Advertising industry during pandemic

Interview with Vitaliy Yatskevich, CCO of PG Brand Reforming group


The world will never be the same again. Is the pandemic a threat or development for business?  How has everything changed and what will happen next?

We may not realize it until the end, but the world will not be the same anymore. The Earth is in a quarantine state: consumption is falling, businesses are going bankrupt, income among the population is falling.

China has shown everyone an example of how quickly and selflessly to cope with the threat; the states with developed civil society are showing wonders of self-organization.

China’s experience has shown an increase of services providing remotely during the epidemic. Consumers who were quarantined had to use “remote services”, and 84% of respondents had used it for the first time. Online medical consultations, online education, online services for remote work and entertainment became particularly popular. Online gaming and e-commerce have seen a significant growth.

However, the other needs arose during the period of self-isolation:  emotional boosters and a desire for positive news as well as emotional support for each other. We all remember the “virulently” dispersed video from Italy, where the neighbors were playing musical instruments and singing on balconies. Obviously, emotional and socially active Italians lack warm spiritual communication.

In neighbouring Poland, total quarantine and forced self-isolation have created a phenomenon of mutual supportiveness and neighbors support. In the entrances there are announcing of help for “seniors” (elderly people): if someone needs to go to a shop or walk a dog, the younger inhabitants will be happy to help.

My friend from Ukraine, who returned to Poland after the introduction of a total quarantine for those entering the country, was placed on mandatory quarantine for 2 weeks. He has to stay in isolation and the police was checking if he was at home. How pleasantly he was surprised by the support of the social service, which provided him with free food, when himself, he has no right to go to the shop. And it is very difficult to order food delivery at home in the coming days because of the hype.

Many sewing companies in Poland have begun to sew masks and to give them to hospitals as part of the charity. Mass fees have been launched to help doctors and hospitals. The society was filled with solidarity and mutual help.

There are also examples of mutual aid in Belarus, but IT-companies were mostly noted. We can see that the level of penetration of information from Western sources and Western trends is much higher than in other companies. As well as the availability of financial opportunities in the IT sector is much higher than in other firms in Belarus.

And what can brands do in this difficult time? Is this time of waiting for improvement? What can Belarusian companies do at this critical moment?

The experience from China shows that consumers noticed and appreciated the brands that gave some kind of support to the society. Yes, at this difficult time companies need to think about how they will support their consumers. This is a complicated moment for everyone, but brands can now win extra points by doing so.

One of my friends from Moscow, who sells educational webinars, complained about competitors who gave consumers promotional codes for free access to content, which, he said, ruins the market. He lost all sales, many projects are canceled, payrolls are reduced. However, companies that can help their consumers now will be able to count on these consumers in the future. Notice that the world will not be the same as it was before: not only our income will change, but also consumer behavior. Let’s learn more about it.

We will learn how to consume online.

Which categories of our consumption will start to go online more and more?

First of all, medical and pharmaceutical services. This will be the flourishing of self-diagnostics, with all kinds of express tests and medical consultations online. Getting advice, getting tested and buying medication online will all be possible soon.

Buying food will really change and already now food producers need to think about how their packaging will look online rather than on the shelf in a real store. Shelf-test needs to be re-qualified as an Online shelf-test. It will be an era of large brand blocks on the packaging, very clear color differentiation and large clear Buying food will really change and already now food producers need to think about how their packaging will look online rather than on the shelf in a real store. Shelf-test needs to be re-qualified as an Online shelf-test. It will be an era of large brand blocks on the packaging, very clear color differentiation and large clear claims.

It will also affect the UI/UX of online stores themselves. In fact, previously the product card was created based on how it will fit into the photo package. However, now it will be necessary to present the product in a different way, which will encourage the creation of a different visual content for the online stores, rather than in the real stores. Tactile properties and visual effects in real packaging will be replaced by online presentation, animation, video and AR/VR. As well as packaging size and materials will be changed under the influence of the online presentation.

Everything that can be “put” online will be put there. Insurance, credit, work from home, entertainment online. The first “Birthdays” have already been held online, as well as the first time it was played in a crocodile via zoom. You can open an online board game club and an online bar, where you can chat with the online bartender at the online stand.

For retailers and developers, it would be a good idea to think about creating comfortable ecosystems where all facilities are in a short distance away. After all, if such pandemics would repeat and we would live in permanent quarantines, it would make sense not to take public transport for buying milk to the neighboring area and “risk your life”, but just go down to the ground floor of the house and buy this milk there. But the  “convenience”objects are not possible without construction of corresponding infrastructure. It is already obvious that developers need to re-qualify for building districts with convenient infrastructure of easy accessibility instead of panel ghettos.

One thing is certain, that the leaders will be those companies that will not hang on to the past, but will find opportunities for themselves in the new realities. And I very much hope that you will support your consumers, your clients and your neighbors at this challenging moment, and we will all be able to survive this difficult time with mutual support.


Vitaliy Yatskevich


Date of publication:

30 April 2020



Vitaliy Yatskevich


Date of publication:

30 April 2020


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