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The coronavirus crisis is propping up the public relations industry

Hello from the home front and welcome to this week’s Advertising & Media Insider newsletter, where we highlight the week’s top BI Prime advertising and media coverage. 

Messaging through the crisis

Richard Edelman

This week, we looked at the pandemic’s impacts on the public relations industry that are rolling out now and still to come.

Big swaths of the economy have been decimated by the pandemic, but for some, crisis spells opportunity.

CEOs are scrambling to manage the impact on their now-remote employees and manage expectations of their customers and other stakeholders. But it’s tricky. For many, this is a time to show they’re doing good by their employees and communities. But shout too loud and they risk looking opportunistic. That’s why many are turning to the likes of Edelman and Omnicom’s FleishmanHillard for crisis PR help.

Internal communications, like crisis PR, has also taken on newfound importance. As strikes by Amazon and Instacart workers over coronavirus-related health concerns show, how companies treat their employees now could damage their ability to attract and retain staff, and hurt their public image for years.

PR firms are likely to lose other clients near term as they slash marketing expenses, but crisis and internal comms are two areas that the industry can count on for the foreseeable future.

Read Sean Czarnecki’s coverage here: PR giants Edelman and Sard Verbinnen are getting a boost as clients scramble to react to the coronavirus pandemic

And here: The coronavirus will reshape the PR industry, from squeezing small firms to elevating internal communications

Roku and Hulu’s moment


TV is in for a rough time. The pandemic is forcing many advertisers to rethink their media strategies and budgets for the year. UBS surveyed 40 ad execs responsible for $90 billion in ad spending, and one takeaway was that while sports advertising will evaporate as live sports programming is put on pause, some other categories of ad dollars could flow to TV as more people seek ways to stay entertained while staying at home.

The biggest beneficiaries are expected to be connected-TV platforms like Roku and Hulu, while Disney is the best-positioned cable-network group (though still challenged), Ashley Rodriguez reported.

Read her full story here: 40 advertising execs who manage $90 billion in spending describe how they’re shifting their 2020 budgets in a new report. Here are 4 key takeaways for the TV industry

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Here are other highlights from the media and advertising team:

  • Ad agencies are calling on advertisers to get comfortable with coronavirus news
  • The biggest actors’ union just made it easier for advertisers to use union actors. Read a memo laying out its new rules.
  • 13 YouTube stars explain which of their videos earned the most money and why
  • Companies like Zoom, Microsoft, and Slack have gone on a $45 million advertising blitz as working from home becomes the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic
  • ThirdLove, the buzzy lingerie upstart that challenged Victoria’s Secret’s dominance, just laid off nearly 30% of its workforce as the coronavirus crushes DTC companies
  • Leaked emails list 11 retailers including Amazon that suspended programs with a top affiliate platform used by influencers and digital publishers
  • Some brands are hiring influencers as a ‘one-stop shop’ for video and animation as production studios shut down — and finding they’re a lot cheaper
  • Ad agency R/GA is busier than ever during the pandemic. Here’s how it’s staying productive while working remotely.
  • Analysts lay out the effects of the pandemic on the ad holding companies, with advertisers slashing TV and digital spending

That’s it for now. So long till next week, and stay safe.

— Lucia

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