With the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many marketers have turned cautious in their advertising spends. Given the lockdowns, production of new advertising creatives – at least on the scale prior to this health crisis has come to a standstill. Brands have resorted to tactical ads which link back to their thematic claim, with messaging urging people to stay at home. In this context, here are a handful of creative ideas which caught my eye this week.
Design agencies and brands can have it tough when it comes to re-branding: a brand identity or packaging change. Whenever they embark on such a project, especially if the brand is famous, then they will be subjected to harsh criticism, especially on social media. Aside from advertising, such creative work is also ripe for critique from all and sundry. Re-branding of Indian telecom giant Airtel, Google and Gap were all subjected to criticism. In most cases, the outrage is about questioning the need for change or trashing the new effort as inferior to the old, familiar one. Fact is, most of are comfortable with the familiar and feel uneasy about change. It is especially true of brands which we interact with and see logos of everyday (Google and Airtel for example). So when such ‘familiar’ brands sport a new look the first reaction is of discomfort. And since such feelings can be vented on social media, they are. Some brands chose to ignore such blowback while others, such as Gap, gave in to the pressure.
Sometimes, such re-branding exercises get flak because the design agencies give an esoteric rationale for the project. A case in point is a 2009 project for Pepsi. An internal document from the Arnell Group, titled ‘Breathtaking’ had this gem, among others:
The Pepsi ethos has evolved over time. The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring phenomena in the brand’s history. It communicates the brand in a timeless manner and with an expression of clarity. Pepsi BREATHTAKING builds on this knowledge. True innovation always begins by investigating the historic path. Going back-to-the-roots moves the brand forward as it changes the trajectory of the future.Source
Another aspect of the outrage is the consternation over large sums of monies paid to agencies for ‘incremental’ changes. I came across similar comments over a new project where it may appear that the re-branding only involved tweaking the Cadbury signature word mark from an italicised one to a straighter one. But the project is a lot more strategic and meaningful for the brand as it involves a re-think of the packaging and the associated story telling which will be experienced by millions across the globe. I particularly liked the way the brand’s heritage, the drool inducing food ingredients and premium aspects of the brand are brought alive. Read more here.
Thai Airways: miles exchange
Here’s a brand which has not just stopped at conveying a message to stay at home but rewards the action with a tangible benefit. There is also a right fit with the brand as being unable to travel is being rewarded.
Agency: Wunderman Thompson
Burger King: unhappy birthday
I liked this because it reflects a real-life situation of the times we live in: people having to celebrate their birthdays in solitude. It can be tough on ids and hence the offer of a celebration when things are back to normal, strikes a chord.
Canada is calling: video call backgrounds
With video-calling, especially Zoom, being the norm for people working from home a few have offered fun background images for such calls. Here is one which could have a residual impact on our minds from Destination Canada.
Adidas: Ready for Sport
‘Every COVID-19 commercial is the same‘ is a valid argument. Even though this montage has clips similar to many other commercials around this topic, it was uplifting in a way as it projected a future where team sport is common.
Support the doctors: Heroes
These minimal posters created by an ad agency powerfully convey the ‘doctors are our real heroes’ message.
Agency: McCann, Belgrade
Oreo: Stay home, stay playful
‘Playfulness‘ has been a central aspect of Oreo’s product focused communication over the years. The brand has taken the idea forward on Instagram with ‘playful’ activities and recipes to try at home.
Colgate: Smile Strong
While this one ticks the boxes on many of the COVID-19 related videos – footage from video recordings, montage etc., there is a link back to the category and the brand.
Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.