The Top 5 Coronavirus Marketing Campaigns

We are living through an unprecedented time: a scary one, a lonely one, and one that means we are spending more time than ever looking to the media for guidance, and reassurance. Some brands have gone above and beyond in how they have responded to the coronavirus crisis, and in such a bleak time we at SOS Marketing think that creativity and resilience is worth celebrating.

Gymshark to Homeshark

Homeshark Twitter Update

On April 1st, Gymshark were not fooling about in the slightest. In a viral Instagram post they became champions of social distancing, changing their account name to “Homeshark” to encourage people to stay out of public places during the pandemic. To date the post has upwards of 1,200,000 likes, following suit from their Twitter account a few days previously. Their influential Twitter has become a hub for fitness-lovers to commiserate and share memes about missing the gym, connecting with friends and body positivity.

This change was small but had a huge impact! Not only are Gymshark (or should we say, Homeshark) helping to spread awareness about the importance of staying home, but they are normalising the idea of working out from home with their content- especially their regular livestreams on Facebook which guide you through new work-outs from the comfort of your own home! They have demonstrated convincingly that marketing doesn’t have to be about big budgets and elaborate concepts; sometimes just tweaking your social media presence with a little thoughtfulness and adaptation to be current can go a very long way.

Grotesque Model Reveals What Avid Gamers Could Look Like in 20 Years

Avid Gamers

Online Casino conducted a study to predict how gamers could look in 2040, taking into account the lifestyle of twenty years of sleep deprivation, dehydration, vitamin D deficiency, eye-strain and constantly overworked fingers. They revealed Michael- a nightmare in the form of a clay model- complete with a malformed skull from wearing a headset for too long, repetitive strain injuries and swollen ankles from too much time spent sitting down.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, as is to be expected from everybody staying indoors, online gaming has increased by 19%. By taking the regular health problems of spending too much time in the virtual world to the extreme, Online Casino have done an remarkable job of highlighting how Gaming Disorder (as recognised by the WHO!) can affect everyone’s daily life. The second thrust of their campaign is spreading awareness of important preventative measures like regular breaks and exercise, staying hydrated and being mindful of your posture.

This one-two approach of grabbing attention with what the Daily Mail called a “grotesque model”, and using it to drive home a message about taking care of personal health in a time when public health is of such great concern has earned Online Casino significant press coverage.

Taking a topic, like this one, that is at a peak of relevance in people’s everyday lives and using it to make a statement that is both memorable and pragmatically useful is an excellent way to maximise the significance of a campaign. By keeping a close eye on the trends of the time can transform marketing from being a simple advertisement to something that feels genuinely important and immediate.
Michael’s outlandish looks are a visceral reminder that excessive gaming can cause long-term health problems- a timely warning for some in lock-down; and after gazing into his haunting eyes, you won’t forget it any time soon either.

Run for Heroes

Run for Heroes

As a result of the nationwide lockdown, a surplus of interactive online challenges have appeared across social media with the most impactful being a charity initiative, Run for Heroes. Driven predominantly through the dedicated Instagram account @run.for.heroes, from the simple premise to the good cause it benefits, this is a campaign designed to go viral. The challenge itself is admirably snappy: run for 5K, donate £5 through Virgin Money Giving and nominate 5 other people to do the same.

So far over £4,000,000 has been raised and thousands of people across Britain have partaken in the challenge. Keeping the population fit and connected in a time of great isolation is brilliant for people’s physical AND mental health. The added incentives of raising money for charity and, let’s face it, part of the point being to post on Instagram about your good deeds and encourage your friends to do the same, makes this campaign a win for everybody.

Through harnessing the power of social media, this campaign has demonstrated that increased screen-time during lockdown can yield positive ends- and ultimately less time spent online, and more outdoors!

BrewDog Move From Making Delicious Beers to Hand Sanitizer

BrewGel Punk Sanitiser

BrewDog have taken the initiative to move their ethanol brewing from the purposes of making delicious beers to creating hand sanitizer. Dubbing it BrewGel, the company pledged to deliver much-needed alcohol disinfectant to NHS hospitals, children’s hospitals in Aberdeen, and charities that support at-risk families across Scotland. This simple and pragmatic gesture shows that brands and companies can make a meaningful difference to people’s lives in this time of global uncertainty, by using the resources already at their disposal.

This is a heart-warming effort and shows that BrewDog really care about doing the most for their community. They are setting a terrific example for what brands can do by changing their perspective in this difficult time when we all need to pull together the most.

Too ingenious not to include? We certainly think so…

Spoiler Billboards by Netflix (Or is it?)

Spoiler Billboards by Netflix

Although not officially sponsored by the company itself, two recent advertising graduates have been creating billboards to encourage people to stay indoors- by ruthlessly spoiling Netflix series. The spec adverts instantly went viral, with many people mistaking it for a real Netflix campaign! They took to beloved Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Love is Blind, Narcos, Money Heist and Kingdom, and revealed big twists from the end of the season, following the logic that “The best way to stop the spread of Covid-19 is to #staythefuckhome, but some people still think it’s okay to go out and chill, spoiling it for us all… So we took an extreme measure: we spoil their favourite Netflix shows.”

Despite the campaigns unofficial status, it has garnered massive attention for Netflix and highlighted how much people care about the stories they tell. In a time when home-based streaming services are becoming even more entrenched in our everyday lives, being at the forefront of brand recognition is more important for them than ever.

Stay at Home by Guinness (Or should we say Luke O’Reilly)

Stay at Home by Guinness

Although another unofficial campaign, freelance UK-based copywriter Luke O’Reilly has created a stunning play on the iconic brand imagery of Guinness. Using his sharp eye for minimalist design, O’Reilly has recreated the traditional dark brew with creamy brown on top- using only a black background, the Guinness logo and a beige sofa. The slogan “STAY AT HOME” makes marvellous use of negative space to suggest the shape of a Guinness glass, and shows how small but creative changes can be beneficial to a brand (and in this case, public health).

Raising awareness about social distancing whilst incorporating comforting images of one of our nation’s favourite drinks is an inspired way to balance the importance of staying vigilant without inducing stress- perhaps by relaxing on the sofa with a Guinness! This effective use of familiar images reinforces the seriousness of our new reality, but with a special kind of levity that reminds us that there will eventually be a world beyond the pandemic.

The adaptation of iconic branding materials that are intrinsically associated with Guinness into something unexpected and uniquely important to the moment is genius. It demonstrates how strong the motifs of Guinness’ brand are, setting a great example for other companies looking to establish similarly strident and recognisable brand presence- and moreover to the growing responsibility of the media to set a positive example and promote social isolation.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Mr O’Reilly received a knock on his door from the Guinness marketing department soon, once the lock-down is over of course!

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