You’ve only got to glance at your inbox to see how many marketing departments have published an 'in these unprecedented times' content piece since March. And you were probably bored of them by the end of lockdown week one. But not all marketers have fallen back on such safe and predictable messaging during the pandemic.
In fact, there’s been some outstandingly creative work. So, to bring a little positivity at this unprecedented strange time we’re living in, here are five of my favourite marketing campaigns from the time of COVID-19, showing how brands turned uncertainty into opportunity.
1. Tesco - Food Love Dedications
This COVID-19 adaptation of the supermarket’s 'Food love stories' campaign encouraged families to unite over food during the lockdown, and dedicate dishes to people they love via Instagram.
Shot entirely using video messaging, the campaign was timed perfectly for the Easter/Bank holiday weekends, celebrating the capabilities of tech, while subtly weaving in Tesco products.
2. Maltesers - Isolation Life
You can bank on Maltesers keeping things light-hearted even in the worst of times, and they did just that with this campaign, which showed the many ways people are laughing together during lockdown.
It was funny, natural and relatable, reinforced the UK’s #stayhome message, and had the simple but reassuring sign-off line “We’ll get through this”. Plus, you could only see the corner of a Maltesers bag in each version of the campaign, which avoided pulling focus from the real message here.
3. Nike - Play For The World
Nike always seem to get the tone just right, and they didn’t let us down this time around. They’ve run a campaign that showed how their roster of athlete endorsers are staying active during the lockdown, in a powerful, emotional and inclusive video spot promoted heavily across social media. Unlike many brands who were simply focussing on brand awareness, Nike took things up a notch, by making their subscription Nike Training Club app available for free – so people could access workouts and training tips from home.
4. Bumble - Get Close, From Afar
Bumble is the dating / networking / friend-making app where women must make the first move. They created this lovely emotive campaign around the power of connections, and how people can still meet new people, despite social distancing.
The best part of it was the positivity – giving people something to look forward to when things get back to 'normal'.
5. JBM – Lockdown Positivity
Okay this last one’s a client of mine at Create Engage, so I might be a little bit biased, but the executive search firm extended their '40 Minute Mentor' podcast series onto LinkedIn, with short videos from inspiring business leaders.
The snippets cover how to continue building relationships during the pandemic, how to keep your career plans moving and how to overcome anxiety and a feeling of uncertainty – spreading positivity and supporting their community at a time when everyone needs it most.
Why did these campaigns work?
They might be poles apart in their audiences and their execution, but all five campaigns had these four key elements...
- Adding value to their community, from advice, inspiration and encouragement to the simple raising of a smile.
- A strong call to action to let people know “we’re here for you if you need us, now and when this is over”.
- Not pushing sales messages. Any product/service mention was done subtly, showing expertise rather than talking about being the experts.
- Alleviating people’s pains by demonstrating how they can solve their problems and improve their lives.
Sprinkle these four elements throughout your own campaigns – either now or in the future – and they’ll be more likely to stick and bring you the return on investment you’re after.
This post originally appeared on School of Marketing.