Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-5-2021


TenHulzen, B. (2021). Advertising during the COVID-19 global pandemic: the rise of influencer marketing strategies in a recession. Undergraduate thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Bre TenHulzen 2021.


The COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States in January of 2020 and has since impacted nearly all industries, including advertising. Consumers, the guiding factors for all advertising strategies, faced drastic lifestyle changes and behavior shifts which sent current strategies askew. The virus has created insurmountable unknowns, thus advertising and marketing experts must rely on historical and recent data to develop strategies for brands forging ahead. COVID-19 is the first global crisis in the age of social media which has both helped and hindered communication during the crisis. Additionally, emerging influencer marketing strategies are proving more effective than ever as brands try to find innovative ways to speak to consumers. As the virus continues to transform the world, advertisers must understand how both the industry and consumers have been affected and how they will continue to adapt in the future. While previous research has explored the impact of past recessions on consumer behavior and the advertising industry, few have thoroughly explored the effects of the ongoing pandemic. This focused literature review examines the repercussions of the virus on the advertising industry and consumers in 2020 and offers recommendations for advertisers looking to harness new methods to innovatively and genuinely speak to consumers in the future.