Pandemics as threats to human existence have been part of our history and they may continue to be the highlight of our present and future, given the sudden uncertainty with which they happen. Beyond the spread of the virus, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching consequence on the ways of life of people.
More than a third of the global population was placed on a lockdown and consequently, contributed to an economic down turn due to closure of some businesses and laying off employees. The study by Economic Policy Research Centre revealed that of all the businesses that were surveyed in Uganda, three quarters, indeed laid off employees.
In many countries, governments have emerged as advertising buyers to promote public health messages but on a larger scale, the pandemic has led to an immediate drop in advertising spending. This is evidenced in closure of major companies, in response to the lockdown. Some of these include but not limited to the American Big Three and the German automotive industry, which acknowledged that there has been such a negative impact by the pandemic on business operations. In Uganda, some of the businesses that have been affected include; Pep shops, which will close out of Uganda by December and Tuskys closed some of its supermarkets, among others. This means that there is no longer reliance on the advertisement channels that were initially relied on by these businesses that have closed down.
For the Newspaper industry, the effects of the pandemic have hit below the belt and as such, registered unprecedented fall in its revenues. Worldwide, sports events such as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed to 2021. Further, research on abrupt and remarkable impact of the pandemic on the arts and cultural heritage sectors globally shows that by March 2020, most cultural institutions had been indefinitely closed. It goes without mention that this, too, is having a huge deterioration on the advertising industry because events have been cancelled. Other businesses that depend on advertising include the Film and entertainment industries and until now, cinemas are closed, in interest of health of the people. As a result of this closure, there is little or no film production ongoing and this turn has a negative impact on advertising and media. All these changes have had an alteration in the advertising strategies of the businesses, here in Uganda and elsewhere in the world.
However, the pandemic has showed us all, more than ever, that online businesses are desiderata. Therefore, it is only important for every business to re-strategize and make the most of online marketing by employing digital channels in advertising.
By Tusiime Nixion
The writer is a practicing marketer and entrepreneur