Less than 10% of consumers believe businesses should stop advertising campaigns during the Coronavirus pandemic, according to Kantar.
The global study of 35,000 consumers found just 8% are calling for advertisers to halt their activity. It comes as some small business owners and marketing teams question whether or not it’s right to continue advertising at this time, with a large number pulling or amending their campaigns.
Although 92% believe advertisers shouldn’t stop their campaigns, there are clear expectations of what those campaigns should be at such a serious and significant time for so many people around the world. Seventy-eight per cent believe brands should support them get through their new daily lives, 75% said ad campaigns should inform consumers of what they’re doing to help tackle Coronavirus and 74% believe the campaigns should not exploit the situation.
The majority of respondents said advertisers should use a reassuring tone, communicate brand values or offer a positive outlook in their messaging. More than half also think companies should communicate in the same way they have.
There have been mixed responses to many campaigns marketed by some of the world’s biggest brands. Nike and Adidas have continued to advertise heavily, but have focused on the importance of staying indoors and exercising at home. Campaigns such as those have largely been received very well. Others, however, have received mixed reviews. BrewDog’s hand sanitiser is one. The craft beer chain revealed it was using its distilleries to produce hand sanitiser, but critics suggested the heavy branding on bottles amounted to taking advantage of the situation.
“That gives a sense of how delicate the balance is at the moment,” says Kantar Insights chief innovation officer, Rosie Hawkins.
“There is a need to talk about brands, but to do so in a way that supports governments and consumers and is not exploitative.”
Kantar said consumers are looking far more favourably at brands and businesses that are looking after their employees’ health and safety at this time, compared with those offering discounts.