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Since its inception, the Ad Council’s message and slogans have been woven into the very fabric of American culture. Whether it was fighting Polio, preventing AIDS, responding to September 11th, or providing critical information about the dangers to physical and mental health, the Ad Council has continued to produce impactful public service engagement campaigns that raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. For many years, C+R Research and the Ad Council have been long-time partners, so we were especially pleased when the Ad Council reached out to us to launch an on-going quantitative exploration of what Americans need, feel and fear about the global outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. Core research questions included…

  • Where are Americans getting news about COVID-19, and what are their most trusted sources? 
  • How connected do Americans feel to their family and friends? 
  • How are Americans coping with various financial, emotional and mental health challenges? 

Ultimately, the goal of this research was to identify the greatest needs of Americans and to help those with the most resources— brands, foundations, the media and causes—make strategic decisions in their efforts to address the impact of COVID-19 on the American public.


With significant impacts of the virus arising around the country in real-time, The Ad Council needed to address the urgent, varied needs of Americans triggered by this crisis. Our client needed research results fast -- not only to keep up with the rapid pace of the evolving pandemic, but also to meet critical news deadlines for their strategic media partners each week. 


Thanks to this agile method, the Ad Council was able to help its strategic media partners, as well as foundations, brands, and causes, make more informed decisions about how they could best address the impact of COVID-19 on Americans. The Ad Council created and shared weekly reports, which highlighted key findings from each week of research. The entire kit of results from this research can be found here and is also available to the general public. The results also garnered national media coverage, with mentions in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Yahoo! News and more.


Since we were asked to measure and trend results week-over-week, we designed an agile tracking method that enabled us to field the survey on Friday morning and deliver final data by noon the following Monday. How did we execute this quick-turn research for 5 straight weeks? 

  • We crafted a 10-minute, mobile-friendly, tracking survey with the ability for the Ad Council to customize certain questions each week to address hot topics as the virus outbreak evolved.
  • Our Field Team worked with one of our trusted partners to procure a reliable, gen-pop sample of n=1,000 Americans ages 18+ to complete the survey each week. They also ensured our sample was representative to Census on numerous demographic figures, including age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, household composition and annual income level. 
  • We leveraged Q software to create a real-time web-based data portal using their DisplayR feature, which allowed the Ad Council to access trended cross-tabulations created by C+R as well as build their own custom tables and charts with a pre-set selection of options that could be quickly edited and filtered as needed.  
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