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It’s been said that “When times are good, you should be advertising; when times are tough, you must advertise.” Here’s why.

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Our day-to-day lives have entered a new normal. In order to help “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are experiencing nationwide stay-in-place orders—movie theaters are closed, restaurants are only open for take-out (if they’re open at all), and many of our regular activities are postponed indefinitely. As our daily lives change, our habits change with them­–especially our media habits.

With nowhere to go and only so many jigsaw puzzles to entertain the kids with, in-home data usage increased 38% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. This means people are consuming 60% more content than previously recorded with major increases in Internet searches and Americans spending an estimated 400 billion minutes on streaming platforms.

No matter how people are spending their time online, they are seeing advertisements everywhere they look, which is great news for advertisers. On a normal day, 20% of users who see a digital ad will do research related to the advertising brand. One-third of those users will spend time on the brand’s website, spending more time than the user who stumbles upon the site organically. This means more traction for the brand’s website and, therefore, increased brand recognition.

Advertising During Crisis

It’s been said that “When times are good, you should be advertising; when times are tough, you must advertise.” Why? Because when the tough times end, your brand will be front and center in the minds of consumers.

When your competitors stop advertising, there is significantly less noise in your market meaning your brand gets more exposure. Even when times are tough, out of sight means out of mind—don’t let your business be the one that’s forgotten.


Now you know you should be advertising right now, you’re probably wondering what you should be advertising right now. It’s important you find a way to use this opportunity to help your business without exploiting the situation. In times of crisis, four types of messages perform the best: changing focus, action, support, and local. 

Changing Focus: If your business is still open, but with new methods of operation, let your audience know. Whether you’re a restaurant offering contactless delivery or pick-up or a business that has shifted to offering only online meetings with clients, tell people! For example, La Croix Church in Cape Girardeau has adjusted its operation by offering online worship during their normal worship times. By advertising this change, they were able to inform their regular audience and gain attention from regular church-goers whose churches aren’t able to offer the same service. 

Action: What is your business doing to help the community during this pandemic? Many businesses have halted their normal operations to do their part by making personal protective equipment or donating meals to those in need.

One of our favorite campaigns using this type of messaging is Budweiser’s “One Team” campaign. They acknowledge that they’ve shifted the budget they usually use for advertising during sporting events to give back to help nurses and doctors who are serving COVID-19 patients. They also add they’re allowing their stadiums to host blood drives for the Red Cross. They aren’t selling you a beer, instead, they’re simply sharing their mission and letting you know what they’re doing to help. You can watch their ad below (just so you know, if you cry, it’s OK because we certainly did). 

Support: The support message is there to tell your community that you’re there for them, even if you can’t be physically there. There’s a couple of ways you can do this. Maybe you’re just offering love and a smile to remind people of your brand, as Buffalo Wild Wings did with this ad. Maybe you’re offering a “buy one, give one” deal where with every purchase of a meal or product, one is donated to someone in need. Whatever you’re doing, make sure your support for your community is the highlight of the ad. 

Local: Despite everything, people still need the essentials like food and supplies. If you’re a small local business still offering these things, now is the time to get your name out there. Combine this message with an action, support or change in focus message and you’re set. 

Remember, your company’s message today will affect your business tomorrow. When this ends—and it will end—make sure your business is one that is remembered as taking the health and safety of the community seriously and doing what you can to help. 

How We Can Help

In the last month, Element 74 has adjusted its ways of operation. Instead of working in our brand new office, we’re all working remotely to keep our team and community safe while still doing what we can to serve local businesses. That means we’re still working for you, we just have to meet over Zoom instead of face-to-face. 

If your business is looking for ways to connect with your community, we can help. We can help your business weather this storm by using our advanced behavioral targeting to get the right message to the right audience. To get started, give us a call at 573-332-7474 or send an email to We’re ready to help you today!

Jared Chandler

About the Author

Jared Chandler
Jared Chandler is Element 74's Business Development Manager.

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