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“Brands should think of themselves not as storytellers but story builders. We plant seeds of content and let our community build on it.” – Amy Pascal

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented one, shocking and shaking the world by a big unpleasant surprise. The global pandemic set the economies spinning and the major challenge for the entire global economy is to sustain. Organisations across the world are struggling to survive by taking strong measures and cutting expenses. One industry to suffer the biggest fall, from the pandemic is the advertising spending. In the advertising industry the rule of the thumb states that ad spend follow the fluctuations of the GDP. Over the last few years, the global GDP rose in the range of 3-6% each year, taking the advertising industry to grow around $646 billion USD in 2019. As per the forecast the advertising industry was forecast to grow to USD $865 billion by 2024. But with the global slowdown due to Covid-19, the global advertising industry is expected to decline nearly 12% this year

A Nike ad for coronavirus which says 'Play inside, play for the world'

“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford

Depending on the objectives brands advertise to create awareness, increase sales and a build loyalty. But the Covid19 pandemic has made all the brands advertisers, to relook at the marketing plans and think on the type of campaigns to run. For the healthcare, personal care and hygiene brands the focus was on messaging around precautions revolving around their products and services brands. Most of the campaigns either on digital platform or TV prioritises awareness campaigns to engage with their consumers.  And as consumers become conscious about what they eating and also building immunity few healthcare and food brands promoted wellness products.

But with the pandemic continuing to spread across the world and “learn to live with coronavirus” becoming the new normal, few brands are now finding newer ways to connect and reconnect with consumers. The new normal is getting brands to shift in the strategy to create meaningful ads focussing on the purpose and not overtly mentioning about products or services.

I have picked up 6 ads from across the world who have are promoting hope,  optimism and keep their consumers engaged.

Uber: Thank You For Not Riding | Uber

To thank the public for staying indoors and not summoning Ubers during the pandemic, the ride-share company showcases footage from stuck-at-home filmmakers all around the world to craft the message below.

The ad agency Wieden + Kennedy along with production house Pretty-bird crated the ad, where Uber is urging customers to “stay home for those who can’t”.  The 75-second clip captures a range of activities and emotions, where  diverse people of all ages cope with the new normal.

Titan– #MakeEveryMomentCount

With the aim of encouraging people to connect and indulge in newer things, Titan launched a new digital campaign urging people to #MakeEveryMomentCount. The ad created by Ogilvy India aims to  spread hope and positivity in these times of uncertainty. With the broad message that this is the time to do nothing and to do everything.

Coca-Cola – To the Human Race

To celebrates local unsung heroes of the COVID-19 crisis, Coca-Cola released a series of video mini-stories profiling unsung local heroes in ASEAN and around the world who are going beyond to help their communities, ignoring their own challenges.

American Airlines :  You Are Why We Fly

American Airlines released its first brand-led work since 2016 with ‘You are Why we Fly’ – a film that looks to explain why planes are still taking off and thank staff for their service during the coronavirus outbreak.

The spot created by agency of record CPB features user-generated smartphone footage of empty planes and airports alongside shots from a “small photo and video shoot” undertaken by the brand and agency with the key message “We fly for the same reason we always have and always will: you. You are why we fly.”

Facebook: We’re never lost if we can find each other.

To demonstrate how light can seap through cracks, social networking site Facebook has brought out a touching film created by the agency Droga5 New York in celebration of how people are staying connecting during the coronavirus outbreak.

Against the backdrop of personal footage obtained from real people during this time, the voice of British poet Kate Tempest recites her poem ‘People’s Faces’ definantly.

The film ends by inviting viewers to visit Facebook’s dedicated Covid-19 support page, to find resources, or to offer help.

BMW: #JustCantWait

BMW India launched the #JustCantWait campaign talking about the things we love doing and we can’t wait to get back to. The campaign tries to capture the sentiment of the consumers who are waiting to come out of the lockdown and get back on the road.

Anup Sharma (@TweetsAnup)
The author is a StoryTeller with two decades of experience in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. He is also the Senior Director at Public Relations Consultants Association of India.

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