How Brands Are Using A Creativity-first Approach in Ads to Tackle the Crisis

At the beginning of this year, brand marketers got together and discussed their plans within their team about how they were going to tackle their own marketing in the year 2020. That was then. This is now. Now every plan that a brand had for advertising in 2020 has been changed by the impact of the Coronavirus. The cancellation and postponement of events such as the UEFA Championships, as well as the implementation of lockdown and extreme social distancing measures in many countries have advertisers scratching their heads about how to address this unprecedented situation.

As advertisers go back to the drawing board, it is important that they think fast and smart about how to communicate to people. Certainly, as people spend more time at home and on the internet, there are plenty of touchpoints for brands.

Creativity is a great antidote to this situation. As certain brands are currently proving, creativity in advertising is as much about gauging people’s appetite for your message and delivering it in an emotionally intelligent way as it is about anything else.

Here are a few of JustPremium’s favorite examples of how brands have successfully handled the recent developments. They are using creativity in their ads and have achieved results that may not be able to be directly visible now, but will definitely have a long-term positive effect on their branding and reputation amongst consumers.

An Uplifting Creative Pivot

Take Guinness for example. Their brand messaging and sales around St. Patrick’s Day are some of the most meaningful for their business every year. But when they were confronted with Coronavirus concerns canceling St. Patrick’s celebrations worldwide, they quickly realigned. They launched a creative that was uplifting, motivating, and reassuring to people. For those customers who crave a return to normalcy, this was an inspiring way to communicate exactly that. Check out their “We Will March Again” campaign that sets the right tone:

Even in the face of a major event cancellation such as the Olympics this summer, brands are jockeying to get their message of support to audiences. Visa launched the socially responsible “Do Your Part Like an Olympian” campaign, which features a series of videos with Olympic athletes promoting messages of safety and sanitation during these uncertain times. The creative stresses that not everyone can accomplish Olympian feats of strength and skill, but everyone can do their part to wash their hands and keep good social distancing.

Redefining Delivery Methods to Digital

Entertainment companies have been smart enough to shift their creative delivery strategies to support government mandates of home isolation. Universal media company announced they will make a select number of their new releases slated for cinemas available on streaming services such as “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man.” Disney was not far behind as they announced they would push forward with releasing “Frozen 2” on Disney Plus earlier than planned. It showcases that one of the best places to reach your audience is in their home through using digital channels to solve customer pain points outright.

Redefining Delivery Methods to Digital

Entertainment companies have been smart enough to shift their creative delivery strategies to support government mandates of home isolation. Universal media company announced they will make a select number of their new releases slated for cinemas available on streaming services such as “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man.” Disney was not far behind as they announced they would push forward with releasing “Frozen 2” on Disney Plus earlier than planned. It showcases that one of the best places to reach your audience is in their home through using digital channels to solve customer pain points outright.

Public Service for Concerned Citizens

Finally, governments are taking their important public health messaging to digital channels. They recognize that it is important to reach consumers where they are in their homes through whatever device they may be using. For example, one government health service in Europe responded very fast to the outbreak by launching a digital campaign with JustPremium that encourages citizens to practice proper hygiene and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. The health department knew they needed to capture and keep user attention, so they asked to use the Desktop Skin that stay in view for a long time and prompt strong messaging recall. This is a fantastic example of moral leadership and responsible advertising during a societal upset. Brands can take note of this example and apply it to their own campaigns in order to establish responsible and moral brand values.

Public Service for Concerned Citizens

Finally, governments are taking their important public health messaging to digital channels. They recognize that it is important to reach consumers where they are in their homes through whatever device they may be using. For example, one government health service in Europe responded very fast to the outbreak by launching a digital campaign with JustPremium that encourages citizens to practice proper hygiene and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. The health department knew they needed to capture and keep user attention, so they asked to use the Desktop Skin that stay in view for a long time and prompt strong messaging recall. This is a fantastic example of moral leadership and responsible advertising during a societal upset. Brands can take note of this example and apply it to their own campaigns in order to establish responsible and moral brand values.

Avoiding Messaging Minefields

Brands must think creatively so they are not seen as capitalizing on people’s fears and anxiety, as one recent Corona Beer ad illustrates where they used the phrase “Coming Ashore Soon” in reference to their beer product line. Many customers found this to be ignorant of the realities of the Coronavirus and slammed the company for this ad, which has since been pulled. KFC also recently dodged similar criticism as they pulled a set of ads that included visuals of people licking their hands while eating to go with their “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan. Of course, hygiene is a very sensitive issue now and such a campaign would be offensive to public health.

JustPremium was founded on the principle that creativity is key in advertising success. But we know it’s bigger than that now. Through the right creative approach, you can share the burden of a difficult situation for your customers. This can be done by promoting an optimistic, uplifting message, offering much-needed advice, or educating about risks and opportunities. With creativity, you can help your audience directly and build trust for your brand.

The above campaigns are more than just examples, they are essential roadmaps in how to navigate your brand during a crisis. Not only can creativity help a brand stay afloat, it can position itself to be a household name people trust.