As marketers, we’re well aware of the need for advertising– for big brands, ads can be one of the best ways to communicate a company’s message on a wide scale. Of course, running advertisements can be tricky during major global events like the COVID-19 crisis. Customers are scared, and most don’t appreciate being blatantly sold to during a time of social and financial uncertainty. The majority of the brands we’ve seen handle this unprecedented moment with grace and ease have almost entirely taken themselves out of the equation, choosing to use their advertisements as a way to publicize the company’s stance and steps they’re taking to provide aid and support to people in need. Here are some of the best COVID-19 ads we’ve seen:
Apple’s Creativity Goes On ad features celebrities like John Krasinski and Oprah alongside heartwarming footage and images of real people going about their creative endeavors while remaining at home. The ad strikes an encouraging and positive tone while still feeling genuine
Dove’s Courage is Beautiful ad showcases the names and images of real frontline healthcare workers, highlighting their strength and courage in the face of adversity. The ad is striking and attention-grabbing, and closes with a note stating that Dove is donating to the organization Direct Relief to support the very healthcare workers the advertisement highlights.
Uber’s Thank You for Not Riding ad is unique in that it encourages people to stop using their service. Featuring footage of people remaining home and empty streets, this ad remains touching and genuine while still serving as a reminder to stay home and follow social distancing rules.
Burger King’s Stay Home of the Whopper is the only ad on this list that is still promoting a product. However, the video has been received favorably online because it stays true to the brand’s goofy nature while simultaneously sharing a reminder to stay home and promoting Burger King’s decision to donate Whoppers to nurses across the country.
This advertisement, entitled Boston is Still Running, serves as a love letter to the city of Boston, featuring arresting photos and videos taken by Globe staff of the empty city. Narrated by hometown hero John Krasinski, the ad emphasizes the city’s patriotic spirit by urging them to do the right thing for their country and follow safety guidelines.
Google’s When There’s Help, There’s Hope video utilizes their standard ad format of layering Google searches over photographs and videos of real people. The video is uplifting and hopeful, and has a genuine feel that resonates with viewers. The company also put out a series of additional videos thanking parents, healthcare workers, and teachers, each ending with a description of actions Google is taking to support those groups.
Postmates’ Order Local video features a variety of celebrities listing their favorite restaurants in Los Angeles and urging viewers to join them in supporting local restaurants during a time of financial difficulty, allowing Postmates to uplift an industry without which it could not operate.
While all of these ads are, of course, unique to the brand that created them, they do have a few common threads: 1) using celebrities as a way to connect with the general public even more, 2) sharing an uplifting or supportive message, and 3) avoiding a direct sales pitch for their products. Ultimately, a strong brand knows how to deliver messaging that uplifts and comforts its consumers, and understands that intent and timing is everything.
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