This year, we’re bringing in the end of the year with a series: 12 Days ‘til New Years. We’ll continue our tradition of highlighting the most notable brands and spending across ad tech platforms, consumer media, and B2B industries.
With winter holidays on the horizon, there’s one event that everyone’s looking forward to: New Years Day and the end of 2020.
Our series will follow the pattern of a familiar Christmas carol—12 Days of Christmas—but with the year’s end in sight.
Rather than twelve socially-distanced lords-a-leaping, first up are twelve new advertisers that arrived on the scene in 2020. From entertainment to government, these businesses and organizations took their place in a tumultuous year and made their products and services known to the quarantined, the distance-schooled, and the stir-crazy.
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2020 in a Nutshell
COVID-19 is a global phenomenon, and has had a huge impact on demand for different products and services.
When the pandemic struck, demand pivoted. Travel agencies, hairdressers, and daycare centers stood empty while streaming services and online shopping providers reaped the benefits of an audience stuck at home.
New businesses had to find their niche quickly in a world that changed drastically in the span of a few weeks.
Nonprofits and public service organizations faced the challenges of fundraising for and disseminating information to larger groups of people.
An Overview of 2020’s New Brands to the Top 5,000 List
Those brands that did make their mark catered to these new demands and desires, and the year’s advertising statistics make this impact clear.
From January through November of this year, a total of 411,000 brands spent $81.27 billion across all media formats. The top 5,500 new brands were responsible for $8.4 billion of this spend across TV, digital, and print.
2020 saw an increase in ad sales within the top 5,000 brands from DTC companies, subscription boxes, and OTT services. This change is evident in the list of 12 notable new brands below.
12 Notable New Advertisers in 2020
Mirror took their place in 2020 catering to audiences who could no longer frequent their regular gyms and were looking for a way to get exercise at home.
They brought their product and subscription service to the mix, catering to fitness enthusiasts who were short on extra space or craving connection during a time of social isolation.
Mirror spent $172 million advertising this year, a strong start in a market that seems tailor-made for this type of product.
Disney+ debuted at the end of 2019 as just another streaming service—albeit a streaming service with sole ownership of titles beloved by children and adults alike.
In 2020, they surpassed their projected goals by a landslide. One year after launch, the platform had 73.7 million subscribers, already surpassing their goal of 60 million by 2024.
Though Disney advertised in 2019, they were not part of the top 5,000 advertisers. This year, Disney’s $165 million in advertising made them a notable new brand within this list.
Apple took the leap into entertainment around the same time Disney+ launched at the end of 2019. As they entered 2020, there was speculation that they were struggling to gain new users. Then, COVID happened—which likely benefited the streaming service.
Apple hasn’t released the numbers, and it’s unclear how many subscribers will renew their free trials. Despite the lack of official numbers, much of the content Apple is producing is viewed as a success.
Though Apple is secretive about the number of active users they have, MediaRadar can see that they poured $119 million into advertising this year.
Another new arrival on the advertising scene was the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Of course, the CDC itself isn’t a new organization—but the need for widespread education originating with the organization was.
The CDC spent $79 million on ads, though that number might’ve been higher if Facebook hadn’t offered free advertising to the CDC, WHO, and other health-related organizations early in the pandemic.
The Farmer’s Dog
The pet food industry was already on the rise before the pandemic struck the US, and the Farmer’s Dog capitalized on the rise in online shopping by offering healthy meals for man’s best friend delivered right to customers’ doors.
Spending $79 million in advertising made the Farmer’s Dog noteworthy within the industry even in the midst of an unprecedented year.
Dogs weren’t the only one getting specialty food delivered straight to their door. ButcherBox capitalized on the same push towards online ordering by offering high-quality meat (for humans) in a simple subscription box.
Their $79 million in advertising targeted an audience that was staying in more frequently for meals and often worried about the scarcity of items such as meat in grocery stores.
Boll and Branch
Boll and Branch is a luxury bedding company selling fair trade, organic products including sheets, towels, pillows, and mattresses.
The $75 million the brand spent on advertising in 2020 likely speaks to a desire to catch potential buyers who were willing to invest more in home goods while spending more time stuck at home.
TikTok, the social media platform popular with younger generations, saw a year fraught with conflict, uncertainty, and enormous growth in popularity as users increasingly turned to the platform for connection with others.
Despite the app’s uncertain future and unfavorable mentions in the news, the company spent $35.6 million in advertising.
Truly Hard Seltzer
On average, Americans have increased their alcohol consumption by 14% during the Coronavirus pandemic. Health experts speculate that this increase is due to coping strategies employed against COVID-related stress.
Truly Hard Seltzer spent $22 million to ensure that when people were drinking, they were drinking Truly Hard Seltzer.
ESPN+ is another streaming service owned by Disney. By the end of their last fiscal quarter of 2020, Disney reported 10.3 million ESPN+ subscribers in the U.S. despite struggling to produce content at the beginning of the year.
The sports-centric platform spent only $15 million on ads, which may indicate that many users were only subscribing as part of the bundled deal with Disney+ and Hulu.
Avocado marks the second organic bedding company on our list, solidifying the idea that those spending more time at home want their homes to be more comfortable—but not at the expense of eco-friendliness. In fact, 23% of consumers worldwide report changing their sustainability habits for the better since the beginning of the pandemic.
Avocado products are also Climate Neutral certified, Greenguard Gold certified, and Made Safe certified, and the $12 million they spent on marketing this year allowed them to make sure that their eco-friendly audience knew as much.
Maybelline SuperStay Collections
We’ve previously covered some of the changes to the cosmetics industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. DTC beauty brands, as well as DIY cosmetic treatments and eye makeup, have done well as those stuck at home spend more time looking at their own faces on Zoom calls.
Maybelline spent $5.7 million advertising their SuperStay collection, perhaps in the hope that their audience would be particularly interested in makeup that wouldn’t be easily removed by a mask on those rare occasions when wearers did venture out in public.
There you have it: our 12 new advertisers of 2020, and the first piece in our 12 Days ‘Til New Years series. Ready for more? Come back Wednesday for 11 B2B Brands that Increased Ad Spend in 2020.
For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.