Coronavirus: How Will It Affect Your TV Buy?

by Laura Hudson | March 18, 2020

What is it?

Coronavirus. COVID-19. Breaking news. Natural disasters. Recession. Impeachment. Political spending.

2020 has asked 2019 to hold its beer, and that means there is plenty of breaking news to go around. This could be causing disruption in the TV marketplace, meaning a couple of things. 1. Spots may be pre-empted and not run at all. 2. Spots may run, but phones may not ring, and forms may not hit. So, what do we do?

How to deal?

With the current state of economic affairs and COVID-19 turning toilet paper aisles into wastelands, apparently hand sanitizer is our only saving grace. But what about our marketing strategy—what is our best course of action?

There’s good news and potentially not-so-good news here. The good news: we expect the Houses Using TV to increase. Everyone will go home, and they will turn on the TV. They will be watching. We should be there when they do.

And the not-so-good news: We don’t know what will happen with leads yet. We know from past experience and data that staying the course through almost ALL breaking events and elections will net more leads versus reducing spending or stopping advertising to wait until it’s over.

See the case study below of the last election with heavily increased political spending, aka disruption, for us.

Advertisers that decreased their budget did not fare as well as those who stayed the course.

Another time of great disruption for most industries in the country was the last recession, between 2008 and 2009. See the graph below showing how our clients fared from year to year to year.

The sharpest increase in the average weekly auto call volume was over the hardest hit year of the recession.

Not only do we have our own data that proves out this theory, we’re also not the only ones with this approach. There are studies across many categories that demonstrate the brands that maintain rather than reduce or worse, drop out altogether, can see a long-lasting boost in sales and market share.

To put it simply, if you want people to come to your party, you have to invite them to your party. If you don’t invite them, someone else will.


We don’t know what we don’t know. We expect that more people will be watching television during this time. Local news will see huge growth in viewers as people tune in for updated local information. But we also are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially reduce the number of cars on the road and subsequently accidents occurring.

Part of our strategy is always to get calls and brand your firm to keep you top of mind. We want to continue to be top-of-mind when people need us, and that means continuing to be where they are.