What happens when consumer confidence shifts? What does that mean for advertisers?

If you listen to Sir Martin Sorrell, brands should “double up” their advertising spending to retain a meaningful presence and successfully ride out the recession we’re entering.  Is there any rationale to that statement or is it bluster to ensure continuity of service for a business that its success is directly linked to ad spend?

Let’s look specifically at the last recession in 2009.  This excellent article from Danny Shepherd cites the types of businesses that grew massively during that period (Netflix, Uber, Starbucks, Domino’s) and plots a dim picture for brands that take a short-term view on investing in brand building:


Not only is it important to understand the need to stay relevant but also to take a look at human behaviors.  During times of economic uncertainty, people tend to spend more time at home and discretionary spend is often directed towards making the home environment more comfortable and catering to our innate needs for immediate gratification.

For advertisers looking to pull this all together and seeking high-performing channels audio is becoming a more and more compelling choice.  Did you know that your ears are the only sensory organ that you cannot turn off? Audio permeates households and in the UK 89% of the population listens to radio every week.

Formats like Actionable Audio Ads which offer the advertiser a way to engage using smart speakers also cater to instant gratification by sending a coupon or URL associated with a direct response campaign directly to the phone which Pizza Hut recently demonstrated in their first Actionable Audio Ad campaign. 

Through this Actionable Audio Ad campaign, Pizza Hut is not only ensuring that their company name is staying relevant in a competitive landscape, but they are taking into consideration that people are becoming more hesitant to spend their money on non-essential products and services. Offering an instant coupon boosts their growth, ensuring their brand name stays at the tip of their consumers’ tongues as brand recall is increased by 25% through Auctionable Audio Ads (see recent neuroscience study). 

By putting their “customer needs under the microscope”, they have been able to distinguish how to make ordering in (which is a want rather than a need) more appealing with the financial support of instant gratification. 

Taking into consideration that many companies experienced a long recovery through Covid, the recession is viewed similarly in terms of the large-scale effect it will have on businesses. However, times of uncertainty, as discussed by Lim, Morse, and Yu (2020) ‘can provide an opportunity for brands and companies to reassess themselves alongside their resources to ride out the recession and align themselves for the next growth stage.

Conducting market research is an activity that should continue to be invested in as this is the only way to truly understand how consumers are reassessing their priorities and upon the time where the recession will wind down, their priorities will change and it is essential to be aware of when this happens to align your business and marketing strategy. 

An article by Avrasya and Konferansi (2014)  reiterates this information by urging businesses to avoid falling into the trap of reducing their advertising budget without careful analysis of their competitors and where they stand in the industry. There are multiple factors that must be considered prior to slashing budgets. This means allocating advertising budgets towards activities that will have the greatest impact and considering the reality that people are becoming more opposed to leaving their house and want to do as many activities as possible from the comfort of their house- this is where Auctionable Audio Ads hits the nail on the head. Doing household chores but need to re-stock your Berroca Boost? We got you covered.

We believe the evidence is clear that brands should continue their investment in awareness and activation throughout this period and it strikes us that Actionable Audio might be just the kind of cut-through to give an edge in these challenging economic times. 

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