Media should feed escapism need, Colwell says

The Marketing Society has launched a virtual event series to support members as they navigate the current Covid-19 crisis and look to make a recovery.  The first in the series, entitled ‘The Brand Impact of Covid-19 – React/Reality/Recovery’, saw a member panel explore the impact of the current coronavirus crisis along with some practical proposals.

Among those speaking were Richard Colwell, CEO, Red C Research; Andy Pierce, strategy director, Core; Rosemary Garth, director of communications and corporate affairs at Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers; Cliona Hayes, director of global SMB marketing and communications at Indeed and Geraldine O’Leary, group head of commercial at RTÉ.

Richard Colwell (pictured) said Covid-19 was experienced on two fronts.

Firstly, shock and awe followed by steadying the ship – the latter being focused on an acceptance of the current circumstances that were firstly met by fears based on uncertainty. He has singled out a new trend with society as a whole now turning to media to feed a need for escapism rather than the thirst for news which emerged in the early stages.

Core’s Andy Pierce reinforced the idea of a switch from current affairs and highlighted the three phases at the centre of their current approach: adaption, reaction and recovery. It is firstly necessary to ask whether previous messages are still suitable, followed by a re-evaluation of the objective which should now take on board opportunities to help others.

Finally, Pierce added, businesses should decide where they are going to be within the recovering economy, a phase that requires planning as soon as possible. Rosemary Garth said Irish Distillers’  initiative on making hand sanitiser began with firstly asking how the business could be of help. The public recognise the effort companies are making.

Cliona Hayes echoed this point and she agreed that at Indeed they want to do things that are authentic.  Her business is planning for the rebuild which will come from social listening insights. Geraldine O’Leary referenced campaigns like #createdontcontaminate and the Home School Hub as examples of the State broadcaster’s ability to adapt.

She said advertisers are willing to change their tone to better reflect the current emergency.

For more details on the virtual Covid-19 series, click on



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