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Gesundheit: Advertising for Seasonal Allergy Sufferers

Bridget Johnston March 24, 2021

Tis the season for sniffles, sneezing, itchy eyes, and asking yourself, “Are these symptoms from allergies? Or something worse?” 

Seasonal allergy symptoms have appeared in digital advertising spots, from pharma companies to retail brands. Last March was an outlier year however, as marketers pulled advertising budgets. At the time, creative content shifted as marketers decided not to showcase any COVID-19 symptoms.

So how does marketing creative look this year? Are brands making distinctions between how they’re showcasing sneezing, coughing and congestion in their ads? 

Plants and Pollution

During this time in 2020, all creative revolved around the pandemic. Advertisers chose to showcase hand-washing, wearing masks, and people staying home to flatten the curve.

Interestingly, advertisers and consumers alike are staying away from seasonal conditions this year as well. For example, looking at common allergens, we see:

  • The popularity of images and videos showing pollution have dropped approximately 50% over the last three months. 
  • CTR of ads depicting pollution have dropped over this time as well. 
  • Plants have dropped in both popularity and engagement (CTR) since the beginning of 2021.

Then vs. Now: Sneezing and Social Distancing 

Leading up to the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, ads that showcased sneezing surged in popularity. Immediately following initial lockdowns, these ads dropped in popularity and engagement, in favor of focusing on social distancing. For example, the models on Facebook and Instagram practiced social distancing last March, with 27.4% fewer images and videos ads that display models kissing, hugging, holding hands, shaking hands, or touching.

Social distancing in 2021 looks quite different in digital advertising. 

When analyzing digital marketing data over the course of the last year, Pattern89’s AI discovered the following: 

  • Imagery of people “making out” saw a 165% increase in CTR in 2021. Clearly, people are eager to engage with this content right now.
  • Images of mouths have gone up 16.5% in popularity. Advertisers are getting more comfortable showing this again, though it can still be shocking.
  • “Kissing” has also gone up in popularity, by roughly 253%.

From what the data tells us, consumers are eager to see life return to normal… But consumers and advertisers alike are still wary of any signs of sickness in their seasonal allergy advertising. 

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