Doomsday marketing

If the world is bound to change after COVID-19, its marketing strategies will not be the same for sure. Many see the ongoing pandemic as a doomsday harbinger. Even a vaccine will not entirely erase the apocalyptic sentiments from people’s memory. How soon will smart marketers succeed in swaying consumers to rampant spending by calling them to enjoy life while they have the chance because tomorrow may never come?

Apocalyptic marketing is going to be the absolute hit of the post-COVID-19 season. The joy at the lifting of self-isolation orders will be fleeting. The days that will follow will again be filled with anxiety and anticipation of a new outbreak.

At this stage, no one can even venture a guess about what will happen to the world in the near future. Will we face a second wave of the pandemic, or even a third one?! Will the novel coronavirus become seasonal, like the flu, and rage every fall and winter? Accompanied by all the inconveniences such as quarantines, self-isolation, closure of shopping and entertainment centers, boutiques, and other services. Moreover, epidemiologists continued to wind people up harping on about the virus being bound to be with us for a long time.

So what shall we do, spend or save? That is a question of Hamletian proportion. If another doomsday is tomorrow, what is the point in saving money for something you can buy today?  The conclusion suggests itself, and marketing experts have no choice but to turn it into a sustainable trend.

For many, the future was not too bright even without the pandemic, and it is even darker now. The reasons why one should keep a balance between saving and spending are disappearing before our very eyes. The trend towards consuming can become excessive, at least in the next one or two years.

The principles of apocalypse marketing are simple and therefore convincing. We should buy more, here and now. We should cater to our whims and fancies, so that we would not be tortured by the purposeless self-isolation without the excitement of a shopping spree.

Anything could happen as regards a second wave of COVID-19, and people may choose to save the minimum amount of money and start spending the rest of it. This is not panic buying so typical of people during the onset of the coronavirus outbreak or a crisis; these are reasonable and regular expenses.

In addition, consumers will accept more loan offers regardless of their available monthly incomes due to the same urge to live life to the full. One should take any loan offered; the more debts one has, the higher the chances of receiving anti-coronavirus support through debt refinancing, repayment holiday, or writing off debts. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that governments is various countries willingly make efforts to provide substantial assistance to consumers who have been most affected – those without savings and a stable cash flow.

People definitely need to save for a rainy day – but once again, only a minimum amount, while extra money should be spend on yourself, that sort of sentiment. 

In this regard, it would be interesting to revisit this issue in a year and see the way apocalyptic sentiments will change spending patterns as well as the way they will ultimately affect consumption life-cycle. Will people choose daily expenses over savings? Will we see a surge in consumer and auto loans? Or, in other words, will marketing experts succeed in being proactive to attract the maximum number of clients until the market is hit by a new onslaught of the coronavirus?   

By Igor Pylayev, Co-Chair of the Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia) Committee for the Development of the Film and Television Industry

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