Monday Memo: Freebie of the Year? | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Freebie of the Year?

| April 27, 2020

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now.  But as we watch television, we’re seeing local TV advertisers emulate the pertinent, tasteful way national commercials acknowledge what’s happening, and convey that “we’ve got your back;” or, simply, “Be safe.”  And radio must too.

GREAT BIG hat-tip to The Morning Consult

Its “Weathering The Storm: Brand Management in the COVID-19 Era” is a free download at that you can get here.  It recommends specific, tested guidance for crafting messages to convey our clients’ – and our stations’ — concern for listeners in a way that will resonate long after the pandemic passes.

“Proactively communicating with, appropriately connecting with, and authentically comforting your audience have the potential to translate to everything from increased affinity in the short-term to unbreakable loyalty in the long-term.”


Among Key Findings:

  • It’s no longer about talking about values; it’s about demonstrating them – show how you are helping.
  • Forget about being overly feel-good, and instead act with empathy, keeping promises, providing useful information, making sacrifices to contribute to the greater good, and authenticity – “rubber hits the road” applications of purpose will go farther than talk.
  • Show you are taking this situation seriously by acknowledging the social, financial and other realities of this pandemic, emphasizing with people’s concerns, and offering practical solutions.
  • Help your customers as fellow people, treat our employees fairly and with dignity, and contribute to the greater good of society to drive both greater likelihood or purchase today, and also customer choice in the future.
  • Above all, don’t disengage from the moment.


Survey data offer specific guidance for commercials we craft for local advertisers, and for station imaging.

Top 5 “More Likely” responses to: “In light of the coronavirus pandemic, if you saw the following types of advertisements for a company, would you be more or less likely to purchase their product or service?”

  1. “Ad showing how the company’s products and services could be used to combat the spread of coronavirus:” 48%
  2. “Ad showing how company’s products and services can help improve customers’ comfort, happiness, and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic:” 46%
  3. “Ads about company’s prioritization of customers’ well-being, such as customers’ mental or physical health:” 45%
  4. “Comforting ad:” 40%
  5. TIE: “Optimistic ad” and “Ad about company response to coronavirus:” 39%

This could be Freebie-of-the-Year

Those are just appetizers.  To devour the whole feast, click the Morning Consult link above, and flip to:

  • Page 5: “Key Takeaways”
  • Page 12: Note bar graph on the left, an empathy commercial copy point.
  • Ditto pages 13 – 14 – 17.


Stay safe.

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the e-book “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page for an instant download.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Advice