The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more scathing and overwhelming in its impact. Compared to the first wave, the second wave has been more malignant with COVID cases spreading like wildfire. Quite evidently, the question of imposing a lockdown has been propping up to contain the virus. Though the nation is yet to go under a lockdown, strict measures are being imposed in different states to ‘flatten the curve.’ Just when the industry was slowly recovering from the last year’s slowdown, this sudden surge of COVID cases comes as a jolt.
The year 2020 taught the advertisers to cope up with the new normal. Brands devised new ways to stay connected with their consumers. Ad agencies paid key roles in the upkeep of businesses. They kept churning out innovative techniques to keep the consumers hooked. While businesses started to finally look up since the vaccination drive, the general consensus rules out the probability of a nationwide lockdown.
The impact of lockdowns on the advertising industry:
Partial lockdowns, night curfews and containment zones are likely to affect a few business sectors like retail, F&B, and cinema. Rohit Ohri, the CEO and Group Chairman of FCB India, remarks that the weekend curfews and lockdowns have been gravely impacting the retail and entertainment businesses. Thus the COVID surge does not look so well for these sectors as the weekends are the time when they have the maximum turnovers. Consequently, there is a sudden drop in market demand, fostering a negative sentiment in the industry. For instance, Maharashtra almost has a total shutdown, save for the essential service providers and workers.
Anil K Nayar, the CEO of VMLY&R India, fears the negative impact of lockdowns on businesses just before the festive season. 2021 has the IPL season, cricket world cup, and an Olympics lined up. These are red-letter events in the industry’s calendar. After a slow 2020, advertisers were looking forward to these events to perform better and boost consumer demands. Key events like these fuel consumer interest. Hence, agencies capitalize the most during festive and sports seasons.
However, not everything has been downhill for the ad industry. 2020 saw a great shift in businesses with greater investments in D2C, omnichannel, and e-commerce. And they have made digital media their ally for advertising purposes. The usage of digital advertising solutions increased exponentially in the last year. Since digital media advertising options are more efficient in measurability and flexibility, they helped the brands tide through the tough times with instant market feedback and consumer reactions. Thus the digital advertising media options have given the brands a beacon of hope in these unpredictable times.