Commercials have been a part of advertising strategy for decades - ever since the first radio commercial in the 1920s and the first television commercial in the 1940s. Of course, commercials' nature, scope, and production values have changed drastically over the years, and so has their purpose. Recently, many companies have shifted the focus of their commercials with the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and the subsequent worldwide pandemic.
Now, as businesses gradually transition into a post-pandemic world, commercials will once again serve a different role in 2022 and beyond while remaining extremely popular. Here we discuss several significant changes that you can expect to see soon (if you haven't already).
Commercials Have a Different Audience Focus
For decades, many published commercials had a single focus: to drive specific customer actions. It may have been the promotion of a product or service or hype generation around an upcoming event. Whatever the case was, the main objective was to drive viewers further down the company's sales funnel.
In contrast, the focus of current commercials is trending towards viewers themselves rather than concrete CTAs. There's been a paradigm shift from products to values. Marketers are more concerned than ever before with commercials that help build relationships with customers rather than engage them with traditional sales language. Commercials now serve as part of the overall "customer experience," rather than isolated advertising tactics.
Ads Are More Flexible
In the old days, visual ads aired almost exclusively on broadcast television and then cable networks. Now, the average consumer has a wide range of platforms and mediums to view commercials: for example, OTT streaming services and sites like Netflix, Roku, Hulu, and YouTube.
Modern marketers who want to gain the highest possible ROI from their ad creative must ensure that multiple formats and platforms support their ads, especially since most people can consume content on their terms. For instance, shorter commercials (perhaps 15-30 seconds long) are easier to publish on traditional TV channels and OTT platforms.
Ad flexibility is increasingly crucial as viewing habits change among the public. For example, more and more employees are now working remotely from home, which corresponds to a rise in the audience for daytime TV. Marketers must take such trends into account when developing their ad creative and distribution strategy for commercials.
Creative Content Has Adapted
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in earnest in March 2020, there was an adjustment period for many marketers as they learned how to change their ad creative to match the new experiences and challenges people were facing. For several months, the percentage of commercials perceived as "funny" compared to the total number of published commercials hovered around the low to mid-teens. Many (if not most) commercials carried messages of togetherness.
Of course, those pivots were appropriate for the times and undoubtedly helped many corporations survive the lockdowns with an unblemished reputation. However, it appears that comedy and action will once again play more prominent roles in commercials, both in 2022 and the years to come.
Part of this has to do with the influx of Super Bowl ads designed to make viewers laugh. Another significant factor is "pandemic fatigue:" many people are tired of talking or thinking about COVID-19 and want to focus their minds elsewhere.
In any event, perceptive marketers need to stay on top of the dominant "mood" for their target demographic. If your brand was known for a light-hearted, comedic tone in its commercials before the pandemic, then it's very likely that in a post-pandemic world, you can return to that tone without fear of any adverse reaction.
Leverage Well-Developed Commercials to Grow Your Brand in a Post-Pandemic World
In summary, commercials will remain a popular form of advertising for corporations and consumers alike. When developing your commercials for a post-pandemic landscape, remember to:
- Use them as an essential part of the overall customer journey, instead of an isolated marketing tactic
- Be flexible in how you develop your ad creative so that it's suitable for multiple formats (such as TV and OTT platforms)
- Adapt your creative content to fit the current "mood" of your target audience
Granted, creating and distributing quality commercials is easier said than done. Many companies have found that working with an experienced media partner - especially with expertise in high-quality commercial production - has been a massive boost for their marketing strategy.
In any case, make sure that you don't neglect the power of commercials to grow your brand in a post-pandemic world. With planning, perseverance, and perhaps some assistance from experienced experts, you can continue to use commercials to engage with your audience, provide them with a unique experience, and move them down your sales funnel.