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It was already a crowded environment to be a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand before the pandemic, but once eCommerce ballooned, competition increased even further. In response, retail brands—whether traditional or DTC—were forced to advance their advertising efforts. 

Which consumer brands increased their advertising spend at the end of 2020?

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Traditional Brands Put Pressure on DTC Market

As online shopping spiked last year, traditional retailers barged in on the DTC space.

“All these major companies that have strong brands are making DTC a much bigger component to how they do business,” explained Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. Brands like Nike and Under Armour can successfully act like a DTC brand because they already have a loyal customer following. 

This trend is pushing the cost to acquire customers for DTC brands even higher—meaning that DTC brands will likely pour even more money into advertising and find new ways to build their brand. 

This may look like increasing their physical footprint with “brand-building locations” or partnering with large retailers, like Target, Costco, or Nordstrom. Or it may look like building their presence on DTC product review sites. 

Review sites like Thingtesting, The Verticale, and The Fascination help consumers check out products based on their quality, values, and story. Using these sites as an additional channel, DTC brands can build brand trust and drive purchases. 

“The day we were featured on Thingtesting is still one of the biggest sales days we’ve ever had,” said James Shalhoub, cofounder of pet care brand Finn to Morning Brew. “Platforms like them and The Fascination, which are so mission-forward around authenticity and thoughtfulness, legitimize us in a way traditional media can’t.” 

But even as different tactics arise, brands will still need to invest heavily in traditional media. Which retailers invested significantly in advertising at the end of last year?

7 Brands Who Ended Q4 2020 On A High Note


This analysis looks at ad placement in national broadcast & cable TV, digital (desktop & mobile), podcasts, weekly and monthly magazines, and daily newspapers in the largest 25 DMAs. 

This analysis includes traditional and DTC brands, as both are readjusting their advertising and distribution strategies in response to last year. 

1. Bombas

The comfort sock and apparel brand, Bombas, is dedicated to supporting those in need. For every pair of socks purchased, another pair is donated. This socially conscious brand has an upcoming RFP predicted in May.

Its 2020 top formats were:

  • TV: Hallmark, CNN, HGTV, Food Network, History
  • Podcasts: American Public Media, Bardic, Armchair Expert, Earwolf, Wondery

2. Louis Vuitton (Men) 

French luxury brand Louis Vuitton spent more on advertising its men’s collection at the end of last year. MediaRadar can put you in touch with their agencies in New York and over 35 LVMH company contacts.

Its 2020 top formats were:

  • Print: GQ, Esquire, The New Yorker, The New York Times,
    The Economist
  • Digital: CNN, WSJ

3. Tecovas Boots

Tecovas Boots is a DTC brand that creates handcrafted western goods. Last quarter, it allocated 97% of their annual advertising budget to television.

Its 2020 top formats were:

  • TV: History, Discovery, DIY, Motor Trend, Travel Channel
  • Digital: MSN, Ramsey Solutions (podcast)

4. Birddogs

Birddogs, a men’s pants and shorts company that builds apparel with built-in underwear, is another brand to consider contacting this quarter. 

Its 2020 Top Formats were:

  • TV: ESPN, NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Adult Swim, NBA
  • Podcasting: Westwood One Network, Barstool Sports, The Ross Bolen podcast

5. MVMT Watches

Premium watch and accessories brand MVMT Watches is predicted to have an upcoming RFP in March.

Its 2020 top formats included:

  • TV: Investigation Discovery, Hallmark Movie, Motor Trend, MTV, MSNBC
  • Podcasting: Barstool Sports, The Church of What’s Happening Now

6. Mejuri

Fine jewelry brand Mejuri is particularly worth noting because it has an active RFP out now.

Its 2020 top formats included:

  • TV: OWN, HGTV, E!, WE Network, Hallmark
  • Print: Vogue
  • Podcasting: Casefile Presents, Wondery,
    Crooked Media, Radiotopia, Call Your Girlfriend

7. REI Co-Op 

Even though REI initially was forced to lay off retail workers in response to COVID-19, it was spending more on advertising by the end of the year. In 2020, REI Co-Op placed 39% of their annual advertising budget with Snapchat.

The outdoor retailer REI has an active RFP predicted for June. 

Its 2020 top formats included:

  • Snapchat: NFL, Vice, BBC Radio, MTV, Looper

For more details on the spending breakdown of each of these brands and who to contact, reach out to us directly at MediaRadar. 

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