How brands respond to Coronavirus in uplifting adverts with a human touch
Advertising is tough business when there is a global pandemic and some brands have rightfully or not faced criticism over the last few weeks. The socially distanced logos while advocating for government-mandated measures to stop the spread were criticised by many as gimmicky.
There have also been brands that have attracted much goodwill by their efforts to give back to the society and support health services – luxury brand LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, for example, was the first to respond to an emergency call from the French government on 16 March. To help fill gaps of key medical supplies as the spread of the virus accelerated. Within 72 hours, the first plastic bottle of hand sanitiser came of the production line at luxury brand LVMH’s Dior factory in Orleans.
There are also those who came under fire due to long-standing tax evasion practices (Virgin, I am looking at you) or their treatment of the staff once the shutters starter closing – such as Wetherspoons who sent some 40,000 staff home with a video message from chairman, Tim Martin who announced there wouldn’t be any further salaries paid until the government furlough scheme could be secure.
There is also, of course, the delicate balance between addressing what is now a global crisis without abusing it for commercial gain and it seems a few brands have got it just right. The common thread in their adverts: the human connection.
True to form, Apple showcases how essential its products are to keep creativity alive during the lockdown with its ‘Creativity Lives on’ ad n line with its ongoing ‘Behind the Mac’ campaign. Cue scenes of famous and non-famous people around the world doing some wonderfully creative stuff in lockdown.
John Kransinski produces an episode of his YouTube hit #SomeGoodNews on his Mac. Dance companies like the American Ballet Theater and the New York City Ballet continue to train together online. Actress Lily James reads Charlie Mackesy’s “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” for the “#SaveWithStories” children’s book initiative. Oprah delivers words of support to viewers on her #OprahTalks on Apple TV+. Filmmaker Tee Ken Ng makes a dazzling zoetrope creation. Pro-surfer Yadin Nicol finds a way to bring the waves to his kids at home. All this and more were created in the past three weeks, while all have been sheltering at home.
Barclay puts its staff in the spotlight with what seems to be a reflection of our daily lives working from the kitchen table or the spare room in the new normal. Complete with a surprise guest in the end. Anyone who’s had to quickly mute a Zoom conference call because of their dog barking at the door or swiftly maneuvering their laptop away from the cat trying to make an impromptu ‘wfh’ appearance can relate. Oh okay, just me then!
According to an article on Marketing Week, as a “brand of reassurance”, Birds Eye feels a responsibility to stay on air and remain connected to consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. And what a way to remain connected by than what unites us: dinner time and life in lockdown.
Currys PC World
Another brand that brings snippets from lives in lockdown to highlight to important part technology plays to keep us going from keeping us connected to loved ones to keeping us fit and fed is Currys PC World with their ‘What’s Important’ ad that reminds us of all that is important right now. The ad ends with the message that the most important thing right now is for us to stay home while the CurrysPCWorld will deliver the tech right to us.
Another household name that puts food at the heart of their campaign is Tesco. Unveiled in early April hot on the heels of their in-store social distancing awareness ad and launched with #FoodLoveStories Tesco shares scenes of cosy home-made cooking dedicated to a socially distanced family member or loved one – along with the message “It’s important to show our loved ones we care, now, more than ever. What better way to show them than dedicating the food you love, to the people you love?”
“Here’s to all the ingenious, resilient and resourceful ways we’re building connections with the people and things we love” is how Virgin Media salutes the resilience and stiff upper lip attitude of millions of Brits around the country. You’ve seen them all of course – the Insta Live fitness sessions, the couple who recreated their cruise at home, the live gigs up and down the country, they are all here and the cherry on top? A huge nod to #clapforcarers Cue waterworks…
Nationwide is the only brand that’s already shifted the goal post from the current state of affairs to what’s to come, and in a brilliant way. Once again, at the heart of the campaign entitled ‘Voices’, a trio of ads, in which an engaged couple and two individual women discuss what they would say to themselves six months from now. The sort of message of hope and resilience we all need right now. And you’d be tempted to film your own.