With Limited Resources, Brands Get Creative

By Conor O'Malley  | 

The world has changed due to Covid-19, and marketers are keeping pace with the shifting times. Commercial shoots, like film productions, have largely been forced to shutter, but we know that more time indoors means more time spent watching and many brands are eager to connect with their audiences right now – as long as they can get the messaging right. Nielsen data shows that people obligated to stay indoors—be it during a snowstorm or a global pandemic—consume roughly 60 percent more media on various platforms and devices. So brands are seizing this opportunity to reach viewers  with coronavirus-centric content that strikes the right tone. According to a recent Ace Metrix report, consumers are highly receptive to Covid-19 messaging and ads that address it are scoring 18 percent higher on relevance and 11 percent higher on likability than average industry offerings. Here’s how some brands are successfully and creatively navigating the new landscape.

Be on Message and Give Back
In late March, Anhueser Busch announced plans to redirect $5 million originally slated for sports and entertainment marketing toward supporting American Red Cross pandemic relief efforts and caring for frontline workers. An accompanying Budweiser “One Team” spot likens crisis responders to “Warriors” and “Giants,” thus creating an emotional link for sports fans by referencing familiar team names. In similar fashion, Verizon’s “Pay It Forward” campaign focuses on small businesses that are especially vulnerable during these stay at home days. Images of small businesses and their owners are followed by an invitation to join Verizon’s weekly live stream on Twitter that connects “big names with small businesses.” The Payitforward Live has attracted top talent – Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews and Ryan Tedder among the first – who, between songs, encourage viewers to support small businesses locally. This effort scored top marks with consumers. Ace Metrix reports that Verizon’s spot ranked as the most empowering recent Covid-19 ad.

Take a Lighthearted Approach
Authenticity counts, but when it comes to coronavirus messaging, consumers also crave information that’s delivered in a heartwarming or appropriately entertaining way. Jeep hit those notes with its “Same Day” ad, which comprises part of a larger #StayOffTheRoad digital campaign for several Chrysler Fiat Automobiles brands. The spot cleverly repurposed footage from the brand’s popular Groundhog Day-themed Super Bowl ad starring Bill Murray. “Same Day” cheekily nods to the repetitive quality of quarantine days, delivers the stay home message and ends with an important, upbeat reminder of all the adventures that await us when quarantining is in our rearview mirror. Burger King, which temporarily revised its name to “Stay Home of the Whopper,” likewise got in on the playful action. Its new campaign aims to challenge the minds of homebound students through a series of trivia questions posted on the company’s various social media channels. Correct answers unlock a promo code for a free takeout or delivery sandwich.

Get Back to Basics
Brands are grappling with the difficulty of being expected to produce work sans live photoshoots or new video production. Many are turning to basic resources including stock and archival footage, user-generated content, animation and influencers to create high-impact ads. Toyota delivered with part one of its “We Are Here For You” spot that hit screens on March 27, using archive footage exclusively, along with a reassuring voiceover. Part two was filmed inside an actor’s house, after she’d done her own hair and makeup, using a simple camera while the crew self-isolated miles away. Other production efforts rely on pre-taped or animated content, along with Zoom-recorded standups and remote audio. With live sports currently on hold, Buffalo Wild Wings found an assortment of UGC videos online showing people of all ages playing made-up sports at home that highlight the spirit of practice, competition and scoring a win.  The ad went from idea to air in just six days. AdExchanger reports that even the CDC got in on the DIY action, working with VidMob to repurpose stock imagery for a PSA that raised over $6 million in donations on Facebook.

Whether spots need to be reworked to suit messaging around a crisis or to take advantage of evergreen shots that can help reduce production costs, brands benefit in so many ways from using a centralized asset management platform. Contact us if you’d like to learn about how ER’s AdBridge can bring speed, efficiency and precision to teams involved in the management and delivery of video campaigns. We’re here to help.

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