U.S. advertisers and publishers had only just started to look beyond coronavirus triage mode when another crisis came hurtling into view.
The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died late last month after being arrested by a white police officer, has sparked protests across the country, many of which have flared into violence between police and demonstrators. Several cities have imposed curfews and President Trump has threatened to deploy the military to suppress disorder. Conversations about police violence and racial injustice have sparked worldwide.
The fast-moving and highly fractious situation has again thrown advertiser and publishers into a state of uncertainty and fear. For many marketers, the instinct is again to go quiet and reassess how the situation unfolds, much as the approach was in the first month of coronavirus.
“Nobody was imagining we would have to be replanning for these sorts of circumstances yet again,” said Barry Lowenthal, chief executive of media agency The Media Kitchen.
The range of curfews across the country and instances of vandalism throw in other practical media planning and optimization dilemmas around whether advertising is appropriate in locations where stores aren’t open or where offering food delivery, for example, could put staff in danger.
“This is different than Covid-19 where the advice to clients was closer to ‘Keep calm and carry on’ — right now, there are bigger and deeper societal issues to address when the country is in trauma,” said Joshua Lowcock, chief digital and global brand safety officer at UM.
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