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5 brands who nailed their lockdown ad campaigns

5 brands who nailed their lockdown ad campaigns

Posted 11th August, 2020 by Sarah

During lockdown the public took to social media to show how the pandemic was affecting them and their families.

We saw grandparents hugging grandchildren through makeshift plastic screens, communities gathering together to clap for healthcare workers, and hilarious examples of entire families proudly performing TikTok dances.

This may have appeared to be just throwaway social media content, to be consumed and then instantly forgotten, but to advertisers, this content was being used as a barometer of the public mood.

Big brands quickly decided that the key to marketing success during lockdown would come from empathy and that the best way to create a successful ad would be to reflect their consumers’ experiences of lockdown back to them.

5 brands that got it right during lockdown

One thing’s for certain, lockdown has highlighted the true value of a great idea that is well executed.

Due to social distancing restrictions, advertisers haven’t been able to hide behind the usual clever effects and glossy productions.

Instead, they have had to rely on the purity of their ideas and find innovative ways of putting people at the heart of their campaigns.

So, without further ado, here’s five of our favourite big brand lockdown campaigns…

Burger King: ‘Stay home of the Whopper’ campaign

Burger King’s advertising team is at the top of its game at the best of times, so it’s no surprise that they have produced some of the best campaigns out there during lockdown. They’ve made us smile with campaigns like ‘The Social Distancing Whopper’ and the ‘Social Distancing Crowns’. But, their best lockdown campaign by far was their ‘Stay home of the Whopper’ ad, which salutes both frontline workers and ‘couch potatriots’.

By coining the phrase, ‘couch potatriots’, Burger King has created the pandemic slogan. It sums up the universal experience of everyone in lockdown and highlights how absurd it is that, in this current crisis, staying at home and ordering food makes you a socially responsible hero.

In one ad they show themselves to be a caring brand who gives free burgers to front line workers and a socially responsible brand who playfully reminds everyone to do their bit and stick to the rules. All in all, a great example of a perfectly executed lockdown campaign.

Nike: ‘Play for the World’ campaign

With previous campaigns like ‘Equality’, which encouraged respect and fairness amongst athletes and ‘The Wonder Woman of Vogue’ supporting the LGBT community, Nike has established itself as one of the true masters of emotional branding.

They are storytellers who want to take you on a journey that will ultimately show you that you can also ‘just do it’.

They aren't just selling sports products, they’re selling aspiration and the emotional benefit of sport. They have used the same winning formula to create their emotionally powerful ‘Play for the World’ lockdown ad.

It shows well-known athletes like LeBron James and Sara Hughes working out in their bedrooms, hallways and driveways, and has the clear message “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, this is your chance. Play inside, play for the world”.

With this they have created a sense of community and suggested that lockdown has been an equaliser, so whether you’re a professional sports person or an ordinary Joe, you are playing for the same team as everyone now. Team world.

What results is a socially responsible, impactful and typically inspirational Nike ad.

Durex: Let’s not go back to normal

Durex is a brand that is best known for risqué tongue-in-cheek advertising. So, it should come as no surprise that their lockdown campaign has turned a few heads. But, not in the way you might expect. This time Durex’s message is controversial because in the middle of lockdown they asked for the public to ‘not go back to normal’, which considering the majority of the population couldn’t wait to go back to normal was a pretty disruptive tactic. They used the pandemic as an opportunity to challenge unhealthy societal norms, such as one million STIs being contracted every day and shaming women who carry condoms.

Durex listened to the masses on social media who said that they were using their lockdown down-time as an opportunity to take stock and reset their lives. They wanted to capitalise on it by asking the public to create a new, healthier ‘normal’ and not go back to their damaging behaviours.

L’Oreal: How To Color Gray Hair At Home with Eva Longoria

L’Oreal is known for its glossy ads featuring glamorous well-known celebrities telling us that they use L’Oreal products to feel even more fabulous than they already are. L’Oreal’s bread and butter is selling the dream of glamour.

So, it was really refreshing to see Eva Longoria, who is known for glamour, with thick grey roots, having to dye her own hair at home. Just like the rest of us. This ad resonated so well because L’Oreal tapped into one of the widely talked about challenges of lockdown, not being able to go to the hairdresser. They found a pain point and used it to connect with their consumers on a level that the brand usually doesn’t get the chance to do, earning them a big thumbs up from their consumers.

Heineken - Connections

Heineken’s Connections ad is the latest part of their #SocialiseResponsibly campaign and was filmed using Team and Zoom meetings. It struck a chord because it depicts something that we can all truly relate to… trouble with virtual technology.

For many, life in lockdown has been filled with virtual meetings, pub quizzes and FaceTime beers. Technology has proven to be vital during the pandemic as it has given us the opportunity to stay connected while staying apart. But, technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to.

Lost connections, no sound, picture freezing and running out of battery have become daily challenges. Heineken jumped on this and used this ad to humorously reflect back to us our own experiences and remind us that even in isolation, we are together in facing the same challenges. The ad leaves you with a sense of togetherness and comfort which is truly heart-warming while at the same time encouraging social distancing.

The lowdown on lockdown

There you have it, five brands that put people at the heart of their advertising campaigns during lockdown. What do you think of our choices? Have you got a favourite ad? Comment below or connect with us on social media.

Categories: COVID-19, Marketing

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