The ongoing pandemic has been difficult for all industries, with more emphasis than ever being placed on how brands communicate. What should brands be saying? What messages should they endorse? While it can be tricky to know what to say, this is not the time to be silent; brands that are embracing the current climate and adapting are gaining major brownie points with consumers.
Creating an engaging, thought provoking and sensitive campaign is key to communicating successfully in these bizarre times. I have rounded up my favourite campaigns launched during a pandemic:
Guinness – St Patrick’s Day
Like most national and international holidays this year and last, celebrations were a little different from normal. And St Patrick’s Day, which for many is spent down the pub with a pint or celebrating with street parties and parades, was no exception. But Irish staple brand Guinness let its customers know that it was okay to celebrate differently this year with its St Patrick’s Day campaign.
Swapping pints in the pub for sofas at home, this brand embraced the change and honed in on what really matters on this occasion – being with the people you care about, even if that means a fancy dress Zoom call, and that when raising a pint, we need to raise each other up.
The campaign also inspired charity action across the pond, with Guinness US launching #StacheforCharity, encouraging drinkers to grow a moustache in honour of the holiday and pledging to donate to the Guinness Gives Back Fund.
Lego – Hands, face, space
When rounding up our favourite campaigns launched during a pandemic, we had to include Lego. Using the hit film The Lego Movie to get the message across, Lego created a catchy song and accompanying music video to help promote the Government’s ‘Hand, Face, Space’ message. Using this fun and playful vehicle to champion this incredibly important message was fantastic as it helped to spread the correct public health messaging in a fun and relatable (and catchy!) way.
Using Lego characters also made the campaign relatable to children, making sure the whole family was involved. Plus, who can forget the rules when the song is so catchy!
KFC – ‘It’s ****** ******* good.’
KFC create some brilliant campaigns, and the ones launched during the pandemic were no different. By now, we’ll all be familiar with KFC’s ‘finger lickin’ good’ slogan but unfortunately, it’s not the best message to be promoting in the middle of a pandemic! So KFC launched its ‘pressing pause’ campaign.
The slow-motion montage video that featured in the campaign saw the slogan being blurred out and censored, with the message: “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now.”
Sometimes the best thing to say is to say nothing, a strategy that worked wonders for the fast-food chain. The silence from the Colonel helped the chain to grab the attention of media outlets ranging from the BBC to Poultry World.
Weetabix – It has to be Heinz
When we think of our ideal breakfast, I’m sure a bowl of Weetabix slathered in Heinz beans is the furthest thing from our minds. However, this was the delicacy that took the British cereal brand viral during the coronavirus pandemic.
The shocking images sent the Twitterverse into meltdown with everyone from Innocent Smoothies and Marmite to the NHS and Tinder chiming in on the ‘criminal’ dish.
This was a simple campaign that used an existing product to create something fun and refreshing. It was also reported that this stunt helped Weetabix’s sales grow by 15% and secured the brand media coverage in a range of national and trade titles. It also inspired the #WeetaBeanzChallenge, helping to feed hungry schoolchildren – anything for a good cause, right?
Ocean Finance – The Cost of Dating
Under normal circumstances, dates can be expensive. We can splash out on everything from our outfits and food to the Uber. But when the pandemic hit, dates as we know them ceased. While we may be missing the first date excitement, finance firm Ocean Finance revealed that Brits could actually save £3.2k by taking their dates virtual in its Valentine’s Day campaign, The Cost of Dating.
The research looked at all aspects of modern dating, including dating app subscriptions, cinema tickets, restaurant bills, the works! Ocean Finance revealed that we could be saving almost £250 per date. The campaign was a hit and resulted in coverage across a range of titles including Refinery29, Metro and Yahoo Finance UK.
We love to see these brands embracing the climate and using their platforms to help spread the word and encourage Government health guidance, or just provide a much-needed smile in these challenging times. If you’ve spotted some amazing campaigns launched during a pandemic, we’d love to see them. Head over to Twitter to share your favourites.
To find out how our team can help your business create a thoughtful and fun PR or social media campaign, get in touch today.