The year 2020 certainly took a turn with the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Seemingly all aspects of life were affected and had to be adjusted in order to follow new social distancing and quarantine guidelines. Some of our favorite brands took a big hit as well, which opened up some interesting opportunities when it comes to advertising. With product sales taking a large dip, but an audience that is watching up to 60% more than usual from remaining inside, brands took varying approaches to this new market. Now, companies are not selling, but building relationships with consumers by creating ad campaigns to inspire hope and comfort to a worrisome audience. This has presented a rare moment for brands to demonstrate their core values to the public, without prioritizing making a profit. Below are a few of our favorite, and most successful COVID-19 adjusted ad campaigns.
With St. Patrick's Day events among some of the first to be cancelled, this one of the many activities the public was distressed about during the beginnings of the outbreak. The popular holiday also contributes to a great portion of Guinness sales, so the brand was aware off the bat that they were already in for a big hit. The company knew that releasing the ads they had originally planned for would be an inappropriate response, so they had to act fast to think of a solution. Jay Sethi, the chief marketing officer over Guinness stated, “there are good times and tough times, but purposeful brands come back stronger”. That is exactly what they did, by sticking true to the company's purpose they led a successful and comforting campaign for their audience. By not even pushing their product, beer drinkers still rated the commercial as the #1 beer ad of all time. They prove that there can be no limits on creativity, by combining historical and archived footage to weave a fantastic story while following social distancing guidelines.
For a company whose motto is to send the world in motion, the release of this ad encouraging and thanking people for not moving made a huge impact on audiences. No one would ever think that a company would release ads telling people not to use their service, but Uber did - and it worked. This ad shows how not selling your products is the best way to connect with a consumer in these times. To create the ad, they partnered with small filmmakers who were also stuck at home and told them to showcase the new reality. When you navigate to the link provided at the end of the commercial, you learn of all the ways Uber is helping others by pledging 10 million free rides to healthcare workers and at-risk individuals. With 75% of consumers believing brands need to display action and not just words, this ad knocked it out of the park. Overall, a great example of a brand finding how they are able to do their part, and executing it flawlessly.
Burger King- Social Distancing Crown
In a time where many people are being consumed by draining news and figures, it can be refreshing to see a brand bring humor into the situation. In Germany, when Burger King began to reopen for dine-in, they debuted the “social distancing crown” which is a play on the original cardboard Burger King crown given with a meal. However, this one possesses a 3 foot radius, so when you and your friends go to grab a Whopper you have to sit 6 feet away in order to show off your stylish new headgear. This small campaign was effective due to the humorous, yet still serious, reminder to keep up social distancing guidances for the health and safety of others. It was a refreshing break from the signs and flyers posted in numerous other establishments. Even though this ad is selling a product, the core value of wanting to keep customers' health at the forefront during the pandemic shines through.
Many brands saw the pandemic as not a speedbump, but as an opening for more opportunity with their advertising. With a sensitive market, it is intriguing to study the numerous approaches companies took when releasing campaigns to the public. Take this as an opportunity to connect with your audience by humanizing your brand. These examples show that you don’t need a huge ad budget or a studio to create a successful campaign, just the desire to share your core values with the world.
Here at Inner Spark Creative, we want to assist your brand by helping you achieve your full potential with marketing and advertising. To learn more about how we can help your company create effective ad campaigns, give us a call at (334) 826-7502.