When Should I Change My Commercial Message?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

When confronted with an unprecedented situation like Covid-19, businesses had difficult decisions to make. One of those:Should we continue to advertise or pull back?”. There have been countless stories (from many sources) that strongly suggest it is vital to keep a presence at a time like this.


Articles point back to the financial collapse of 2008 – even all the way back to the Depression era – about companies that pulled back on their advertising and lost market share for many years. A Harvard Business Review article in 2009 lays out a terrific strategy on “How to Market in a Downturn”. In the article it states:

In frothy periods of national prosperity, marketers may forget that rising sales aren’t caused by clever advertising and appealing products alone. Purchases depend on consumers’ having disposable income, feeling confident about their future, trusting in business and the economy, and embracing lifestyles and values that encourage consumption.

This Feels Different

Maybe we’re being optimistic, but it seems like this is more of a “pause” than a long-term financial crisis like the past. What WTAE decided to do is what we always do – talk to our clients and LISTEN. For some advertisers, it just makes sense to go “dark” for a brief period. But for most, it’s a matter of messaging and connecting with the people of Pittsburgh. Shortly after Governor Tom Wolf, ordered most businesses closed and citizens to begin Social Distancing, WTAE worked with local advertisers to “tune” their message. Click here to see some examples.

Loyalty is Key

During Hard economic times it is more important than ever to remember that loyal customers are primary, ensuring cash flow and organic growth. Marketing isn’t optional—it is essential to bringing in revenues from these key customers and others. Consumers want to know they are buying products and resources through a loyal company. By targeting the importance of people, it brings customers to your brand.

How to Face These Challenges

After a few weeks, it seems like every commercial you see is related to Coronavirus. While these messages are hitting the right tunes, will viewers get fatigued? We think so. We have suggestions – reach out and connect with us at Hearst Pittsburgh . We’d love to help you.