Advertising in Asia expected to recover fastest amid Covid-19, says SCMP expert

May 18, 2020
SCMP Updates
Media group’s leaders reveal predictions, insights and tips to global executives during the webinar, ‘Is it safe to advertise in the time of Covid 19?’

With businesses striving to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the South China Morning Post’s leaders have explained how the right advertising approach can really help brands stay relevant and competitive. 

SCMP’s webinar titled “Is it safe to advertise in the time of Covid-19?”, held on May 14, looked at how Covid-19 had affected advertising budgets in Q2 and beyond. It was watched by  senior executives from the advertising real estate and retail sectors in Hong Kong, and Singapore and other overseas markets.

Dawn Chan, SCMP’s international business director, offered an upbeat prediction, saying that Asia is expected to recover faster than other regional markets. She also said SCMP had found advertising in both investment banking and health care had remained resilient, and that tourism, government and property sectors were expected to be the first sectors to invest in advertising again. 

Lou Wee, business director of Hong Kong and regional markets, said brands must accept that consumers think and feel differently during times of recession, and look at psychological segmentation instead of traditional segmentation. 

Brands should also be aware that although 70 per cent of media buyers had adjusted or paused their advertising efforts, their competitors could be taking advantage of the cheaper advertising costs now available to acquire a greater market share, he said. A survey carried out in March for the World Federation of Advertisers showed that  81 per cent of respondents had deferred their marketing campaigns, but 79 per cent also said they were creating new campaigns in response to the situation.

Ian Hocking, vice-president, digital, explained why it is important for advertisers to evolve from brand safety – which filters out inappropriate keywords, but suffers limitations such as rigidity and reduced reach – to brand suitability, which pays close attention to the context of the article.  

He introduced a tool called SCMP Signal that applies an algorithm to look for positive and negative sentiments and also rank keywords and overall content. It means the tool can show how the article might be perceived, and helps ensure every campaign is safe and focused in the right place.

The webinar ended with a series of  questions from the audience, which covered topics ranging from advertising tactics in light of the coronavirus disease pandemic to industry-specific questions. A recording of the webinar is available on the slider. Contact us at [email protected] to get a copy of the presentation.


The South China Morning Post is a leading global news company that has reported on China and Asia for more than a century. Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, where it is the city’s newspaper of record, with a growing correspondent staff across Asia and the United States. SCMP's vision is to “Elevate Thought” and our mission is to “Lead the global conversation about China”. Additionally, SCMP publishes a portfolio of premium lifestyle and fashion titles in Hong Kong including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire and, Harper’s BAZAAR. SCMP is also home to Abacus, a digital news brand focused on China's tech industry; Inkstone, a daily news brief for those curious about China's growing impact around the world; and Goldthread, a content platform with a focus on food, travel and culture in China. In 2020, SCMP became the first news organisation in Asia to join the Trust Project, a consortium of top news companies developing global transparency standards for credible journalism.