Consumers expect brands to adjust their messaging and have become more sensitive to tone and sentiment sentiment since the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from Union, the JV formed by 5 top video advertising providers.

The ‘Brand Suitability and the Power of Context’ report explores how consumers’ content consumption habits and trust levels towards media have changed during the crisis. News and social media consumption have become increasingly important as consumers look for advice and entertainment.

9/10 markets trust social media much less than news with France being the only nation that seems to record a noteworthy level of trust in Social Media (53% vs 47% for News Media).  Baby boomers from the UK showed the highest levels of trust of News publishers at just over 90%.

9/10 respondents in nearly all markets want brands to continue advertising but the study notes wide regional variations on the importance of tone and sentiment in advertising today.

Italy (22%) and Spain (18%) again showed the most favourable attitude towards brands that advertise in articles bearing COVID-19 news. Romania (75%), the UK (71%) and Sweden (69%) have the most relaxed attitude towards advertising in a COVID-19 context.

Whilst local market attitudes are important to understand, consumers’ acceptance of ads appearing alongside coronavirus content also varies significantly by vertical. CPG , Pharma,  Telcos and Government ads were considered the most acceptable, highlighting the need for a nuanced approach that takes into account cultural, industry and age demographic factor.

“Local Context Matters now more than ever and attitudes towards brand suitability are evolving swiftly,” said Steven Filler, Union’s MD.

“We will continue to monitor the effects at the local level in every market we cover in the EMEA region, using this tracking research combined with the ongoing feedback from our 350 people in 35 cities and the daily interaction with thousands of local publishers with whom we collaborate closely.”

Download the full study here.