Investment advantages grow faster in recession, says the expert Peter Field based on experience gained in the previous crisis in 2008/2009.

In recession, brands should not cancel their investments in communication and should predominantly focus on brand building rather than short-time activation. This is one of the recommendations given to clients by Peter Field who, together with Les Binet, has long been engaged in communication effectiveness research. The recommendation was presented in a workshop organised by the European association of TV and radio sales houses (EGTA) and mediated by the Association of Commercial Television (AKTV) in the Czech Republic.

Peter Field’s workshop was based on the experience gained in the previous crisis in 2008/2009. Using approximately fifty case studies, he evidenced that brands should not discontinue their marketing investments in the crisis. If they do so, it will be more difficult and more expensive for them to come back when the crisis is over. “Cancelling investments completely is a risk, it may take years for brands to recover,” he said.

In order to emerge from recession in better shape than before entering it, brands need to invest in communication immediately in Field’s opinion. On the other hand, he warned about directing all investments at short-term activation. “We saw that in the last crisis in 2008/2009 and we have seen it now. But it is a big mistake. Communication effectiveness decreases by more than half and brands go weaker. Not right now but in the next quarters,” he explained. That is why Field finds it appropriate to always accompany activation with brand building investments. These investments should have a long-time effect, they are very valuable and should help in recovery according to Field. “Recovery depends on our immediate investments. Cancelling budgets is misapprehension of brand advertising,” he added.

At the same time, brands should maintain their share of voice (SOV) at a higher level than their share of market (SOM) in the crisis. During recession, SOV is more inclined to decrease below SOM, which doubles the risk in the crisis according to Field. Brands should benefit from SOV maintenance costs being lower in the crisis as the ad-space prices fall. He added that the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic showed another specific feature – the growing time of most media consumption. In his opinion, this is an exceptional opportunity to increase the share of voice. 

Using an example of three brand groups that applied three different investment strategies in the 2008/2009 crisis (very low investments: SOV below SOM; medium level of investments: SOV equal to SOM or slightly higher; and investing brands seeking to take an advantage of the opportunity), he showed that brands investing during recession reported five times higher business effects that those that failed to invest. They also experienced a 4.5 times higher annual growth in their market share and greater profitability. These active brands reported a 14% higher profitability in recession than they would have achieved in ‘normal’ times. “Investment benefits grow faster in recession,” concluded Peter Field.

Zdroj: prezentace Petera Fielda, srovnání profitability tří skupin značek podle míry investic v recesi vs. „normální" době

Source: Peter Field’s presentation, comparison of profitability of three groups of brands by their level of investments during recession vs. normal times.



• What are the benefits, short and long term, of remaining on air during and out of CV-19?

• What considerations or adjustments that need to be made to brand advertising out of CV-19?

• What media channels to cut and what media channels to keep out of CV-19?

These questions are answered in following document Advertising-out-of-COVID-19.pdf.

CV-19 has brought cuts to advertising budgets and so the imperative is to at least maintain, or, if possible, grow share of voice. Brands that can grow share of voice will have a larger share of the market as recovery comes.

Consumers have wanted to hear from brands through the crisis, but they are wary, and so association with trusted brands has never been more important. Marketers will need to pay close attention the media vehicles they associate with.

The most sensible course of action for marketers, especially during a recession or when emerging from crisis, is to play the long game, stretching campaign evaluation periods into the future.

Brand growth is achieved by targeting as broadly as possible, and this has never been truer than now. Consumers have been forced to set their consumption habits aside and reconsider all purchase decisions.

Broad reach is key, and marketers must stay abreast of rapidly changing media consumption and perceptions. Self-isolation has caused a sudden and dramatic change in media consumption and the changes will linger as the recovery comes.

Reach alone is not enough. Media decisions need to be made in terms of “effective reach” where brands reach as many people as possible and the impact of the reach is multiplied by the channel’s ability to ensure the ad is seen.

Advertising campaigns that give consumers help for right now, and hope for a better future are needed. Brands that stay on equity will be reassuring and will build brand connection.

Reduced budgets often mean large gaps between advertising bursts. The best campaigns will utilise media channels that imprint advertising messages in consumer’s memory banks for longer.

During CV-19 it is imperative for advertising to be humanistic. Marketers should feel confident that emotionally-driven storytelling can consolidate brand share now and into a post-pandemic world.



One of the questions I was asked at Mediatel’s recent Future of TV event was “Will more streaming mean a more diverse distribution landscape for ad-supported television, and how should advertisers think about the opportunity in this space?” or words to that effect.

My answer in short was yes, and that I believe the opportunity was to identify the best and highest quality content that builds the broadest audiences and to work closely with partners who represent that in order to best leverage today’s TV landscape. It’s a fairly straightforward answer, but an approach which is all too often over-looked, in particular when evaluating ‘digital’ media, of all formats.

TV has long been heralded as the bastion of brand building. High quality environments reflective of advertiser’s products, engaged audiences to captivate viewers ensuring messaging is seen and heard, and lots of said viewers to deliver this quickly and at scale. The craft of planning advertising in this environment has been anchored around these principles and remain fundamentally important in leveraging the power of the TV screen.

However, TV viewing, in its traditional sense has been splintered by digital distribution creating competition for viewer time in what was once its very own ‘walled garden’. Ultimately this means the shape of the opportunity from an advertiser perspective is more fragmented and continues to evolve, with new platforms, services and content.

One approach to this audience fragmentation would be to look at ways to aggregate content sources and then lead with data/precision/addressability. The issue here is that the importance of content, a founding pillar in the way in which TV should be appraised to drive the value it’s proven to do, is de-prioritised.

Sky’s Adsmart – heralded as possibly the leading addressable TV service in the world has had some success in application of data to the TV screen, most notably with smaller advertisers. That said, it’s not their predominant way of delivering value for advertisers – that remains anchored in the quality of the content, the connection with, and size of the audience Sky enables brands to reach.

It’s also fair to say we can also take learnings from how online media has been utilised to help guide our approaches in digitally connected TV. Mid to long tail inventory aggregation, the pursuit of data, hyper targeting and tech utilisation has, in the main dis-regarded the value of quality content and meaningful reach.

The result of this is that digital media as a proposition, is largely considered a channel for lower funnel activity and has developed a reputation for brand safety concerns, transparency issues and a host of other challenges as surfaced in the recent ISBA/PWC report.

A content-first planning strategy for digital channels would alleviate many, if not all of these challenges, and surface the primetime, brand building opportunities that genuinely exist and are often over-looked in digital media.

This approach becomes even more pertinent when thinking about the CTV marketplace, and that’s because with the TV screen we’re talking about brand building, awareness, upper funnel marketing – all the things TV has proven as its primary strengths.

If we run solely down the data led, tech first route, just because we can, we risk diluting the huge potential CTV has in balancing the shift in linear consumption and preserving the opportunity the big screen offers advertisers to build their businesses.

TV today is a combination of linear, recorded, on-demand – it’s both subscriber funded and ad-supported. There’s more content available, a diversity of distribution and a continually evolving audience profile.

Putting content front and centre of your planning in this space means as an advertiser you can transcend this fragmentation. You can connect powerfully with audiences in high quality environments, and you can leverage the dominant qualities and value of the big screen in today’s TV landscape.



In today’s advertising ecosystem, brands need to communicate with their clients in a creative, meaningful way and in a non-intrusive, safe environment. TV is the perfect destination. Belgian sales house SBS was the worldwide pioneer of an original format to reach viewers in exactly that way: Pause Button advertising.

The SBS Pause button, which was awarded Silver at the Belgian AMMA Awards and a Silver Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival was recently upgraded. This week’s egtabite digs deeper into the Pause Button 2.0. and the new features of this innovative way to turn pause into an advertising medium.

Ready, Pause, Go!

If a viewer needs a snack or a bathroom break while watching their favourite show, they can simply click on the pause button on their remote. That same moment a static billboard is displayed, without audio or video, while an advertising message appears on the TV screen in a large format. Thanks to this technology – developed in collaboration with the largest Belgian telco provider Telenet – a free screen is turned into a non-intrusive ad – something which can be done during live, catchup as well as time-shifted viewing.

The pause allows advertisers to use this precise moment to catch the viewer’s attention. Furthermore, the viewability of ads in this format of advertising is outstanding as the viewer sees the ad twice – when they press the pause button once and when they resume their TV programme, as they need to press play again to continue watching. Thanks to more than 1.6 million Telenet set-top boxes, pause button campaigns have a penetration of more than 60% of Flemish (North Belgium) households.

Therefore, pause button advertising offers a 100% certainty that a brand will be seen by a viewer. The viewer is not disturbed, and the advertiser manages to create a moment between the brand and the viewer in a non-intrusive way, which is a win-win situation for both sides. The 100% viewability of an ad without a TV commercial being necessary, makes the Pause button ideal for branding.

Pause button 2.0

The award-winning innovation, which was launched in 2015, has now received an upgrade, with three key improvements compared to the first version.

The updated version, better attuned to clients’ needs, now allows advertisers to choose the desired start and end date of the campaign.  Advertisers are also able to determine the number of impressions depending on their available budget.

Moreover, Pause button 2.0 offers flexible buying modalities, such as impression-based buying, additional targeting options, as clients can choose the TV channel, the day or the time slot when their ad is featured. The format can also be bought as an extension of SBS’ commercial Brandcare packages, featuring sponsoring, product placement, branded content and more.

Next steps

SBS is on a constant alert to launch new creative formats that meet the advertiser’s objectives and respond to the viewer’s needs. For example, this year a “see-through advertising” also known as “ad without a break” for MediaMarkt has been successfully developed and nominated for a Webby Award, a prize presented by “The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences”. Stay tuned, more information will follow in the upcoming egtabites.



1. If you are not exploiting the massive value of multiplatform TV advertising, you are missing out.

2. TV is the most effective medium, with the lowest risk and guaranteed high returns

3. This crisis is only a temporary disruption, inside this crisis is an opportunity for you to build your business. You may not be able to sell your product now, but this is the time to build your brand, establish loyalty and connect with consumers on an emotional level.

4. In times of crisis, consumers are way more open to switching to new brands. This is therefore a vital time to get your brand known.

5. This is a big creative and business opportunity for brands, which need to adapt quickly in line with consumers’ needs.

6. If you are a small advertiser, increase your share of voice.

7. Do not focus on the short-term results, focus on the long term, when people get to spend again.

8. You will find out how strong your brand is when „the music stops“.

9. Consumers want brands to advertise during the crisis, provided that the tone and message are adequate.



Stéphane Coruble, CEO of RTL AdConnect, reflects on how broadcasters and advertisers are adopting a new approach to retain relevancy during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The lockdown has shown that, far from being redundant, traditional media – and especially television – plays an essential role in reassuring people in times of crisis, and keeping them informed, educated and entertained.

Everywhere in Europe, we’ve seen an increase in daily TV consumption, be it live or on catch-up and BVOD platforms. There has been a 38% increase in daily TV watching in France and a 42% rise in Italy and Austria from March 18 to April 14 on the same week last year. Broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) services have also seen massive spikes.

TV is special because its core values – education, information, and entertainment – speak to people in times of crisis. It allows people to watch content in a caring, family, environment and recreates social links within the household – something everyone needs right now.

TV personalities are important figures in people’s lives and can bring comfort in troubled times. Broadcasters around Europe are enabling that continued audience connection with new content, production methods and formats.

French TV host Cyril Lignac is now presenting a daily cookery show Tous en Cuisine from his own home, encouraging audiences to cook live with him. In Belgium, a new TV format called Belges à Domicile, on RTL-TVI, helps people to live the lockdown experience more positively, with presenters offering informative and humorous content from home.

In the UK, as part of its mental health campaign, ITV has launched ‘Britain Get Talking’ using ITV’s scale to encourage viewers to reach out to elderly and vulnerable people. ITV is also launching a new four-part drama about life in lockdown, with Oscar-nominated writer Jeff Pope depicting family life after weeks of isolation, featuring actors such as Sheridan Smith and David Threlfall.

Emulating Lady Gaga’s successful One World concert, Rai coordinated an evening of Italian entertainment, including a virtual ballet, with artists performing from their houses to raise funds for Civil Protection, the Italian national body supporting the country’s responses to coronavirus.

In Germany, endurance athlete Joey Kelly is hosting a live-stream of a 24-hour sports challenge from his home, broadcast on RTL and TV Now.

Meanwhile, along with a talent show called Made in Karantén (Made in Quarantine) featuring a panel of celebrities judging homemade videos sent by viewers, RTL Hungary is launching a new reality show with advice and tips for viewers while self-isolating, and a sitcom, called Segítség! Itthon vagyok! (Help! I’m at home!).

Advertisers have a major role to play

Along with broadcasters, advertisers have a big role to play and consumers are actively looking for their demonstrations of support.

There are countless examples all over the world of brands stepping up. Vodafone in Germany is helping out with working from home by doubling data limits for three months, while in France and the UK brands such as Brewdog are using brewing facilities to help tackle the shortage of hand sanitiser.

In Italy, pasta brand Barilla launched a campaign to help people cooking alone, and Netflix has taken a fun approach to encouraging people to stay home by running billboards that show spoilers to some of its hit shows.

As well as grand gestures, brands are making changes to their operations to help ease the strain, such as increasing the returns period for online shoppers, ensuring gift vouchers don’t go out of date and providing discounts for people who have no choice but to risk their health by continuing to work.

We must honour the public’s faith in us

You don’t have to be building ventilators to be doing good. Plenty of brands are making an impact by publicly thanking the staff who are keeping things going, and this will be remembered long after the crisis has passed.

Talking in a reassuring tone and offering a positive perspective is an effective strategy. There’s a shift to ads that provide emotional support and messaging that highlights that we’re all in this together. Vodafone in Italy has taken this approach with its ‘ReadyTogether’ activity, while Nike has run ads in markets including Germany that seem to be the opposite of its ‘Just do it’ positioning, urging people instead to “play inside, play for the world”.

While all communications must be responsible and measured, television programming and advertising has an important role to play by continuing to talk to audiences and tell their stories. People are expecting that from us and it will bring them comfort.

This industry is in a privileged position and we need to reward people’s faith in us.