2020 has been quite a particular year for marketing.  On one hand, many businesses have limited their budget and expenses due to economic uncertainties, and on the other hand, with the health crisis, it is not so easy to know how to bounce back and adapt campaigns to the ongoing social climate.

The question is: how do you carry out marketing strategies in the midst of a global pandemic?  How can you avoid unintentionally offending your audience with an advertisement, how do you avoid trying to seem an opportunist, and above all, how do you make the most of each euro of your marketing budget? 

In this article, we will look at five advertising campaigns that were carried out in 2020 and who perfectly answer these burning questions. 

We have selected these five campaigns because of how they perfectly reflect the current situation but each of them in their own unique fashion from different perspectives. 

Table of Content

Burger King and Mockery

Burger King is known for its backlog of creativity in its marketing campaigns and it never comes as a surprise to see their advertisements creating a buzz on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

If we look at a recent example, let me show you this tweet that was published at the start of Roland-Garros this year:

The picture speaks for itself.  Burger King’s communication is in a league of its own.

Here, they use creativity to bounce back with humour on one the French people’s favourite sporting events but at the same time, with added mockery to bounce back from the ongoing health crisis.

As we are writing this article in November 2020, we are in the midst of the second wave of COVID-19 contaminations in Europe.  Arguably not a very fun situation, but Burger King manages to be on top of it in style.

This video is short, dynamic, and uses a different tone to the one we are living in at the moment:

 

In short, Burger King manages to use humour to turn the current situation into mockery and loosen up the overall sense of tension we are living in.  Of course, all the credit goes to their communication agency, Buzzman, who have always proven to bring out the best in creativity.

Aside from these two examples, we could think that this brand only calls for humour in its advertising, but this is far from the truth.  Take a look at this video which takes apart a Whopper to show where Burger King stands on the use of preservatives in their food: 

Let us move on to the second advertising campaign that is making the most of the health crisis. 

Coca-Cola and Courage

The second example is that of Coca-Cola with an advertisement that bases itself on solidarity, hope, and optimism in relation to the current situation:

In this video, from the “For Everyone” campaign, Coca-Cola uses its product in many different ways to represent all the various people to whom they wish to reach.  In occurrence, all the people who have faced and who are still facing the epidemic, by sending them a message of support.

For the anecdote, this advertisement, which is just over a minute long, is an adaptation of a campaign that was launched at the beginning of the 2000s and is used anytime there is a need for a sense of cohesion and community.

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Ford and Solidarity

The third example we wish to present to you in this article is that of Ford’s and their “Build to Lend a Hand” campaign. 

Very obviously, Ford reminds us of its home nation, the USA, and how they have always been there in the toughest of times.

In this video, Ford takes on a historical angle by saying that for more than 100 years, their business has made available their means of production to their country.  May it be through building planes and tanks during war times, helping its clients in the aftermaths of natural disasters, or today, to help financially those who have been affected by COVID by helping with the production of respiratory machinery for those who are sick. 

Ikea and Security 

The fourth example is that of Ikea’s, who released this video at the beginning of lockdown back in March: 

It is no question that everyone has had a different experience during lockdown, and that not everyone faced the same challenges it entailed.  Some were alone, some were with their families, some were in living conditions that were less than ideal, etc.  For many people, lockdown was not an easy moment to go through and amongst other things, it lead to anxiety, stress and a strong sense of isolation.

In the face of such a situation, Ikea’s Spanish branch saw the opportunity to change our perceptions of this event by placing the focus on the comfort and security of our homes.  The message of this video is to show us that the world outside is full of uncertainties, movement, but that your home remains an environment that you know and in which you feel safe.  

Obviously, it is unfortunately not the truth for everyone.  As we mentioned before, lockdown created and still creates inequalities between many of us: not everyone has a place they can call home in which they can thrive and above all feel comfortable in during weeks of confinement. 

Netflix’s not so Netflix campaign and Impertinence

In all honesty, we hesitated to put this campaign in this article merely because it was not really a campaign…Many people thought it was a real publicity stunt by Netflix, but it was far from that.

To give you a bit of context, at the start of lockdown, we started to see these kinds of images on social network platforms:

The idea is quite simple: encourage people to stay home to avoid spoilers of their favourite Netflix series.  The idea is great, but it was not conducted by Netflix.  It was in fact two students from the Miami Ad School located in Hamburg, Germany.

Even if the campaign is not “legitimate”, we find it to be a good way to bounce back off of the current context by making a link with something many people fear (spoilers), and by doing it so in quite an impertinent tone.  Where it really gets good though is that the tone used in these “fake” campaigns is actually quite similar to the one used on Netflix’s social networks.

This Tweet posted as a reaction to a loud explosion sound in Paris caused by a French military plane breaking the sound barrier during an exercise is a good example:

Conclusion

In the end, we can note one common point between all 5 of these campaigns: they all chose a precise emotional angle to bounce back from reality, put their businesses in the forefront and create a connection with their target audience.

  • Burger King plays on humour and mockery
  • Coca-Cola bets on optimism and courage
  • Ford bets on solidarity
  • Ikea plays on security
  • “Netflix” plays on impertinence

The strength of these campaigns is that they touch people on an emotional level, and it is for this reason that they stick in our minds.  The best marketing campaigns are those who manage to express their creative ideas thanks to a powerful content that goes directly to play on the emotions of their target audience.

If you also wish to create ultra-creative campaigns, we can only suggest that you work with a specialised advertising agency.  On this page, you can find agencies such as:

And many others!  All the agencies each have their specialities and you will simply have to choose which of them fits best for your needs.