How global brands are adapting their ad strategy in times of COVID-19

With the world reeling under the Coronavirus pandemic, businesses and the economy are taking a major hit. The primary focus of governments across the world is on containing the aggressive spread of the virus and reducing the number of deaths. 

These are tough times for brands, as customers are confined to their homes amid self-quarantine and lock-downs, thus pushing down the market sentiments. Rather than the usual marketing push with the onset of spring, brands are taking on the mantle of communicating responsibly as they up their CSR initiatives. This is being reflected in their ad campaigns released during these times. Sure, there are some brands that are resorting to hardsell and are looking at cashing in on the panic situation, but overall, brands are being very careful not to fan misinformation amid the public. 

Also read:
Do’s & Don’ts of brand communication in times of COVID-19 concerns

Some of these ads have direct messaging and provide solutions to the consumers in these trying times. The others are interesting, where creativity has been leveraged to get the right messaging out. Following are a few campaigns that caught our eye: 


Conceptualised by its ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy New York, Ford has highlighted the fact that it is providing breathing space to Ford Credit customers around their car payments. With taglines like “Built to Lend a Hand” and “Built for Right Now”, the advertisements reminds the people who it has handled situations of world crisis before. 



Again conceptualised by Wieden + Kennedy, Nike has absolutely nailed it with their messaging. Leveraging the fact that Nike as a brand is very aspirational for many upcoming and existing global athletes. Nike says “Play inside, Play for the world.” 



Conceptualised by DPZ&T, McDonald’s separated its golden arches of the logo in Brazil to spread awareness around Social Distancing. 



Hershey’s has leveraged its famous ‘Hershey’s Kisses’ with the message – “Spread love from a distance”. Conceptualised by Israel-based ACC Grannot, the ad not only leverages its product in a fun way, but also spreads the messaging of social distancing and safety of loved ones. 




The Coca-Cola creative is easy and simple. Through this ad, Coca-Cola Philippines has announced that they will be diverting advertising spends (close to 22 crore) to help Covid-19 relief and response efforts. 


Similar to McDonald’s, Audi showcase a change in their logo to signify the importance of social distancing. 


Indian brands, too, are being quite creative in their campaigns amid the Covid-19 crisis. Amul’s latest ad is about the ‘Janta Curfew’ observed throughout India on Sunday, March 22. In the doodle, Amul’s mascot, wearing a mask, can be seen standing in the balcony and banging plates. The cartoon also had pictorial description of three essential steps to fight Covid-19 – viz. Covering one’s mouth while sneezing, washing hands and avoiding physical contact. 


Lifebuoy’s ad is also an example of simple and effective messaging. Through this print ad, Lifebuoy not only provides valuable information to the consumer about how to stay safe from the Coronavirus, but also urges the consumer to use not just Lifebuoy, but also competitor brands such as Lux, Santoor or Dettol. The ad copy begins by declaring, “This is not an ad for Lifebuoy. This is a public service message.”


Also Read:

This is how top ad & communications honchos plan to spend their Curfew Sunday

Do’s & Don’ts of brand communication in times of COVID-19 concerns


News in the domain of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Business of Entertainment

More in Advertising