Brands around the world are reassessing their messaging to ensure that while they still reach their customers they also show themselves to be conscious of the concerns that consumers have during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the same time, budgets are changing, in order to be used more efficiently, brands are adapting their advertising: proving that anything is possible when brands and broadcasters work together.

During the lockdown, we have seen TV consumption increase, with more people at home engaging with trusted, informative content via news bulletins, but also programming which is entertaining as well as educational.  

As a result, even more rich and varied video and TV content is being made available, which also means more airtime in which to place ads. During this boost in programming, the partnership between broadcasters and those advertisers which continue to invest is being managed with impressive speed and flexibility. 

For some businesses, pivoting has been the way to make sure that they are still relevant and useful at a time when many countries are under lockdown.

Engineering firm Dyson has been designing respirators; Ferrari is producing ventilators; and companies like BrewDog and LVMH are making sanitisers, while fashion brand Calzedonia has switched from tights to masks and gowns to support medics. 

Broadcasters and brands have also taken up this challenge with pivots of their own, from the usual campaign offerings to supportive messaging and general safety information. Along with changes in tone and topic, there have been incremental changes that are helping consumers while supporting the industry and helping broadcasters stay afloat. 

The pace of change from broadcasters has been impressive and it has been matched by the quality of creative advertising. This investment and collaboration to serve audiences may seem exceptional now, but there is no reason why the lessons we have learned during lockdown cannot be the new normal across the industry.  

TV has always been a comfort in terms of entertainment and relaxation. It is of particular value now for audiences seeking reassurance, information and news as well as a means of escape into lighter programming.

As audiences look to TV to help them in this current situation, advertising investment is well placed in broadcast, and its ability to reach so many housebound people. 

As a result, Groupe M6 has expanded its offering with 2,000 more streaming hours of popular shows like “Top Chef”, “Peking Express” and “Farmer Wants a Wife” available for download along with hours of childrens’ programming now accessible anytime.

This is also a great example of how streaming is not just an add-on to live TV, but fast becoming an essential resource while live broadcasting puts out the government messaging and news everyone is craving.

Meanwhile, advertising itself has gone through a lightning-speed evolution. Corporate behemoths such as Coca-Cola and Unilever are repurposing their ad spend and dedicating that space and time to supporting medical organisations by sharing clear advice around staying home, keeping your distance and following hygiene guidance to flatten the curve of the pandemic’s spread.

But not all brands are able to afford advertising costs in these times. This means that ad spend is changing and media groups are having to think of creative ways to address this.

It is important to remember, too, that easy savings are not always the wisest savings. When times are difficult, there are a variety of options and ways to communicate thanks to multiple initiatives from broadcasters including spot adaptation at lower cost and the evolution of production capabilities.

There are communication alternatives that can be explored to help brands achieve their desired long-term objectives rather than abruptly pulling the plug on communications. Those brands that work with the media sector today to uncover creative solution will generate audiences of tomorrow as well as today. 

Fortunately, smart ideas are being explored to save the media groups that are being hardest hit. Clever moves are being made to work with new budgets in order to keep business afloat while we have little idea of how long social restrictions will have an impact across the industry.

Whether it’s directing audiences to BVOD platforms if they miss live content, or offering new subscription models and streaming services, we are seeing a renaissance of creativity, mixed with new digital offerings offering quality, broadcast content on a variety of devices, with high-quality content available on-demand. For example, RTL in Germany has added its premium subscription offering to TV Now.

Lockdown doesn’t mean that people stop consuming; they just consume differently. New economic models are emerging as we all try to think of inventive ways to weather the virus and to ride the no-doubt bumpy waves ahead.

The smart deals on offer now may recede toward the end of the year if we are able to tame the virus, but a lot has been learned already and this has accelerated the development of our sector.

So, even under this immense pressure, this can also be a time to feel optimistic and proud. Take the sheer amount of creative work that has been done, from redesigning famous logos on the fly, to ditching traditional marketing messaging for something that supports communities, and key workers.

Broadcasting has changed to help consumers feel a bit better under stress and to supply educational, entertaining and supportive content. 

When we do emerge from the pandemic – and we will – we need to look at what we have learned, and better understand our budgets and long-term planning. 

These strange times have taught us a lesson about planning for the unexpected. Beyond this, it has also taught us that although budgets may be tight and teams now work at a distance, we still owe it to the public to be respectful, responsible and reliable in our output. 

All of which is possible it seems, even now