Industry Leaders Explain How to Forge Ahead; Striking the Right Marketing Tone: Monday’s First Things First

Plus, a guide to all of Adweek's COVID-19 coverage

We’ve published more than 150 in-depth articles in the past week and a half about how COVID-19 is changing our industry. Source: Getty Images
Headshot of Jameson Fleming

Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.

These Top Marketers and Media Execs Are Showing a Way Forward Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

For this week’s Adweek cover story, we spoke with a number of the industry’s brightest minds, including Marin Sorrell, Colleen DeCourcy, Antonio Lucio and Linda Yaccarino, to get their perspectives on what marketers must do to navigate these trying times. We asked them for short-term solutions, how it has impacted their businesses and how the pandemic is similar to past crises.

One of the major themes to emerge is to care for each other and stay connected. “Stay close to your people, and do what you can for the community,” said Jo Ann Ross of ViacomCBS. “If you support your team in this moment of uncertainty, they will be ready to get the job done today and far into the future.”

Martin Sorrell, who has certainly seen his fair share of market turning events in his career, predicted Q2 and Q3 “will be pretty brutal, but by Q4, world, you might see a recovery.”

DeCourcy ended her interview with an inspiring piece of advice, “Wieden once said, ‘Chaos is the only thing that honestly wants you to grow.’ We are an agency full of creative people, and our mission now is to take that chaos and make something out of it. Something of value. Something that matters.”

Read more: 16 industry leaders chart a path for marketers during this crisis.

How Marketers and Agencies Are Trying to Strike the Right Tone in the Age of Coronavirus

New creative has been hard to come by in the past few weeks as the crisis around the globe deepened. Many brands are reevaluating their approaches in order to assure they’re hitting the right tone with their marketing at a time when the wrong message could appear insensitive.

Recently, KFC pulled a campaign in the U.K. that featured 60 seconds of people licking their fingers, which sends the opposite message for what’s best for public health—don’t touch your face. Meanwhile, Hershey’s recalled its new work, which showed strangers hugging and shaking hands over gifts of chocolate. Finally, Coors Lite canned a plan to call itself the “Official Beer of ‘Working’ Remotely” during a March Madness campaign. That tagline would now appear incredibly insensitive and opportunistic.

Read more: Marketers gave advice on what you should consider when not only producing new creative, but evaluating what’s currently out there.

Infographic: An Inside Look at Lifewtr’s Recycling Process

This week’s infographic looks at the sustainable transition of one of PepsiCo’s products: Lifewtr, which will no longer use virgin plastic in its bottles. PepsiCo says the conversion will eliminate more than 8,000 metric tons from production and 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year (according to the EPA, that equates to almost 25 million miles driven by an average car).

See it: The infographic goes into detail the life cycle of a Lifewtr bottle.

Adweek’s Guide to COVID-19 Coverage: How the Advertising and Marketing World Is Forging Ahead

During the past three weeks, Adweek’s editorial staff has pivoted toward covering how the pandemic is affecting your businesses and what you can do to stay afloat. We’ve found that readers are deeply interested in the topic as last week alone, over 75% of our traffic on new stories came on content related to the pandemic. To help guide you through our coverage, our audience engagement editor (and frequent author of First Things First), Jessica Zafarris, put together a run down of our most essential stories about the coronavirus’ impacts.

Related: In her editor’s letter this week, Lisa Granatstein, editor, svp, programming, explains how the Adweek newsroom is navigating this new normal.

More Coronavirus Headlines: