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In the U.S., local TV advertising resonates with pandemic consumers

In the U.S., local TV advertising resonates with pandemic consumers

The following is an excerpt of a contributed article by Bill Day for WARC

This article is part of the March 2021 Spotlight US series, “Media strategies for a shifting U.S. landscape.”

Analyzes research from ten years of evaluating 5,000 local ads, with an emphasis on how consumers responded to advertising during the pandemic.

  • Local advertising has become of premium value during the pandemic, because it focuses on the businesses consumers interact with most.
  • While it’s always been clear how important engagement is in advertising, engaging ads share three characteristics: they are emotionally resonant, authentic, and consumer-centric.
  • During the course of the pandemic, Magid tested more than 600 ads for advertisers all around the country, and found that consumers rated good ads even more highly, and bad ads even more poorly.

Why it matters
According to BIA Advisory services, local advertising in the US was expected to be a $134.1 billion market in 2020, and as it took on renewed importance during the pandemic, seeing how it resonates with consumers is important. 


  • The response to emotionally resonant ads in local isn’t about entertainment, but about ads consumers feel they can relate to; when they can see or insert themselves into the ads, it creates an expectation and familiarity.
  • Local advertisers need to maintain their focus on being consumer-centric, instead of focusing on value propositions like “years in business” and local or family ownership; simply shifting to the words “you” and “your” from “we” and “our” can make a huge difference in how consumers engage with ads.
  • The best way to achieve authenticity – another core attribute of engaging ads – is to be clear about the ad’s purpose and any promotions, deals or value propositions.
  • On a scale of engagement and activation, television ads are generally better received by consumers – but they have the highest highs and lowest lows; such as radio, OOH, circulars and direct mail, have a more even distribution.

Source: WARC Exclusive, Spotlight US, March 2021. Read the full article on WARC.

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