Raising Spirits During Crisis: How are Brands Standing out Amongst Generic Coronavirus Adverts?

As Coronavirus has swept the world over the past few months, the recent, unforeseen turn of events has forced brands to rethink their tone and messaging to existing or potential customers. Businesses have had to quickly change their social and advertising strategies – and no doubt, social content which has been carefully curated and planned out weeks before publishing, will have been completely scrapped or banked for a more appropriate time.

Getting the right tone of voice to avoid coming across as too pushy with sales or completely insensitive to the real-world situation is a thought that isn’t taken lightly. Some have even questioned whether it is worth saying anything at all, whilst others are keen to get the word out that they are here to offer their services.

Many brands have been looking at how they can support the consumer by offering tips on how to use their products at home, giving advice on how to stay safe, or just generic messages of togetherness and community. However, according to Kantar, brands that avert from using generic messaging such as staying home, staying safe and evoking a sense of togetherness are more likely to resonate with consumers during the pandemic.

With a wave of Coronavirus related brand campaigns springing up since lockdown, many have indeed opted for the “Stay home. Stay safe” messaging but there are a small handful who’ve been a little more adventurous, using humour and creative wit as a strategy. So, with lockdown beginning to ease, we thought we would highlight some of our favourite ads that have grabbed our attention during the period.

KFC’s “we’ve missed you too”

Since its closure during quarantine, KFC has launched a social campaign where fans of the chain would re-create the brands famous fried chicken. The #RateMyKFC campaign encouraged people to make their own homemade KFC and share on social media for the brand to rate in a light-hearted, tongue in cheek style. The campaign itself returned a 101% engagement rate over six weeks!

Recently, KFC have also announced the opening of restaurants for takeaway and delivery via an advert that centres around a “we missed them too” theme with a montage of the recreations from the #RateMyKFC campaign.

Budweiser’s “whassup” remake

Budweiser have also reinvented their iconic “whassup” advert from the 90s with the famous ad re-circulating with a new twist to its popular line “watching the game, having a bud” which is replaced with “in quarantine, having a bud” for lockdown. While the aim of the ad is to encourage people to keep connecting with friends and family during what can be considered a very lonely time, it is also brings back nostalgia and the comedic aspect of the ad makes it stand out.

Maltesers and the lighter side of lockdown

With lots of families taking to baking at home, Maltesers tickle viewers with an ad that features a group of mum’s on a Zoom call chatting about their experiences during a new life in lockdown – with one space themed baking attempt with the children showing a carved out rocket shaped biscuit which in reality, happens to resemble something quite… different!

Emily Crisps’ first ever ad – but not as they expected

After booking some ad space outside nearer the end of 2019 to go live in the Spring, snack brand, Emilys Crisps, realised that their ad may not be as perfectly timed as they first hoped. The thinking was that more people will be out and about during the sunny Spring bank holidays and thus more will see their ad. However, after realising this wouldn’t be the case, the brand turned things around by choosing a different messaging to something more fitting, humorous and possibly more attention grabbing: “Our first ever poster, seen by a runner and one pigeon. Typical.”

Our consumer lifestyle PR team specialises in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PRFood PRRetail PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at www.escapadepr.com/about-us