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The COVID-19 Pandemic at the Intersection of Marketing and Public Policy
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing  (IF4.5),  Pub Date : 2020-05-28, DOI: 10.1177/0743915620932151
Maura L. Scott, Kelly D. Martin, Joshua L. Wiener, Pam Scholder Ellen, Scot Burton

We write this editorial in the midst of a global pandemic. At the time of our writing in mid-May 2020, 215 countries and territories worldwide report over 5.4 million cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and more than 345,000 confirmed deaths; but given problems with available testing, those numbers are likely magnitudes higher (worldometer.info). Few, if any, people have been unaffected by the scale and scope of the virus or the far-reaching efforts deployed in attempt to reduce its spread. Estimates suggest that billions of people have been or are in lockdown, and many schools and businesses have been or remain closed to in-person activity (BBC 2020). Many establishments have shut their doors altogether. In this unprecedented time, effects of COVID-19 on most aspects of daily life have made salient myriad implications for marketing and public policy. While some of these diverse issues can be informed by extant marketing and policy-related research, others appear less understood, with the ramifications still coming into focus. As the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (JPP&M) prepares to transition its editorship, our two teams have come together to offer insights about the COVID-19 pandemic at the intersection of marketing and public policy. We aimed to do this in two ways. First, we look to previous research featured in the Journal that directly informs marketing and public policy as relevant to our current reality and affected by COVID-19. We note that our Journal has long spoken to issues of disaster, consumer vulnerability, and pandemics and health risk, among other relevant and useful topics. Findings across these three particular themes, however, can especially help marketing researchers, public policy makers, marketing managers, consumers, and other affected constituencies as they navigate some of the complexities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Our second goal is to probe several of the most pressing issues that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we believe warrant special attention. In the spirit of JPP&M’s editorial mission, we engaged a cross-disciplinary set of experts to include leading marketing scholars who conduct research in these specific areas, as well as scholars outside of marketing (e.g., medicine [Berry and Stuart 2020]; climate science [Mende and Misra 2020]), and practitioners (e.g., nonprofit agency managers and field officers [Bublitz et al. 2020]). The list of topics and authors is featured in Tables 1 and 2. We asked these scholars to provide us a brief commentary on how COVID-19 has created unique implications for their field of study based on what is known as of May 2020. We also incorporate input from the authors regarding specific public policy implications (Table 1) and future research questions (Table 2) from their research expertise at its intersection with COVID-19. We realize that the fluid and fast-moving nature of this pandemic and its various response efforts will continue to present additional policy implications and future research questions. Those outlined in Tables 1 and 2 should nonetheless provide an excellent starting point to inspire action and lead to future research. We continue now by looking to JPPM’s rich past to share understanding, then draw from the various commentaries for future-looking insights.