As the economy begins to reopen, PwC conducted a study of more than 300 finance leaders in an effort to gauge expectations and sentiment (Adweek, 4/28). While concerns are still high, they appear to be stabilizing. One key insight “Many CFOs expect some things to change permanently, including remote work becoming the norm, as a result of the pandemic.” In the latest wave, fielded on 4/22, nearly half (48%) expect a full recovery to take 3 months or more (up from 39% from the 4/8 field.) Also up are measures of cost containment efforts, deferring or cancelling investments, and changes to financing plans.
Similarly, marketers are unclear on “when the world will be back,” according to an 4/22 Adweek article on the TV upfront marketplace. Using adjectives like “murky” and describing a “staggered” start (as opposed to the calendar-year proponents), buyers believe that TV in 2020 will be sold based on their schedules; not the networks’. And while marketers are hesitant to commit, some industries like pharmaceutical and insurance companies have increased ad spending.
TV[R]ev (4/23) cites “The Hammer and the Dance”, a theory that’s growing in popularity, as support for a staggered re-opening of America. As shown in the graphic, the need for a “hammer” (ie lockdown), may be followed by periods of eased restrictions over the next year or two, that may occur at different times in different places. Those benefitting from these regional differences include local media, addressable options, streaming services, attribution providers, other new technologies.
While the above TV[R]ev article references the increases in news viewership as support of Local Broadcast, a recent consumer survey by Magid, further reinforces that “COVID-19 is a locally driven story” (Broadcasting & Cable; 4/27.) Fielded 4/13-14, the online poll of 1,235 consumers found that 79% are getting their local news fix daily, and almost half (45%) are turning to it multiple times each day.
In an interview with Mediapost (4/23), Potbelly CMO, Brandon Rhoten, describes how the restaurant’s response to the COVID-crisis is investing in “moments of disruption.” While they were already testing delivery and takeout, the crisis accelerated their plans. Messaging and tone changed as did their need for flexibility. One piece of communication that made headlines; their decision to return PPP loan monies (as did Shake Shack), with the promise of seeking alternatives to help support employees.
The 4A’s (4/23) reported the results of a recontact study of previous survey respondents (fielded 4/2-4/16) to measure their attitudes on brand response to coronavirus. Supermarkets, big box retail and drug stores topped the list of brands “doing the most to support coronavirus relief efforts.” Brands receiving “multiple shout-outs” for their efforts include Kroger and H-E-B ($3MM donations to food relief) and Amazon (getting needed items, ending price-gouging). Other highlights looked at companies that switched strategies to make PPE’s, sanitizers and ventilators for healthcare workers (e.g. Dyson, Ford, GM, Anheuser-Busch), as well as those that are taking care of their employees (Domino’s, Aldi).
Deadline’s Prime Time Pilot Panic usually launches in April to track buzz on pilots as they go through production and testing. However, this year, with upfront presentations being cancelled, and pilot season being suspended, Deadline reported the potential of a “quasi-normal situation” as networks planning “to pull the trigger on “straight-to-series orders based on scripts and additional materials.”
This week’s potluck episode of SGN is packed with more recipe inspiration and acts of hometown heroism, including the suggestion of paying-it-forward by buying gift cards to show support.
Celebrity guests include Guy Fieri, Martha Stewart, David Chang, and Stanley Tucci (check out his Negroni from last week, if you haven’t already.)