Business owners across the country have been wondering whether they will face consumer backlash if they continue advertising during the COVID-19 health crisis. A new study by Itani & Company Marketing Consultants (itaniandcompany.com), a UAE based marketing firm, has revealed that they need not worry, as 92% of UAE residents believe that brands should continue to advertise during the pandemic.
However, 45% of people surveyed responded that brands should reduce their advertising, while 40% advised brands to continue at the same levels as before. This indicates a high acceptance for advertising messages despite the tumultuous situation that is being lived today.
When asked whether brands should address the virus in their advertising messages, 46% of respondents said this was only necessary if the products are relevant to the current situation, such as medical services or cleaning supplies. However, 32% believe that all brands should address the virus regardless of their sector. This data indicates that brands should not proceed with tone-deaf advertisements or business as usual.
During this trying time, the messages portrayed in advertisements are incredibly important, and brands must adjust thoughtfully. 67% of survey respondents indicated they would like to see an increase in inspirational messages and 56% wanted to see an increase in humor. Empathy and education also ranked highly, at 53% and 41% respectively. 81% of respondents replied that they would like to see a decrease in dramatic messages during the pandemic.
When asked about their current sentiment toward shopping, 61% of people surveyed responded that they were experiencing a reduced or non-existent desire to shop for anything other than essential items (defined as food and consumables such as toilet paper). 33% indicated that interesting advertisements may positively impact their shopping interest, however. 51% would still like to hear about sales and discounts across categories, while 33% would like to learn about promotions in certain categories.
“History has shown that brands that communicate through a crisis are the ones that come out strongest once it has passed. Our study confirms that UAE based brands should feel confident to continue communication with their audiences, but we do advise they proceed mindfully and adjust messages and promotions to reflect the fluctuating emotions of consumers. Agility is essential, and marketing managers should keep a close eye on how their campaigns are being received throughout the pandemic,” said Maya Itani, Itani & Company Managing Director.
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