COVID-19 Recovery Messaging

We’ve gotten nice feedback on the information and ideas released in last week’s NuVoodoo webinar, Covering and Recovering from COVID-19: Practical Steps to Help Your Listeners & Your Station Through the Pandemic & Beyond. If you did miss the webinar, fear not, the recording is posted on our website at – you’ll get all the important information in about 25 minutes.

In addition to continuing to track concern about the virus and attitudes toward reopening the economy, we’ve started researching attitudes about brands and advertising in the pandemic. Reviewing hours of radio, TV and digital ads, our EVP Research Ops, Lisa Cobert, identified six broad types of ads currently running:

  • The same ads as usual (not acknowledging COVID-19)
  • Ads offering COVID-19 discounts
  • Ads highlighting COVID-19 policies (touchless delivery, etc.)
  • Ads/sponsorships highlighting COVID-19 donations or fundraisers
  • Ads acknowledging the crisis (“We’re all in this together,” etc.)
  • Ads thanking frontline workers

So we asked a sample of 1,507 nationwide persons 16-54 how they were feeling about each of those types of ads in terms of having positive opinions and likelihood of use. We also wanted to check on fatigue regarding each of the ad types.

We learned that any type of ad acknowledging the pandemic generated far more positive feelings than the types of ads that had been exposed before the onset of the pandemic.

The messaging most effective at generating positive brand opinions are ads thanking frontline workers, offering Covid-19-related discounts and highlighting donations/fundraisers. Not surprisingly, the most effective at generating increased likelihood of usage or products/services are ads offering Covid-19-related discounts – and those highlighting policies like touchless delivery.

While not yet overwhelming, we noted that fatigue is showing up already at 35% for ads featuring themes like “we’re all in this together.” That’s sharply above the typical fatigue level of around 20% – which shows up at nearly any time for almost any type of ad. Note the far lower fatigue for concepts thanking frontline workers and highlighting fundraising efforts for those hardest hit.

Knowing that Madison Avenue is bludgeoning “we’re all in this together” with their creative, you may want to steer your station positioning toward celebrating frontline workers and helping those hit hardest in these times. Keep in mind that the data doesn’t say the “we’re all in this together” concept is burned to a crisp – but it does say the concept is getting crispy at the edges.

You can view our on-going coronavirus research and subscribe to the updates on our website at