With most of us staying at home, it is boom time for social media and video-streaming platforms.  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have each experienced an exponential growth in users.  Now, more than ever, we are signing-in to access newsfeeds, connect with loved ones or to fill in time while stuck indoors.

It is unsurprising that many brands have reduced their advertising spend given the economic impact of Covid-19.  However, the uptick in social media traffic presents unique opportunities for engaging with online audiences and keeping brand awareness high.  For example, Scottish independent brewer, BrewDog, announced on Facebook that it has started manufacturing “BrewGel” hand sanitiser and is donating these to the NHS.  The announcement received thousands of likes, compared to the hundred or so that its Facebook posts usually get.

Of course, not all companies are able switch production or offer freebies like BrewDog.  However, it is important for advertisers and their agencies to take care in messaging over these coming months.  Advertising initiatives that put togetherness at the fore and provide thoughtful services (aiding both customers and employees) will be positively received and well-remembered when the crisis passes, while those that prioritise short-term goals by taking advantage of people’s fears are not going to sit well.

Indeed, just last month the Advertising Standards Authority published two rulings against facemask promotions claiming that the masks could protect people from Covid-19.  As the claims were unsubstantiated, the promotions were banned on grounds that they were misleading and socially irresponsible.  This sort of regulatory investigation and reputational harm is the last thing that businesses need, so be careful out there.

Through thick and thin, our team of advertising law specialists are always here to support.  Do not hesitate to contact Carlton Daniel or Lucy Hopman if you need any assistance with navigating through this new environment.