The Best of Brand Storytelling; How COVID-19 Impacts the Marketing Ecosystem: Monday’s First Things First

Plus, celebrating International Women's Day

Headshot of Jameson Fleming

Unprecedented Uncertainty: How the Coronavirus Is Disrupting the Global Advertising Industry

The spread of coronavirus has initiated a period of unprecedented uncertainty for global advertising, which could mean a major shift for the industry. Here are just a few ways the ad world is already pivoting and adapting as a result of the outbreak.

AD SPEND: Early indications are that overall ad spending could take at least a temporary hit, but TV in particular could actually benefit from people staying home, tuning in to news and streaming programming.

EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING: “There will be an impact on the experience industry, particularly around large scale events with a global audience,” says Fake Love CEO Alanna Lynch. As a result, agencies and brands need to think proactively about how to approach branded experiences.

AGENCIES: While many agencies are already adept at working from anywhere, the current outbreak could encourage companies to pivot to more remote working tools and videoconferencing rather than putting so much effort into office staffing and global in-person gatherings.

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Production companies are still in wait-and-see mode, though many of those who work in production are seasoned professionals who have seen all manner of twists, turns and pivots which could serve to make these companies more nimble.

Read more: For this digital feature, we spoke to dozens of sources about the impact coronavirus will have on the brand marketing ecosystem.


Diverse, Topical, Enlightening and Entertaining, These Were the Best Brand Storytellers of 2019

For the fourth year in a row, Adweek is pleased to reveal the latest winners of the Arc Awards, which celebrates the best of brand storytelling each year. Some of the most impressive campaigns came from brands like Tinder, which created a choose-your-own-apocalyptic-adventure; Sandy Hook Promise for this harrowing PSA about gun violence; and Apple iPhone’s “Don’t Mess With Mother” campaign.

Watch: View all the winning campaigns in one place.

What Brands Are Doing to Celebrate International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, several campaigns worked to correct stigmas and address the problems women face in the workplace. In a campaign for International Women’s Day, nonprofit group Catalyst is trying to correct biases against women—pointing to how women are given labels with sexist undertones like “nag,” “bossy” and “emotional.” In another campaign, Orangetheory points out in its spot that celebrates women—International Women’s Day falls on the first day of daylight saving time, meaning that it’s only 23 hours long.

Other great work includes a spot from advocacy group Period and agency Huge, which created the mobile-activated tampon dispenser Hooha. The stunt shows men how frustrating tampon dispensers can be by making them pay for toilet paper.

Read more: See more campaigns from Shapermint and Everlast, as well as key data about where women stand in the office as the push for equality continues.

More From International Women’s Day:

Don’t Do This: Yes, Shell Is Changing Its Name to She’ll for Women’s Day (But Only at 1 Station)

At one Shell station in San Dimas, Calif., the brand will replace its logo with one that says She’ll to mark Sunday’s global day of recognition for women. While the brand plans to empower women in a number of ways, social media latched onto the most visible part of the stunt and promptly ridiculed it.

Best of the Rest: Today’s Top News and Insights

How Agencies Are Preparing for COVID-19

Leeann Leahy, CEO, The VIA Agency

We are (of course) putting our associates health first. All VIAns have the choice to opt out of travel and we are evaluating meetings as they come to determine the appropriate approach. We also have shifted many in-person meetings to videoconferencing, if the content allows. We are also implementing extra IT training to review for all employees how to access our servers remotely through VPN.

Anders Wahlquist, co-founder and CEO, B-Reel

It has definitely been discussed. We have distributed a company-wide covid-19 policy that outlines how employees should act to prevent the spread or next steps if they or a family member experience flu-like symptoms. We have definitely made ourselves prepared for what would happen in case of a greater spread. If any of our employees would contract the virus, the office in question would close and all staff would be recommended to work from home. That said, it’s equally important to make sure that we don’t contribute to a sense of panic. We try to be reasonable in our recommendations and communications with staff so that they can act accordingly but still feel safe. Now that more brands and agencies are voicing concerns about the business implications of covid-19, it’s clear that there’s a risk of speculating ourselves into a recession. It’s important that we try to stay calm and reasonable, while doing what we can to limit the spread. A widespread outbreak has the potential of affecting business and we’re working through ways of safeguarding ourselves. We’re not overly worried yet, as we have a history of creating work that transcends physical barriers.