.
  • Local restaurants like "Katz’s Delicatessen and Roberta’s Pizza from New York, and Din Tai Fung, Esceula Taqueria, Gjusta and Uncle Paulies from Los Angeles" are also promoted in the campaign.
  • The 30-second television spot is titled "There for You" and shows several empty dining rooms along with shots of chefs still preparing meals in kitchens.
  • On Twitter, DoorDash posted the following: "We’re all in this together. So why don’t all you restaurants out there help each other out and remind everyone that you're still #OpenForDelivery and taking orders on DoorDash, @ubereats, @postmates, @grubhub, @caviar, or whoever your go-to happens to be!"
  • The reason DoorDash is increasing its advertising during COVID-19 is because it is a food delivery company that can boost its business during a time when restaurants are only allowed to provide delivery or pickup services.
  • Screenshots of DoorDash's advertising campaign can be found here.

Ford

  • Prior to the pandemic, Ford was getting ready to launch an advertising campaign for its Escape and Explorer vehicles during the March Madness Tournament.
  • However, the tournament was cancelled and rather than pull back on advertising, Ford quickly changed directions and created "two new ads around providing Ford Credit customers some breathing room around their car payments."
  • The company recognized "that its typical ads weren’t going to work" and as Ford’s director of U.S. marketing Matt VanDyke stated, "It’s important to be reassuring right now and not trying to say to people 'Rush into your car dealership for a sales event'."
  • Ford is primarily using television to convey the message to Ford Credit customers, having created two 30-second spots. They are titled "Built to Lend a Hand" and "Built for Right Now."
  • The company is also increasing its advertising on social media because most of its advertising spend relies on live sports, which have been mostly been cancelled.
  • Ford also intends to continue advertising throughout the crisis because "the company—as a major brand, manufacturer, and employer—is well aware that it has a role to play in the overall recovery."
  • Screenshots of Ford's advertising efforts can be found here.

Zoom

  • In January 2020, ad spending from communications companies like Zoom, Go To Meeting, Slack, and others was $10 million, but in March 2020, ad spending for this sector reached $24 million, and Zoom is a top spender.
  • A main reason why Zoom is increasing its spending during the COVID-19 pandemic is because more people are working at home and need a way to conduct meetings.
  • One channel that Zoom is using is print, as can be seen by its "Shorten the Distance" print ad that was published in early April 2020.
  • It is also using social media to place humorous ads that ask users to "Choose Your Fighter," as in which animal is most like which type of Zoom user.
  • Zoom has also invested more in social media, with ads like "We Care" and "Proform Integration."
  • Screenshots of Zoom's advertising efforts can be found here.

CocaCola

  • In late March 2020, CocaCola used its billboard in Times Square to "spread health advice amid COVID-19."
  • The traditional CocaCola font was spread out with additional spaces between the letters and the phrase "Staying apart is the best way to stay united" was displayed under the spaced logo.
  • The reason this advertisement was launched is that CocaCola had to implement new procedures for its factories and delivery drivers to avoid person-to-person contact, so it wanted to convey that the company is doing its part amid the breakout.
  • It also wanted to bring social distancing to the attention of people in Times Square as it is a place where crowds are known to gather.
  • A screenshot of the CocaCola billboard can be found here.

Mucinex

  • Mucinex, a pharmaceutical brand, "launched an exhaustive series of informational ads promoting facts about COVID-19 in an attempt to combat misinformation."
  • Its reason for increasing its advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Mucinex’s VP of marketing, Claudine Patel, is to "help calm the nervousness and point people to the right information where we can, and be a helper during this time."
  • The campaign created advertisements for digital, social media, print, and out-of-home channels and is set to run through April 2020.
  • All informational ads begin with "Spread Facts, Not Fear" and feature a fact about COVID-19 along with a website dedicated to providing reliable information about the virus.
  • An example of a fact that is on the advertisements is "It's currently unknown if coronavirus is affected by the weather." This particular ad features a cloud partially covering a virus particle.
  • Examples of Mucinex's advertisements can be found here.

Research Strategy

Very little information was available on brands that had increased their advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we found a few examples that expressly stated they had increased their efforts, including DoorDash and Zoom, most brands were highlighted because they continued advertising during the crisis. Therefore, we assumed that if a brand continued advertising with specific COVID-19-related ads during the crisis that they were increasing their spend because they would not have created these ads if the virus did not exist.
Sources
Sources