The COVID-19 outbreak is a global health crisis that has upended our daily lives. With millions confined at home, agencies, clients, and the media industry as a whole will experience unknown pressures. In the world of media planning and buying, that will lead to focusing investments and partnerships on meaningful media. By creating purposeful content, or sometimes, simply financially supporting media brands that are taking the right action themselves. These are the moments when media really matters.
So, what’s the role of media within this new dynamic? With social interactions on a hiatus, media is the core belief of our social bonds. We need to investigate the evolution of the media landscape in two steps: short-term decisions and innovations the industry made to adapt, alleviate, and support immediate needs, and later, when the dust settles, diving into the long-term changes in consumer behaviours and industry practices.
Moments like this prove that not all media are created equal and some media brands can make a genuine, meaningful difference through three missions: inform, entertain, and connect.
The informative: Some media brands have really taken the spread of the coronavirus to be the purveyor of sense and calm that the world needs. Now more than ever, to inform the population is media’s public service duty. To counteract fake news, rumours, and acts like hackers creating fake coronavirus maps to infect users with malware, trust in media is the strongest guardrail.
Facebook is directing users looking for information to the WHO or local health authorities and prohibiting adverts related to the coronavirus to curb scaremongering as well as prevent dishonest businesses from profiteering from the outbreak.
The entertaining: Across the industry, meaningful initiatives are happening. TikTok challenges of handwashing dances are going viral. Youtuber’s are helping families stuck at home by significantly increasing the amount exercise and learning. And it’s hard to deny that by offering free service to a lot of websites e.g. learning courses, people are enjoying working / learning at home.
The useful: Video-conferencing companies are facilitating use by offering free services and free access to upgrades, starting with Google unlocking premium features of Hangouts Meets.
It is difficult to categorise every single initiative. And more are being launched by the hour in this awful time. And some are just about giving everyone a much-needed laugh like creating videos with their families and loved ones.
Media brands around the world are stepping up. But what comes next?
Media creation could change, live entertainment might never be the same, consumer behaviours will evolve, and business models will be rethought. Our next task as Absolutely Advertising is to look at the long-term media implications and help brands navigate the new paradigm for the future.