Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
11 May 2020
COVID-19 effects: What lasts, and what doesn’t
I’m fascinated by the changes the COVID-19 virus imposes on products as consumer habits change. For example, the COVID-19 effects produce an uptick in hair products (especially hair dyes) and a downturn in beer.
At least for the moment.
Things are always subject to change and I urge you to read Peter King’s enlightening interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the feasibility of the NFL opening its season in September and what that may look like.
But the COVID-19 effects are producing some weird results when it comes to brands. Beer, whose sales you would think would rise with everybody staying home, struggles. Anheuser-Busch InBev said its global revenue dropped 6% in the first quarter because of the virus. And it expects revenue to continue declining.
The reason? One-third of its sales usually come from bars, restaurants, sporting events, concerts and other events. With all those shut down, InBev and its competitors are selling less beer.
If, as Dr. Fauci suggests, there will be no fans at sporting events or a limited number of them, the COVID-19 effects put all beer brands under pressure to be more meaningful. Which may not be a bad thing in the long run as beer brands often fail to distinguish themselves from each other.
The COVID-19 effects still uncertain
Then there’s hair products. If you haven’t noticed, they are increasing their ad spends as sales skyrocket. The latest is a home-made ad by actress Eva Longoria, shot on her iPhone.
“I imagine most are simply waiting out the COVID-19 effects and hoping to get back to business as usual. That would be a mistake.”
Granted, the spot is basically a how-to video. But it demonstrates how the COVID-19 effects change ad spend and even how ads are shot. When/if salons come back, what will be the effect then?
It’s not that important in the big picture, but the virus has not only made ad agencies and brands get more creative. It’s also forcing brands to reconsider what they mean to audiences.
I’m not too optimistic brands will seriously try to become more meaningful to consumers. I imagine most are simply waiting out the COVID-19 effects and hoping to get back to business as usual.
That would be a mistake. The effects of the virus are unknown to a buying public. But brands should take advantage now of making themselves more meaningful. As brands.
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