By Becca Chase, Account Executive
The COVID-19 crisis has shifted consumers’ economic habits in ways no one could have ever predicted. In a world where every day brings new, unexpected information, it is difficult for companies to make promises to their consumers and capture the emotions that have been generated from this historical event in a single advertisement. With that being said, three brands stood out among their peers in their stay-at-home advertising. These three Covid-friendly marketing campaigns presented memorable and thoughtful messages to help relate to their consumers in such a unique moment.
Number One: In December of 2020, Vrbo released a national TV and online ad campaign that featured the familial aspect of vacation, titled “Your Together Awaits.” Vacation home stays have increased dramatically during the pandemic, as many families sought a socially distanced and private excursion, while still being together. The campaign uses keywords like couple, family, and parents, and its overall message is that vacation doesn’t necessarily mean mingling with crowds, but rather, spending time with the people you love the most. This campaign appealed to work-from-home families with disposable income who had the flexibility and financial ability to continue their telework and remote schooling from a vacation destination even during what is traditionally an “off season” for vacation rentals.
Number Two: Restaurants and bars were severely impacted by the pandemic, and Heineken’s #BacktheBars global campaign aimed to encourage viewers to support their local bars and purchase beers online-in-advance. Heineken’s corporate social responsibility is evident here as they announced they would donate directly to local bars to support them. Heineken has also created a voucher system, allowing people to buy a drinks voucher for a bar or restaurant. The brand said customers will be able to redeem the voucher once the facility is open again, but the establishment’s owner will receive the monetary value of the voucher immediately upon purchase to help them stay afloat. From February to May 2020, over 218,000 vouchers were purchased, with more than 8.2 million euros being paid to owners, allowing them to pay their fixed costs and stay in business (where they will no doubt continue to function as bulk buyers of Heineken’s products).
Number Three: Nike’s Play for the World campaign reads, “If you ever dreamed of playing for millions around the world, now is your chance.” Their wider "Play Inside" campaign highlights mini-workout challenges against Nike pro athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo in its Living Room Cup. Nike's app, social media platforms, and podcast offered free workouts and content to encourage athleticism even within the home. Its 60-second ad, titled "You Can't Stop Us," gave viewers a glimpse of the creative lengths people have taken to exercise and keep healthy at home, piecing together self-shot videos. The campaign represented creative positioning for a brand that faced a crisis during the initial, “stay at home” phase of the pandemic response. Realizing that its products were designed for activities that were being prohibited or highly discouraged, Nike reframed the use of its product line for “acceptable” at-home fitness.