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Meal Kits, Pets And RVs (Oh My!): Some Categories Are Making An Ad-Spend Comeback.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavily on the U.S. advertising market — but there are still segments that are proving resiliency and providing opportunity.

That was one of the key takeaways delivered yesterday during a MediaRadar webinar entitled “Tea with Todd: An Insider’s Look at Changes in Consumer Advertising,” an ongoing series that features MediaRadar co-founder and CEO Todd Krizelman.

The good news, according to Krizelman: The overall U.S. advertising market has improved substantially since the first full week of April, when the market was down 27% (to $1.57 billion) versus year-ago levels.

And the bad news: The recovery is not all inclusive of all media formats, nor does it apply to all segments of the economy. “What we’ve seen is that digital continues to be the winner,” Krizelman said. “We continue to see money that’s been pulled out of linear television and is moved into digital, especially into OTT, YouTube, Hulu...”

Current segments enjoying positive results include food-subscription boxes, which has seen a year-to-date ad spend increase of 130% on a year-over-year basis. (MediaRadar tracks the category separately.)

“The pre-COVID, post-COVID stories could not be more different,” Krizelman said. “Pre-COVID, companies like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh were really struggling. Stock prices were very low, [there were] questions whether they would succeed... Now we see a lot of marketing — just an unbelievable amount of marketing across media formats. This is a case where a high tide is lifting all boats… Everyone is spending.”

Advertising connected to pets is also surging, and now hovering at $16.4 million weekly — up from about $9 million in March. One reason for the growth is that pet adoptions have boomed amid the pandemic. As a result, brands have pounced on the opportunity, jacking up their advertising 43% on a year-over-year basis since the beginning of April.

“This is a category that has legs,” Krizelman said. “It’s not going to go away. These people have adopted the pets. So now you have a case where they’re going to be consuming pet products and pet food.”

Among other segments on the upswing: Skin care, Krizelman said, has been up 17 out of the last 18 weeks. Recreational vehicles are also booming, with advertising up 400% year-over-year. “The sale of RVs is off the charts, and basically at its highest-ever water mark,” Krizelman said, adding that 40,000 RVs were sold in the month of June alone, with up to 80% of them purchased by first-time buyers.

Toys and video game consoles are also hot categories, Krizelman said.

The segments where spend is dormant continue to be the usual pandemic-era suspects — anything luxury, live events and movie theaters.

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