Cost of Living

How the COVID economy is changing advertising

Now that the first wave of "disaster ads" have come and gone, how are companies advertising in the COVID economy? We'll hear from two Canadian actors who appeared in a recent Subaru ad together. It turns out, they're a couple in real life too — so they didn't have to socially distance for the shoot!

With December around the corner, brands want to hit the right tone for COVID-19 Christmas commercials

Posters advertising Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, or Borat 2, are pictured in Toronto on Oct. 16, 2020. The illustration features actor Sacha Baron Cohen wearing a surgical mask like a bathing suit and the tagline ‘wear mask, save life.’ (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Advertising has changed a lot since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that the first wave of 'disaster ads' — known as 'distastertising' in the industry — have come and gone, more and more companies are having trouble gauging the public's mood nine months into the pandemic.

Do you show people in masks? Is it the right time for humour? Should you acknowledge the pandemic or offer 30-seconds of escape? 

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As we close-in on the Christmas season, brands are about to spend billions on holiday advertising. This week on The Cost of Living, host Paul Haavardsrud asks what that might look like.

We'll hear from two Canadian actors who appeared in a recent Subaru ad together. We also talk to a Toronto ad executive about what's working, what's not and what we can expect from the world of pandemic advertising.

Click 'Listen' at the top of the page to hear this segment, or download the Cost of Living podcast.


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