America is slowly reopening for business and the advertising industry is following suit, with a growing amount of evidence — some of it statistical, some anecdotal — that the U.S. economy is ascendant once again after touching bottom.
That’s according to MediaRadar co-founder and CEO Todd Krizelman, who on Thursday hosted the latest installment of his “Tea with Todd” webinar series and focused on America’s return to normalcy.
“When we think about this V-shaped recovery and this hope that everything’s fine, the average is misleading,” he explained. “The truth is [that] some markets are more resilient than others.”
In addition, he noted, some of the fully reopened states — Utah and Alaska, for example — are places where there isn’t a significant concentration of ad spending.
In terms of rebounding segments, he said, automotive is high on the list. It’s currently down “only” 20% on a year-over-year basis. While that doesn’t seem very encouraging on the surface, it’s vastly superior to the prior two months.
“What we found was that at the beginning of the recession, we saw that the national buyers were supportive,” he said. “But we saw that there were further reductions in advertising as we got further out. But then, just in the last few weeks as states are opening — and that’s what’s driving this — we’re starting to see that advertising come back.”
Another area making a comeback: tourism. But in that case, we’re talking about trips that can be achieved via a car ride, not a jet airliner or cruise ship. “What is coming back is local, domestic tourism,” Krizelman said. “The local tourism bureaus, by city and state around the country, we have found 350 of them are actively spending right now. That surprised us.”
Several factors are contributing to the trend, including pent-up demand, employees with vacation days to burn, good weather, and a fear of flying.
Advertising is also showing signs of life in the hair care, real estate, and health & fitness spaces.
But while the pandemic giveth, it also taketh away. Breakfast foods, for example, have undergone a remarkable shift in recent weeks.
“It’s hard to believe it’s just been a couple of months,” Krizelman said. “We were talking about Pop-Tarts and Kellogg Corporation and others who were really jumping in — that is fading away. The opportunity for these companies is to take advantage of the fact that we are working from home so much and are changing our breakfast behavior. But it’s almost as if we’ve made up our minds on what we’re going to change, and now the advertising is starting to shift back to normal.”
Other categories where ad spending is steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels include hair-care and shaving supplies, with more salons and barber shops reopening, eyewear and home-office supplies.