14th October 2020, By Elijah Samson, Creative Director

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In the shadow of every problem is a new possibility. That’s the message in Dr. Robert Schuller’s book, Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do! The book shows you ways to build a positive self-image, irrespective of the stumbling blocks on the path of success. No matter how tough time can get, each of us has the potential to turn our negative into a positive.

The outbreak of Covid-19 is, undoubtedly, seeing the ad industry reeling under tough times.

Although, the industry is no stranger to disruptions caused by the economic slowdowns, political tensions and even natural disasters, most of those episodes in the past have been short-lived. However, the lockdown due to the pandemic has brought attention to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan Theory – a metaphor that describes an event or a development to have an unpredictable impact and potentially severe consequences.

It appears that the crisis will leave a permanent mark on the socio-economic landscape of India with the manufacturing sector hit hard leading to job losses, salary cuts, and consumption levels for many brands reducing to a near zero. The shrinking GDP (approx. -23% for the last quarter) is a reflection of an economy perforated by uncertainties.

There is no gainsaying in the fact that the ad industry is heavily dependent on a vibrant manufacturing sector, and, of course, interpersonal connect of the people in an ad firm. Naturally, rethinking ways to operate is only par for the course. Therefore, encouraging people to work from home, going online, holding virtual meetings, among other ways of interacting and believing the show must go on only reiterates an adjustment to what is euphemistically called the ‘new normal’.

With discretionary spends and planned purchases being sidelined, for instance, nobody is buying a new car, a new home or whatever else that underlines the ‘I, me, myself’, consumer spending is seeing a spike on essentials, health & hygiene products. Saving money has become a priority. In such circumstances, where consumers avoid stepping outside, online shopping for groceries and medicines has seen tremendous growth, with orders of leading e-tailing platforms growing multifold.

The offshoot of this implies that advertising space is seeing an explosive growth in digital content consumption, especially on social media and OTT. We have a paradox of increased TV viewership, but advertising is limited to select categories, like essentials, health & hygiene. It is said, “In the winds of change, we find our direction”. The ad industry certainly has through digital advertising. It is reinventing itself to stay in the game. Tough people reinvent themselves. And that holds the promise to rise above all odds.