5 Designs We Love: Ads in the Age of CoronavirusMarch 31, 2020 - by Taylor Getler
Brand marketers today are faced with an unprecedented challenge: how can they carry out their work in the midst of an international tragedy that is both historic and ongoing? It’s an environment that demands careful planning and sensitivity, and marketing teams are surely having a lot of long Zoom meetings over how to communicate their brand’s place in the world while coronavirus continues to ravage communities.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, has spoken out about how brand leaders are being tested like never before. “Clearly, those industries that are most heavily impacted in the short term — airlines, travel and tourism — are clearly looking at their (marketing) budgets. Other parts of the economy, retail and packaged goods, understand the value of long-term brand building and continue to engage with consumers.”
Some brands have already released new ads as a first step forward, and below are some of our favorite examples of well-executed campaigns in these difficult times.
Nike “Play for the World”
Nike is famous for their minimal-but-powerful ads, and this new social media spot encouraging social distancing is one of their best in recent memory. The campaign from Weiden + Kennedy comes immediately after Nike’s announcement that they would be donating over $15 million towards coronavirus relief.
Burger King France’s “Quarantine Whopper”
In another bid to encourage social distancing, Burger King France’s cheeky “Le Whopper de la Quarantine” puts safety and solidarity before profits by encouraging fans to recreate their own Whoppers at home. This is a smart move from a brand perspective because it also offers an opportunity for Burger King to continue to be part of consumers’ lives, even when those consumers cannot physically get to a location.
Jeep “Explore the Great Indoors”
With many consumers turned off by ads nudging them to buy things that they don’t immediately need during the pandemic (and with a large chunk of consumers concerned about their future finances, which makes it unlikely that they’d invest in a major purchase anyway), ads like this one from Jeep feel refreshing and self-aware.
The ad also reinforces the fact that the brand itself is about the spirit of adventure, which can thrive even during the quarantine. We expect that a lot of brands are going to take this route and double-down on promoting the philosophical aspects of their identities, since physical experiences are going to be limited for the foreseeable future.
Guinness “Stay at Home”
While Guinness lost out on Saint Patrick’s Day this year, there’s a possibility that they could be among the select companies who will see an increase in sales during the quarantine. Alcohol campaigns traditionally focus on themes like “togetherness” and “celebration”, but this ad from Guinness demonstrates that “familiarity” can be a comforting subject when nobody feels much like celebrating.
Coca-Cola’s Times Square Billboard
Coca-Cola has one of the most recognizable logos in the world, and they rarely play with its design. The company’s decision to put up a billboard in Times Square that alludes to social distancing by adding extra space between each letter makes for one of their bolder campaigns in years.
Extreme limitations result in extreme creativity. While many brands are going to suffer during the quarantine, the most innovative advertisers are finding ways to use their platforms and amplified voices to spread a greater message.