By Lilly Vitorovich
The message is simple: companies that continue to advertise during the coronavirus crisis will emerge quicker and stronger on the other end than those that hit the pause button in a desperate bid to save money.
Newly created media industry group the Premium Content Alliance on Monday launches a widespread media campaign outlining the benefits of advertising during a crisis, based on streams of data from previous economic crises.
The “When they go dark, the spotlight is yours” campaign is based on independent analysis of ad spending patterns during the 2008 global financial crisis by Peter Field from Britain’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. Brands that maintained or increased ad spending, relative to their competitors, gained market share during and following the economic crisis, according to the IPA’s research.
Kim Portrate, chief executive of the alliance, which was created by the nation’s major media companies, says businesses that maintain a high profile with consumers during COVID-19 will “come out faster and stronger than brands that go dark”.
“That’s the key thing, and we just wanted to make sure that we had that message in front of people who are making decisions about what they should do with their business and brands,” she said. The Australian media industry has seen a drop-in ad revenue, as companies, led by the travel sector, halt ad spending during the health and economic crisis.
In stark contrast, banks are spending big on ads after sharply pulling back last year following the Hayne royal commission. Supermarket chains are also spending money on ads, amid strong demand for groceries during the coronavirus crisis, while big service businesses such as insurance, telecom and energy companies are also investing.
Michael Miller, chairman of the alliance and executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, said “providing safe and trusted environments for brands is crucial in times of crisis”, noting the alliance’s members reach four out of five adult Australians every week.
“The evidence from previous periods of economic downturn confirms that now is the time for advertisers to shine, not go dark, and the campaign clearly communicates this message.”
Before COVID-19, the ad market was recovering, with ad spending down 5.3 per cent in February, compared with an 8.2 per cent drop in January, according to industry group Standard Media Index. Excluding digital media bookings, ad spending in March was driven by banks, toiletry and cosmetic companies. Healthcare, food, produce and dairy and home entertainment sectors also contributed.
The alliance was created in February by News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment, Seven West Media, Foxtel Group and Foxtel Media to promote the economic and brand benefits of investing in premium media content to advertisers and marketers.
The move to join forces is part of the industry’s push to claw back ad and marketing money that has gone to technology giants, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.
First published in The Australian