How brands can thrive by repurposing digital assets during the pandemic

Gradually, we are getting used to the new reality. People are coming to grips with social distancing, the one-and-a-half-meter economy, and how best to avoid contamination of ourselves and those around us.

While we need to be cautious about the coronavirus, brands and advertising agencies also need to find ways to continue where they left off. This is challenging, due to physical and financial limitations. As we have been shifting recently towards a digital age, we see opportunities for marketeers. Instead of creating new content for video ads, brands and agencies could repurpose their existing assets to create new ads. This measure will save both time and money.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Although recycling may seem like a modern concept, is has been around for thousands of years. Recycling has taken off as concerns about the environment have caused many people to change their attitudes regarding waste disposal. Nowadays, there’s a wide range of physical materials that can be recycled. What has started with obvious goods as paper and many metals, the scope of recycling has shifted towards e-waste due to the rising usage of electrical appliances and electronic gadgets. But, did you know also digital (i.e. non-physical) materials can be recycled? There’s a new kid on the block in the world of recycling: digital assets.

Digital assets are files like photos and videos. If these digital files contain the rights to use them, they are considered an asset. Traditionally, digital assets have been used for single purpose only. For example, one asset will be created for a banner ad and a very similar but separate asset for a Facebook advertisement. Instead, brands can now make use of repurposing their digital assets. By making use of a Creative Automation platform, content can be transformed fast, and a fresh spin can be put on older assets to create new ads.

Re-purposing digital creatives

So, why should brands and agencies make use of repurposing their assets? We have listed the following problems companies face these days:

  1. Increasing agency and production costs – according to a survey of 300 senior marketeers across industries, these costs make up around 40% of advertising budgets and around 20% of overall marketing budgets. These costs include fees for advertising agencies, production and the market research behind creating and evaluating the ads and content. Obviously, management will be pleased if costs can be cut while achieving a higher turnover. 

This goal can be achieved by insourcing the production. By making use of a creative management platform, the production costs will decrease. Once in a while, new long-term creatives should be produced, but in essence, there is a positive cost advantage after repurposing assets.

  1. Production shoots are on hold – for a large variety of reasons, the actual shooting of creative content can be interrupted for whatever reason. Examples are miscommunication, equipment failure or in a rare case … a pandemic. During the Covid-19 outbreak, many production shoots for movies and/or commercials have been postponed. Rules and regulations set by local authorities don’t allow people to convene in order to contain the virus. Furthermore, from an ethical perspective, companies proactively cancel production shoots to protect their employees. 

During these difficult times, digital assets can be repurposed in a smart and effective way. By making use of Creative Automation tools, existing assets can be regenerated and the number of possibilities is infinite! This way, brands can maintain a steady flow of ‘new’ creatives, even in less prosperous times. 

  1. Time-to-market – it is essential for companies to act fast when they see an opportunity. Working with multiple external parties takes time and there’s a real risk that the momentum has passed once a creative is finished. In addition, companies need to act fast when their existing or planned ads turn out to be sensitive. A recent example is KFC, an American fast food restaurant chain. People had complained to British advertising body ASA about the commercial, as encouraging people to lick their fingers while eating isn’t the best advice in times of a coronavirus pandemic. KFC decided to put the ad on hold as it didn’t seem the right time to air the ads.

Working with a creative management platform allows brands to make hay when the sun is out or to act quickly when they are forced to put a campaign on hold. A pre-conceived template can be combined with various video elements, such as scenes, texts, voice-overs, audio, products and images. Depending on the audience, relevant elements are put together in a video, created uniquely for the target viewer. This way, companies can switch fast and customize their messages.

4. Decrease in marketing budget – according to CNBC, the world’s largest advertisers (roughly 81% worldwide!) are deferring planned ad campaigns and cutting budgets (roughly 57% worldwide!) during the coronavirus pandemic. Also, CMOs of brands consider moderate to significant budget cuts due to coronavirus-related disruption. They take action by creating and implementing cost optimization plans as soon as possible, and take into account the potential implications the crisis may have on their budgets. Brands and agencies should respond to the impact of the virus swiftly. What are the scenarios? How should they operate in the near-term while keeping their long-term marketing and enterprise goals top of mind? 

A Creative Automation platform takes both the near and the long term into account. In the short run, creative assets can be produced at scale in a highly cost-effective way. With limited investment, recycling existing assets into thousands of new assets enables marketing departments to achieve a similar consumer impact as before the virus struck us.


As brands are limited in their marketing activities due to deferred ad campaigns and cut budgets, they have to be creative. A lower budget does not necessarily mean the planned marketing activities have to be postponed. A Creative Automation platform allows brands to achieve the same results with a lower budget. If brands adopt such a platform, the main question is whether they will return to the old way of doing things post-pandemic? The chance this happens is likely to be small, as this way of producing creatives offers many opportunities, see the figure below.

Using a Creative Automation platform to produce creatives, offer many opportunities.

When the pandemic is over, there’s a fair chance the mindset of consumers will have changed. People become humbler and think twice before making decisions. In this situation, adopting a creative management platform and recycling your digital assets represents a major opportunity.

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Apr 30, 2020
Pim van Willige
Pim van Willige
Marketing Specialist at Storyteq
As Storyteq’s Marketing Technologist, Pim develops, implements, monitors, and optimizes digital marketing campaigns across various marketing channels. After hours, you can find him heading out for a run or racing his bike.

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