Kids, Chaos, and Conference Calls – Digital Marketing in a COVID-19 World

By Chris DaCruz, Account Executive, Affinity Creative Group

We’re all adjusting to the reality that is COVID-19 – whether it’s working remotely, or learning the latest TikTok dance with (or without) your kids – everything seems to be an adjustment these days. And as you’re adapting to your new way of life, your marketing and advertising strategies should be constantly adjusting too. 

What We’re Seeing

Chaos. Kids on conference calls. And a spike in Digital Advertising. Currently, most families in the US are at home far more than normal, which means they are online and consuming content. As a result, trade-show and out of home marketing budgets are being allocated to high quality content creation, digital advertising, and the amplification of overall brand digital presence, i.e., website, social media channels, etc. And some sources are predicting an approximate 18% increase in e-commerce advertising and a 22% rise in social media spending. One study even found that 54% of respondents made a purchase from an ad in March. Among them, 79% were spurred to action by a digital ad, and 49% were only motivated by digital ads and nothing else. But don’t just take my word for it, check out what Forbes and The Drum had to say on the subject.

What You Can Do

Be real. In the aforementioned article on The Drum, Chris Stephensen, regional head of strategy and planning, PHD APAC, states, “…Above all, brands should respond authentically based on their brand positioning, values, and tone of voice.”  Your audience is more likely to connect with your message if it really sounds like you and is easily recognized as the brand tone and manner they’ve grown to trust. It also makes them much more likely to remain brand loyal and recommend your brand to others. 

Be relatable. The vast majority of individuals in our country, and around the world, are going through similar hardships: Job loss, out of stock shelves, and learning how to SIP with their partner, roommates, or kids; just to name a few. With these shared burdens, humankind is being connected by a common thread, and therein lies the opportunity to produce content that hits home with a wide audience. So, don’t just post pretty pictures of stereotypical consumers sipping chilled rosé in a sun hat–get real with your content, and evaluate your creative often, to ensure you’re speaking to your audience where they’re at, not where you’d like them to be. 

Be unique. People are seeing more digital ads than ever before. Which means that they’re also becoming tone deaf to them. Well then, “Why should I join the mix?”, you might ask. Because this is your opportunity to stand out. However, avoid producing just another ad, but rather, create an exceptional ad. Take a note from Julia Nizinski, the Digital Media Director of Platforms at Heineken, “Across the board, the more premium content is, the better it usually performs, as consumers are very engaged with it and it tends to be quite credible too.” So, take a few extra dollars from that trade-show fund and invest them in creating high quality content, with a poignant message, distributed across trustworthy channels. And just like that, you’ll truly stand out in the ad space marketplace. 

Be adventurous. And not the traveling kind. What I mean is, put that standout ad you’ve created in places you normally wouldn’t consider. Explore emerging digital avenues or venues you haven’t tried in a while. According to Adobe, there has been a net decrease in CPM of 5-10%, and significant increases in the number of ad buying opportunities. Connected TV auction volume is up from 7-15% (depending on daypart), desktop video and display auction volume is up 8% and mobile video is up 2.5%. I don’t know about you, but those are all outlets where I’m spending more time than usual. I’m willing to bet your consumers are there too. 

Be nimble. You know where your target market is spending their screen time. You’ve put a little more budget than your boss approved towards a kick a@# digital campaign and content. And you’ve got all the metrics you can imagine. But, now what? Data is a powerful tool, but only as mighty as the individual using it. If you’re the data maven, fantastic. But if you’re not a digital data guru, find someone who is. And then, adjust accordingly. Test some ad variations, find what works using a small portion of your budget, and when you get positive results, redeploy your budget to those channels. And even after all that, check in on your KPIs every week or two and keep tweaking. Your audience’s time spent on screen is in constant flux – adjust with them, and you’ll enjoy continued success.  

To Wrap it All Up

This advice isn’t earth shattering by any means, after all, media and advertising efforts require  constant adjustment to shifting consumer behaviors, with or without a pandemic. But our hope is that the points here will spark a new idea, or inspire you to create and manage your digital marketing initiatives with a different perspective. If you’d like more food for thought on the subject, this guide to navigating a rapidly changing world from Adobe is full of helpful insights. And if you’d like our help to take action on some new digital initiatives, we’re always just a phone call away. Until then, stay safe, wash those hands, and maybe put on some jeans for your next video call? Just sayin’.


About Affinity Creative Group: From our unique creative campus, (two mansions and a bungalow), along historic officer’s row on Mare Island, California, Affinity Creative Group provides brand design, digital media and retail activation marketing services, particularly for wine, spirits and other luxury categories. The most experienced team in the business, staffed with knowledgeable industry professionals, provide strategic, creative and effective solutions that attract attention, spark interest and win customer loyalty in tasting rooms, on premise and at retail venues across the country and around the globe. Affinity helps clients of all sizes connect with consumers at the early, essential moments of contact, or points of ‘brand touch’ through the intelligent use of creativity, captivating storytelling, and flawless implementation.

For more information about Affinity Creative Group, please visit: or call 707.562.2787.

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