Surely “unprecedented” is hustling for top spot as the most overused term of 2020. However, it’s not hard to see why: so many unique trends have emerged during this pandemic, including in the advertising space. In particular, heavily discounted media opportunities are abundant, even as more eyes are on the media during lockdowns.

To provide some context, typically distress rates are offered for advertising space in print, radio, TV and outdoor, if the space hasn’t been sold close to deadline or if there’s been a late cancellation. “Opportunities like this come to us a week or even a day before the deadline,” says Darren McKenzie, CEO at McKenzie Partners. “The media needs a decision on the spots quickly, as the prices are usually reduced dramatically and there are often other interested parties as a result.”

McKenzie points out that we’re seeing a different pattern of discounting in the COVID-19 era. “Currently there are plenty of opportunities to secure ad space at extremely discounted rates. In many instances, businesses who take up these spots are getting incredible value for money. Figures indicate that traditional primetime linear TV viewership, for example, is up more than 8% from pre-lockdown numbers. However, there are huge discounts being offered on TV spots.”

Of course, the value for clients will vary depending on the medium. “The distress rates we’re seeing for billboards is more of a reflection of the fact that the country has been in lockdown and there simply hasn’t been the traffic there. This, of course, will start to change over the coming weeks and months,” McKenzie says. “With radio, we’re not seeing the same level of discounting, although there are some great value sponsorship opportunities available.”

Despite the immense challenges of the pandemic, it has presented the opportunity for brands to experiment with platforms, such as TV, that have previously been off-limits. For example, clients with tighter budgets may have typically opted for smaller, more targeted, Catch Up TV campaigns, which are certainly still highly effective. However, right now they could try traditional TV spots to not only promote their offer but build a greater brand awareness with a potentially larger reach. Likewise, they may be able to secure radio sponsorships that would have previously been prohibitively expensive.

Ready meal company THR1VE is one of many businesses who have taken up discounted TV spots during the pandemic. With consumers hesitant to leave their homes to shop at crowded supermarkets, THR1VE wanted to boost awareness of their healthy meal delivery service.

“At THR1VE, we’ve taken advantage of discounted TV opportunities offered by McKenzie -Partners,” says Luke Baylis from THR1VE. “McKenzie really makes it easy because they do everything in-house, from creating great TVCs to booking TV spots. We saw increases in online traffic of up to 600% after TV campaigns. With plenty of eyes on content during lockdown and discounted rates, it’s a real no-brainer for us.”

Indeed, this is certainly a great time for brands to experiment with their offering. “I’d really encourage clients and potential clients to explore different mediums, if they have the means to,” says McKenzie. “It’s a relatively low risk way to see what resonates with potential customers. It’s hard to know if this kind of discounting will ever be offered again.”

McKenzie Partners is a full-service advertising agency with offices across Australia. We buy media daily and also offer creative services, including producing TV commercials at very low rates. Contact us today to find out more.