None of us remember agreeing to ride the Corona Carousel for quite this long, yet here we find ourselves in 2021 feeling dizzy and frantically looking for the fastest and safest way to get off. With many of us trying to make the best of home office spaces in the same place we had our Christmas dinners just a few days before, the line between our personal and work lives becomes increasingly blurred. This ghastly virus has infected all aspects of the world we inhabit. The advertising industry is no exception in these are challenging times.
Perhaps it was the shake-up we never knew we needed. The time of putting together a tried and tested media campaign is gone and it’s clear the industry needs to work smartly and pivot its approach. Wherever consumer behaviour has shifted advertising spend has adjusted in response. It makes little sense for advertisers to spend on media with no audience. As confinement measures were introduced around the world, out-of-home and cinema advertising shrank almost instantly; while print advertising continued to fall dramatically.
Meanwhile, in-home media usage went up. TV viewership climbed and digital consumption increased even more: use of social platforms and streaming services have risen almost everywhere; with gaming and esports being some of the biggest beneficiaries.
In one the biggest brand positioning challenges to date, all eyes are on Comms teams across the globe to see who can rise to the occasion and of course for every triumph there’s a campaign that crashes and burns. One such campaign, which has been the news this week is Ryanair’s controversial ‘Jab and Go’ – a light hearted look at vaccinations… Whilst it certainly has got us talking, chatter hasn’t exactly been positive with comments like Worst Ad Ever… not to mention the 1,600+ complaints received by Advertising and Standard Authority (ASA).
There’s making a splash and then there’s burning bridges… has Ryanair gone too far? In tone it feels insensitive, at a time where emotions are heightened. In fact we’re baffled how it ever got signed off. It’s not the first time this airline has been in the spotlight, but this feels bigger than a storm in a Twitter teacup. When we are all safely able to take to the skies again, it’s likely the brand may have directed some of their cliental into its competitors’ departure lounges.
Perhaps it should have taken a leaf out of Nike or TimeOut’s strategy book who changed straplines to Don’t Do It and TimeIn respectively. This followed in the footsteps of Uber who actively encouraged users not use its service and to stay at home. KFC – a brand we admire, its campaigns have won a few of our awards over the years – also got it right when it changed its emblematic slogan of ‘finger licking good’ when it no longer felt appropriate.
With a topic as an encompassing as Covid-19 you simply can’t run campaigns as they were before. The world has changed and brands have to be reactive and reflect the ‘new normal’ which is now at a strange point of feeling strangely familiar.
The brilliant work in the field is already happening and both Teads LATAM and OMD Worldwide impressed with their work for client Warner Brothers on the launch of Birds of Prey. When faced with the quandary of how to ensure its latest release was a box office hit while cinemas remained closed the duo turned this challenge into an opportunity with a digital launch and were rightly awarded with Best Use of Digital at the Festival of Media Latam Awards.
Inspired by the great work we’ve seen so far and what is currently being made, we want to provide a platform to champion those brands and agencies who are getting it right. It’s why we’ve introduced Best Response to COVID-19 for our Festival of Global Awards in 2021.
After all seeing as it looks like we are staying at home riding this Corona carousel – that at times is enough to give you whiplash – for a little while yet, spending time working on your entry is a great way to pass the time. Plus, there could be a shiny trophy and industry wide recognition at the end of it. Good luck and stay safe.
The standard deadline for the Global Awards is on 28 January, if you need help or have any further questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org