Ellie Tudor, PR & Marketing Executive

  • Creative campaigns during COVID-19
  • Connecting with consumers during the pandemic
  • #StayAtHome creative work

2020 has been a year of change, with companies worldwide having to adjust the way that they work and the way their brands and businesses engage with their customers and fill their insatiable need for inspiration and escapism.

During this period, many creative campaigns have taken a new path in order to connect with audiences and stay relevant in these uncertain times. Although a challenge, there have been many instances where brands have risen to the occasion and adapted their ads so that they are relevant, but not seen to be exploiting the current situation. Humour in relation to COVID-19 is a no-go. The messaging needs to be empathetic, informative and reassuring. Here are a few of my favourites:

1) AppleCreativity goes on

Focusing on how creativity can be maintained, even during times of social distancing, Apple has created an advert which captures how people are using its products to stay creative and imaginative at home. The short piece shows montage footage of families exploring the different ways they can keep interaction alive: playing chess on FaceTime, reading a story on an iPad and even creating an indoor wave for children to surf on. Coupled with the emotive music and short snippets of celebrities, the film encourages viewers to look at the positives of the current situation and highlights how times of darkness can bring people together.

2) NikePlay for the world

With many of us using this period of lockdown to increase our fitness levels, and exhausting all of the live Instagram workouts, Nike has put together a campaign that ignites the spirits of athletes worldwide. Nike defines an athlete as anyone with a body and its simple campaign uses clips of everyday people worldwide exercising hard in their homes. It celebrates sport as a way to boost mental wellbeing and also highlights the need to socially distance, promoting the message to “play inside, play for the world.”

3) Brewdog – #BlankHoliday

Always quick to adapt its advertising and link back to what is going on in the news, Brewdog recognised that many of us were disappointed that we couldn’t go about our usual Bank Holiday routines this year, and would have to spend the time inside instead. In a bid to keep its customers entertained and engaged, the brand upped its social media game and hosted a big virtual event. May #BlankHoliday included live music, a pub quiz and a tour of the DogHouse beer hotel. The clever campaign ensured that people followed the government guidelines, but that they could also let themselves go and enjoy the long weekend.

4) IKEA – How to make six types of furniture forts during quarantine

For playful families during lockdown, in its latest campaign IKEA gave instructions for how to make the perfect fort from its furniture. Perfectly on-brand, its guide displays easy to follow instructions and shows how everyday items, such as chairs, stools and blankets can be used to build the perfect stay-at-home den.

5) NationwideVoices Nationwide

During lockdown, Nationwide has launched its ‘Voices Nationwide’ campaign, a series of TV adverts which include messages from real life people filmed during the pandemic. As well as sharing stories about how COVID-19 has affected their own lives, the voices explore what they think life may be like for them as things start to move on in the world. As well as articulating what many of us have been thinking, the poignant campaign asks its participants to record a message to themselves in six months’ time, focusing on what has been learnt, and the hope and togetherness that has come out of isolation.

There have been thousands of other creative and inspirational ways in which brands have changed their approach to marketing and advertising during the global pandemic. It remains clear that at all times creativity is necessary to bring people together, to highlight important issues and to create some much-needed entertainment, to provide a form of escapism. The brands that are able to adapt quickly and positively to what is going on will be the ones that can capture our attention and will resonate with consumers in times to come.

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