Brands Cash in on Zoom Backgrounds

Zoom has become one of the primary platforms for people to communicate with one another in the pandemic, and it didn’t take long for brands to recognize this as an opportunity for creative marketing. Zoom allows users to customize their backgrounds, and brands have been rushing to release their own free files for fans to download. Not only does this give brands a novel way to connect with consumers, it also offers a way for companies to receive massive amounts of free advertising.

One of the best entries into this new marketing category is Hendrick’s® Gin, whose background options include dancing cats and haunted Victorian drawing rooms. From the company’s website: “In these peculiarly virtual times, a video background is far more than a video background. Embrace the opportunity for theatricality! Banish the mundane from tiresome meetings! Further rev up the congeniality of virtual cocktail hour with distant friends and remote lovers — with the absurd flair it deserves!”

Brands related to interior design, such as Behr® and West Elm®, have also been a natural fit for virtual backgrounds. The rise of videoconferencing has forced many workers to take a hard look at their homes, since it’s not exactly flattering to show off your clutter and outdated paint jobs or furniture to coworkers. By giving consumers the chance to artificially spruce up their spaces, they also get them to imagine new ways of decorating their homes. If this marketing campaign proves to be successful, this new perspective on décor will drive sales. Considering the fact that consumers have already been busy with home renovation projects all summer, it seems likely that they will be especially open to new design ideas right now.

Even HBO has gotten in on the trend, releasing Zoom backgrounds that feature locations from some of their most iconic shows. Fans can sit on the Iron Throne while planning budgets with their coworkers or enjoy a beautiful mountain landscape from Westworld while listening in on their professor’s lecture. The release of these backgrounds coincided with the debut of the company’s new HBO Max service this spring, making it the perfect time for fans to promote their favorite shows with word-of-mouth buzz.

Coors Light® has taken the Zoom background trend to a whole new level with their new sweepstakes campaign. The beer brand is offering to send consumers to the actual destinations that they’ve been using as their backgrounds, and beer lovers have until Oct. 1 to submit a screenshot of them in their “ideal video chat background”. As some areas of the world have begun the process of reopening and “returning to normal,” this campaign is a really interesting example of how brands can bridge the gap between new pandemic-era promotions and the experiential marketing projects that were booming until coronavirus hit.

Even after a COVID vaccine is developed, there is a good chance that many consumers will continue to work from home and rely on video conferencing. This is just one way that brand leaders have managed to find new marketing opportunities in the pandemic, but it’s one that is likely to endure as we learn how this technology will permanently fit into our lives.


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