A litmus test for marketing

Budget cuts, furloughs, layoffs and business hits are just the start. Marketing will be put to bigger tests in a post-lockdown world

What isn’t business-critical is a lamb to the slaughter, even in the world’s biggest companies. Coca-Cola − a textbook example of brand transcending product, and a company that spends upwards of $4 billion a year on marketing – has paused non-digital promotions. “We have determined that in this initial phase, there is limited effectiveness in broad-based brand marketing,” CEO James Quincey said in an April 21 investor call. “With this in mind, we have reduced direct consumer communication, paused sizeable marketing campaigns through the early stages of the crisis and will re-engage when the timing is right.” The cola giant reported a 25% fall in global volumes in the first quarter. Its second quarter doesn’t look great either, because half its revenue is hit by sponsorship and event cancellations, and closures of restaurants, theatres, stadiums, and other public venues.

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