Cathy Ibal, Senior Vice President for CNN International Commercial for EMEA, shares comments below on the impact of COVID-19 on advertising and media:

On New Ways Of Working:

Much has changed, of course, but at the heart of this new way of working remains culture. We are lucky in 2020 to have all types of technology to be in contact with colleagues, clients, family, friends, but even the most sophisticated technology cannot truly connect us all without the right organizational culture and approach. My teams across EMEA are using digital tools to share knowledge, increase collaboration and social bonding with each other as well as our international offices. We are also using the same tools and a proactive approach to keep in close communications with our partners to ensure business continuity and provide services, guidance and counsel.

On How CNNIC Is Working With Its Advertising Clients During This Time:

It is important to adapt and be proactive. We have taken a number of steps including establishing a dedicated taskforce comprising experts from across CNNIC’s global teams to advise clients on best practice and appropriate media strategy. Yes, it makes sense for some clients to pause campaigns, but for many it is more appropriate to continue advertising and instead pivot messaging to reflect the changing times and their own brand’s response. Case studies from previous crises show us that usually a brand that goes ‘dark’ can take longer to regain public awareness and trust.   

On Wider Trends In The Advertising Industry:

Whenever there is a macro economic/business downturn, there will usually be a general downturn inadvertising.  Key sectors of the advertising industry have been impacted differently. While sectors such as travel and tourism obviously are hit hardest, other sectors such as technology and home entertainment are showing continuity or growth and therefore more interest in sharing messages with global audiences

On Reasons To Be Optimistic:

It is hard to be optimistic when we are all concerned for the health and wellbeing of friends, family and colleagues. However, from a business perspective I draw positivity from how the international news industry has risen to the challenge of helping stop the spread of COVID-19. I am in awe of the enduring work and dedication of my CNN editorial colleagues to share important news and information with the world, which is so vital in an age of misinformation. We at CNN International Commercial are complementing these efforts, including through joining forces with the BBC and Euronews to make $50m of media inventory available to public health bodies for sharing important messages about measures that can prevent the spread of the virus.