In Episode 55 of the “Law & Business” Podcast, Anthony speaks with Chelsey Pendock of Innovision Advertising. Innovision is an advertising placement agency and Chelsey discusses the sudden changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes which businesses are advertising, and why it is still important to advertise in more difficult economic times.


Anthony Verna: (00:02)
And welcome to the Law and Business podcast. You already know I’m Anthony Verna. with me is Chelsea Pendock from InnoVision Advertising. How are you doing, Chelsea?

Chelsey Pendock: (00:12)
Hi Anthony. I’m doing well. Thank you for having me on your show.

Anthony Verna:
Hey, not a problem. It’s the least showy show in all of podcast world. So, it’s also the least creatively titled show in all of podcastville as well.

Chelsey Pendock:
So it gets right to the point.

Anthony Verna: (00:30)
So, uh, InnoVision advertising is a what I would define as an advertising placement agency. How am I doing?

Chelsey Pendock: (00:38)
That’s correct. We specialize in media buying and media planning. We don’t do the creative in house, but we can certainly advise clients with advertising strategy and work with the creative team to make the messages best and most effective as it can possibly be. But our internal specialty is negotiating media rates and placing the media for clients, determining where they should be advertising to see an investment or a return on their investment rather.

Anthony Verna: (01:12)
In a time like this, I would assume that everybody’s first instinct is to, you know, especially those who are running businesses is to stop their advertising.

Chelsey Pendock: (01:25)
Yes. That is usually the first thing. When a panic hits, people always think of advertising as something that’s not really a necessity. Depending on the type of business you’re in, that actually could be true or it, most of the time actually isn’t. Yes, sometimes it is one of the first things to get caught in a recession.

Anthony Verna: (01:54)
So, have you been seeing that over the last two to three weeks?

Chelsey Pendock: (02:00)
We have, it just depends on the industry. There are certain businesses that are struggling right now and there are certain businesses that are actually thriving right now. Some of the clients that we work with that we’re seeing that had to make cuts are particularly in retail, plastic surgery, salons, restaurants, events in particular, and automotive and anything in the luxury sector as well. Travel. But we don’t work with a lot of entertainment clients, but we have seen a lot of people shying away too from, you know, Broadway shows. They can’t go to movie theaters anymore. So TV productions have been on hold. So we are seeing that. However, there are some businesses that are actually thriving in this type of environment who we work with, like healthcare providers, of course, lenders in particular, grocery stores, accountants, auto repairs, everyone still needs to get their cars repaired. And then of course, technology companies like Zoom I’m sure are doing phenomenally well at this time.

Anthony Verna: (03:13)
You know, speaking of grocery stores, a couple of the podcasts that I listened to specifically from Philadelphia and one of the grocery store chains there has started advertising for employees and they are blunt to the point. In this time of need, we have developed a need for more people to come and work for us. And I was really shocked and surprised at how quickly the messaging changed.

Chelsey Pendock: (03:49)
Yeah. I mean messaging is 100% key in this situation. If you are a business that’s going to keep advertising, it’s very important that you tailor your message. So, in the case you’re speaking of what the grocery store, they’re looking for recruitment at this time, that’s great. They definitely have to get that message out there. But there’s other companies that rather than holding back on advertising, all they really need to do is shift their message. So like people are, they’re taking this as they’re living in uncertain times, so they don’t want to make huge commitments to anything. So if you are a business that has the ability to show some flexibility, like maybe no cancellation fees or some promoted a risk-free opportunity for people so that they don’t feel like they’re locked in and that they’re going to spend too much money on something and then not be able to return it or not be able to cancel if they need to. So definitely tailoring the message at a time like this is critical.

Anthony Verna: (05:01)
What happens when an advertiser begins to pull back? I know you said that that some are thriving, some are not thriving right about now, but the advertisers that are pulling back, I mean, logically as somebody who has done advertising from a legal standpoint of the contracts and the reviews and budgets, I would sit here and say, well, if their messages not getting out, then they’re not advertising. It’s not working.

Chelsey Pendock: (05:34)
Right. There was actually a lot of benefits to continue with your advertising during a difficult time like this or during a recession. Essentially you have this opportunity now to have a leg up on your competition. Your competition might actually be stopping all of their advertising. If you’re front and center to your customers, letting them know that you’re open, you have a leg up on the competition. Another thing that’s great about advertising during a time like this is more inventory becomes available. So if you are continuing your advertising, you can ask for upgrades for better placement at the same price so that add a little closer in the newspaper to the front page or instead of advertising in daytime TV, maybe there was an opening in The Today Show or late night, you know, that kind of thing. There’s little benefits to actually keeping your advertising going.

There’s definitely not as much clutter going on right now. So, you can have a great opportunity to cut through all the clutter. There’s not too many. The commercial breaks are a little shorter. So it’s a great way to stay top of mind. On the flip side, if you cut your advertising during a time like this and we are probably looking at reopening businesses again, maybe as early as end of April. You’re going to have all that time lapse where people just forget about you and when they are in the market for your product or service, you’re going to have to start from scratch all over again.

Anthony Verna:
Are you finding those upgrades for your particular clients is? Are there any in mind that you have with those upgrades with even right now spending the same amount that they were?

Chelsey Pendock: (07:38)
I’m doing that right now for all of my clients that are still asking. We are taking full advantage of that because you know, it’s a win. The way I look at it really is, it’s a win-win for everyone involved. The media outlet is thrilled that they have a loyal customer that is in a position where they don’t have to cancel right now. And a lot of their advertisers are canceling and then the client’s thrilled because hey, they get to keep advertising. But now they get to pay the same price and get a better placement. So we’re definitely doing that right now for our hospital client and our lending client. Getting them moved up a little bit closer in newspapers to the front page, just recently got one of our clients on page two, so that was really nice.

Also, when it comes to like TV advertising, you start to notice that a lot of the primetime news shows they have some openings now. And this is a really weird situation in general this year because this was supposed to be a very bad time to advertise on TV because it’s a political year. So 2020, we’d knew in advance going into this that we’d be seeing a ton of preemptions. Our spots probably wouldn’t air because political comes in and they buy out all the inventory and makes it very challenging for small businesses to find available air time. But now political advertising’s on hold. We haven’t seen nearly as much of that, if any. For now and then we’ve had a lot of cancellations from advertisers that don’t really want to commit because it’s uncertain as to what’s going to happen when they’re going to reopen. So now that we’re seeing open inventory and this is a great opportunity, I mean the TV ratings are like increasing like crazy. Everyone’s glued to their screens, every day there’s a new update. Everyone wants to know what’s happening. So when they’re taking a break from Netflix or working from home, they’re checking out the news and there are actually spots available in newscasts to advertise. So those little opportunities are really working out really well for us right now.

Anthony Verna: (10:07)
I mean it’s logical. It makes perfect sense. I still find that to be absolutely amazing that what kind of availability there is right now for the advertiser.

Chelsey Pendock: (10:20)
Yeah. And I mean really this is unheard of right now in 2020 with an election year. But these are very unpredictable, odd, weird times we’re in.

Anthony Verna: (10:34)
Like you just said, you were able to get a client moved onto page two, I’m assuming obviously in a printed newspaper. I would assume that that there’s been… I mean maybe right now there’s some eyeballs going back to it, but I would assume that print feels dead right now. Or again, is that a space where you can find bargains to get eyeballs?

Chelsey Pendock: (11:04)
Well, so here’s the thing. The free publications, the free newspapers that you see on the way into the subway or something like that, pick one up in the morning. Those are actually on hold right now. They are not printing them anymore because of germs. People don’t want to touch that. And it just involves on the production side. And on the consumer side, it’s a little risky right now. So what these newspapers have done is they’ve adjusted by going into a digital mode. So they still publish them, but they’re now in a digital version. So you can go and look online and you could see all the latest headlines. However, with the publications that are paid subscriptions, those are actually getting mailed out to the individual’s homes. So those businesses are still thriving and it’s not as risky because it’s not touching as many hands.

And also, those free ones that you get on the subway, I mean, subway ridership is way down, so yeah. The printed ones that are sent to homes, those are still doing well in general. In general, even aside from this whole pandemic is the newspaper industry is actually surprisingly still doing fairly well. It is still a viable place to advertise depending on the type of industry you’re in and your target audience. It does tend to skew older. So, if we’re trying to reach baby boomers and up, newspapers can actually be still a good viable place to place advertising. But younger people as you see like gen X, millennials, gen Z, they’re all on screens all the time. So it really just depends on who your advertiser is. But, it’s still out there. It’s still alive and it’s still kicking.

Anthony Verna: (13:12)
With this particular time right now, as the advertisers can continue to advertise, those that are, I know you said some industries are looking strong right now for the advertising, but are there demographics that are stronger than others? Right now?

Chelsey Pendock: (13:34)
We’ve seen pretty much an increase across the board in terms of TV, with all the different demographics. So like, we’ve seen definitely a higher increase in TV ratings, for adults 35 and up. But we have seen a little bit of an uptick too with 18 plus. So I think really the younger generations are really going more towards social and digital to get their news, but we are definitely still seeing like a major increase in adults 35 plus online or on TV.

Anthony Verna: (14:21)
Wow. Because everybody was supposed to be going to Netflix by now and cutting the cord.

Chelsey Pendock: (14:25)
I think they’re doing both, actually.

Anthony Verna: (14:27)
I agree with you completely on that.

Chelsey Pendock: (14:32)
I think they’re doing, in terms of viewing habits, I think they’re doing both at this time. I think there’s a lot of everyone’s days are comprised of both news and entertainment. We can reach the younger generations now with what we call over the top advertising, which is streaming TV. Okay. So that would be like your HULUs of the world and that kind of stuff. So that’s another way to try to reach the younger demographics with TV advertising.

Anthony Verna: (15:08)
I mean, I never really thought that TV would, would completely go away. Mainly because when you take your cable subscription and, if your cable subscription is, Oh, I don’t know, $150 a month, you still have to pay for internet. So your internet is going to be at least $50 a month. And then, if you start adding five subscriptions onto that, well you’re not really saving, you’re not really saving money.

Chelsey Pendock: (15:40)
Exactly because it ends up being the same. It’s like a cherry pick selection of what you wanted. But it’s the same price.

Anthony Verna: (15:47)
Right. Because if everything goes ala cart, yeah, where’s the savings?

Chelsey Pendock: (15:51)
Right, exactly. It’s nice to have all these options, but the cable companies are actually adapting fairly well to all of this. They now have their own applications on phones where you can live stream anything from wherever on your mobile device or your iPad. So, everything’s all included in that too. So even still like broadcast, you know, there’s been people who have just never had cable. They’ve never wanted it. A broadcast is essentially free over the air with a digital antenna. So, broadcast is available through like Hulu and other streaming platforms too. So, we haven’t really seen and with all the new content out there too, haven’t really seen any kind of a dip in TV. I think with the adaptions that these companies are making, I think everything is just getting better.

Anthony Verna: (16:56)
And now they’re telling us and now we’re being forced to stay home and watch television. Yeah. You know it. Yeah. Don’t stay home and work on your business. Stay home and watch TV. Just go watch more television.

Chelsey Pendock: (17:16)
Yeah. Now’s a great time to catch up on all that binge-watching you’ve been wanting to do.

Anthony Verna: (17:23)
Which then of course means more eyeballs. So on your side, I’m sure you’re appreciative of that.

Chelsey Pendock: (17:33)
We’ve actually seen like even web traffic in general has been going up to, I mean I think people really want to stay in the know of what’s the latest, like when they’re going back to work and what’s happening outside now. Like it’s all a big question mark that we’re all glued to screens constantly.

Anthony Verna: (17:54)
But which means that if, if you’re looking to advertise, you need to be advertising on a news site at the very…

Chelsey Pendock: (18:02)
Yeah. You need to be advertising where your customer is. So like for example, if you are trying to reach like a gen Z demographic, then maybe we would want to reach them through like a streaming TV channel and we can actually play your TV commercial for them in between breaks of the show that they’re watching, just hypothetically. But, then there’s also like news clips online that we can, you know, play a video pre-roll ad that will show it’s like a 15 second ad or five second ad that can show before the news clip plays. Right. Or if there’s somebody that’s just glued to their TV and they fall within the democratic, then we can just advertise in the show. So there’s, depending on who you’re trying to reach, there’s definitely a way we can reach them, especially during this time with a video ad.

Anthony Verna: (18:59)
Since, believe it or not, we are beginning to hit the end. So let me ask you this… I know I didn’t prepare you for… Is podcast advertising worth it?

Chelsey Pendock: (19:12)
Yeah. Podcast advertising is pretty good at, depending on, now keep in mind that anybody can listen to your podcast from anywhere within national. So we would consider that more of like national advertising. It depends on your type of company. If for example, if it’s an eCommerce company that they can ship anywhere within the United States and have them, that makes perfect sense. But if it’s like for an attorney who’s licensed only in the state of New York or New Jersey, let’s say, it might not be the most cost-effective way to advertise.

Anthony Verna: (19:55)
Sure. I actually do listen to a podcast that comes out of Southern New Jersey and there’s a dentist advertising his practice and I’m like you’re wasting your money maybe because of all the people that podcast reaches.

Chelsey Pendock: (20:11)
Yeah. I mean, it depends too. Um, I think now like geo targeting might be coming available soon for podcasts. So depending on the podcast format, um, and who you buy it through, you might actually be able to geo target. And I think that’s gonna become more readily available in the future.

Anthony Verna: (20:33)
I agree with you on the geotargeting. I do see that in a couple, there’s one another podcast that I listened to that I noticed that the ads were radically different. I was at my parents’ house outside Philly as compared to the ads that I get when I downloaded it here, Northern New York city. So, so I am beginning to see that, but not for a lot of them, only for, there’s only one that I can think of that does that.

Chelsey Pendock:
Yeah, I think that’s going to become the new normal soon. But a podcast advertising … I wouldn’t say it’s like a new thing, but it is fairly new in the world of online advertising. So, you know, we’ll start to probably get into that geo-fencing or geotargeting for that a little bit more soon.

Anthony Verna:
I always found that that the traditional radio style ad where the host obviously does a read and the read is somehow integrated into the show is always better because it feels more personal anyway.

Chelsey Pendock:
Right. And that would of course be on the national level because it’s just part of the content.

Anthony Verna:
Understood. Completely. All right, Chelsea, believe it or not, we have run out of time and that felt very fast to be honest.

Chelsey Pendock: (21:58)
That’s great. Well, thank you for having me on the show.

Anthony Verna:
Oh, absolutely. Thank you for, for coming on the show and, and Chelsey Pendock again from InnoVision advertising and uh, so you can go to to find you, correct?

Chelsey Pendock:
Yup, absolutely.

Anthony Verna:
Thank you very much and thanks for being on the Law and Business podcast, everyone out there. Thank you for listening. And remember, if you’re listening on your favorite iOS device, unlike the iOS device you hate, please rate this podcast and give it five stars. Thanks very much for listening and we’ll see you next time.