EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED: The 2020 Summary for CPG Marketing

This might not be a hot news flash to any readers, COVID-19 has had a massive effect on all retail, including CPG — and the habits formed by consumers that are driving these changes are likely to stick around for a long time, if not forever.

To succeed in this new reality, brands and retailers must find ways to effectively drive consumer action while their usual in-person touchpoints aren’t available to consumers. While this may be frustrating for many companies that rely on in-store tools, digital marketers now have an unprecedented opportunity to make a real difference for their brands through effective marketing strategy and branding content.

To boost purchases during COVID (and beyond), successful brands are creating new ways to connect with consumers, by meeting them wherever they are – both physically and mentally. As an award-winning Los Angeles advertising agency, we have mastered the marketing strategy needed for our CPG clients during these times, through unique marketing campaigns, web design, graphic design, media planning and buying, and more. Keep reading for tips we have compiled to help connect your brand and increase engagement.


During the pandemic, consumers have been locked out of stores and forced to do most of their shopping online. US online sales surged 42% year-over-year in August, and COVID is credited with adding a whopping $107 billion in online sales since March. This has impacted all categories, but there have been major shifts in CPG — more than 70% of consumers have now bought groceries online. Most experts agree that once consumers try grocery shopping online once, they will buy increasing amounts due to the convenience.

While stuck at home, consumers are also taking on new hobbies and interests, many of which require them to purchase products. We have seen strong sales growth from social media platforms like Pinterest for cooking and baking projects, recipes, etc. This makes sense since consumers report spending more time on social media during the pandemic, and these “passive shopping” sites can quite naturally bridge to a purchase, assuming there is an easy path to a retail platform.

Packaging is the most overlooked form of owned media that every brand has complete control over, and very few brands are using it at all to drive repurchasing opportunities. With the simple addition of a cart-enabled QR code on packaging, brands can help shoppers skip the real or virtual aisle (and all of the competition on the aisle) and drop products directly in carts.



Being home with the same group of people for months-on-end has most of us looking for various ways to escape online. This is a golden opportunity for brands to provide more than just products and product information. Deliver some FUN to the masses of bored consumers! Use fun and playful content and engagement tactics to inspire trial and loyalty among consumers. 

Nearly 75% of consumers have tried a new product or brand in the last few months simply because it seemed fun or entertaining, according to consumer research experts. Consumers were reported trying new laundry detergents, paper towels, and other similar products just for the novelty of “something new.”



Everyone’s patience is wearing thin – and so is their attention span. Because of this, brands need to provide a simple and easy purchasing experience for their consumer. It’s remarkable how many brands will place an ad, which is intended to drive sales, without providing a clear path to make a purchase. 

The point of any advertisement is to make some consumers want to act, so it makes sense to make it easy for them to do so. Be sure to provide a link directly to a retailer cart or choice of carts, or at least to a page on your site where it is easy to choose a retailer.

Be sure to make it easy for consumers to buy multiple products at once — yours or your products bundled with others. Click-through increases by rates of 1.2-2x on ads and social media posts that let consumers cart multiple products (cleaning products, skincare regimens, or recipes). When you do the thinking for the consumer, they reward you with bigger orders!



In times of great change, it can be tempting to play it safe and see how things shake out. But during an evolution, it’s always the brands who see past the chaos and seize the moment that will win the day. In this retail evolution, it will be the brands and retailers who meet consumers where they are with fun, simple solutions, that will seize market share and enjoy growth for years to come.

As a full-service advertising agency in Los Angeles, the team at One Eighteen has 18+ years of experience and know-how that can help your brand optimize tools already in place, and create a winning plan for 2021. We specialize in helping challenger CPG brands burst onto the scene and into the grocery aisles. We should be your first call on January 2nd – or sooner!