As the COVID-19 crisis deepens around the globe, brands have been scrambling to shift gears and adapt their strategies to navigate the pandemic. We’re living in unprecedented times, and brands have approached the “new normal” in many different and meaningful ways.
Here are several examples of brands who have successfully pivoted and transformed their messaging to maintain relationships, give back, and uplift their communities!
Sharing #StayHome PSAs
After the COVID-19 outbreak, many brands have taken up the responsibility of promoting self-isolation and encouraging people to #StayHome.
Nike: #PlayInside #PlayForTheWorld
Nike posted an inspiring, simple message, which was developed with their agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland, on their social media to encourage social distancing.
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Superstar athletes associated with Nike, such as Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Michael Jordan, reshared the ad in their feeds. The post was published alongside an announcement of their Nike Training Club app, which offered free workout classes to users, to help them stay mentally and physically healthy at home.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) March 21, 2020
Ohio Department of Health: Flatten the Curve
The Ohio Department of Health released a video with a metaphor to show why social distancing works. In it, they created a minefield of mousetraps with ping pong balls on top of them. They use a bouncing ball to demonstrate what happens when people interact closely, rather than practicing social distancing.
Bringing people together
With shelter at home in place, many brands created campaigns that shared messages of community and hope.
Ikea: #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (I Stay Home)
Ikea Spain, with their media agency McCann, wanted to celebrate our homes during the lockdown. The video reminds us that our homes are where we’ve raised our children, celebrated good news, and taken refuge from the bad. It encourages us to see our homes as a place where we can still experience and enjoy new things!
Realtor.com’s new campaign reframes what home means to us during lockdown. Along with their agency Huge, they feature clips of people rethinking the way they use their home. For many of us, it’s now a workplace, daycare, gym, among others. They focus on the emotional challenges we may be experiencing at home, and leave us with a message of hope.
Guiness: St. Patrick’s Day
Guiness, with their advertising agency Quaker City Mercantile, shared a St. Patrick’s Day video. In it, they alluded to the fact that celebrations would be different this year. They aimed at spreading a message of resilience – that though we may be celebrating apart, we must not forget to stick together and look out for one another.
Lending a helping hand
To do their part, many brands have adapted their marketing strategies and operations to start different initiatives to help those in need.
Miller Lite: #VirtualTipJar
During the outbreak, countries issued guidelines that shuttered restaurants and bars doors. To help bartenders who have been unable to work, Miller Lite released a video to support them by raising money for a fundraiser: the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.
— Miller Lite (@MillerLite) March 20, 2020
Heineken: Back the Bars
Like Miller Lite, Heineken is also doing its part and supporting bars and restaurants during the lockdown. They created a voucher system, where people can buy a drink from their favorite bars and restaurants, and use it when they reopen. Their campaign was launched in 17 global markets, and 218,000 vouchers have been sold, raising over €8.2 million.
LVMH: Shifting Gears
Faced with shortages of hand sanitizer, LVMH, the fashion group behind luxury brands like Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton, converted their perfumes production line to produce more. They offered their products to French health authorities and the Assistance Publique-Hospitaux de Paris, free of charge!
To acknowledge the contributions of frontline workers, some brands have focused their marketing efforts on sharing messages of gratitude.
To thank frontline workers, Lowe’s launched a campaign aimed at getting people to build DIY thank you signs to express their gratitude. They encouraged people to get creative by using supplies in their homes to create the signs that showed their support and appreciation for the heroes in their communities. Lowe’s also shared inspiration and potential projects on their website.
Dove: Courage is Beautiful
In their new ad, Dove, in collaboration with their agency Ogilvy, honored the doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers working on the frontlines. The video features images of healthcare workers with marks on their skin, which were left from the hours they spent in their personal protective equipment (PPE). They wanted to show what courage is, and express their gratitude for their work.
Being positive & uplifting
Some brands have addressed the stress and anxiety that has come along with the pandemic, and created campaigns that made people smile.
Oreo: Stay Home, Stay Playful
Playfulness has always been a part of Oreo’s brand, and when the pandemic hit, they wanted to use the message to bring people together. To do this, they, with their agency The Martin Agency, adapted their “Stay Playful” campaign to “Stay Home, Stay Playful.” In their video, Oreo featured heartwarming user-generated videos that showed how people were entertaining themselves indoors.
Sticking to the theme of playfulness, Oreo also launched a TikTik challenge called #CookieWithACause. TikTok users are asked to place a cookie on their forehead, and use creative ways to somehow get it in their mouths. For every user that uses the hashtag, Oreo has offered to donate $1, up to a total of $1 million.