Corona-campaigns: good and bad examples.

Since March 2020, our world has been turned upside down by a virus: COVID-19. It was (and still is) a hard time for everyone. Companies had to adjust their campaigns to this new way of living. Some companies were always good at advertising their brand, but some were not. I’ve always been interested in advertising and branding, from which my favorite part is campaigns. Campaigns say a lot about a brand and that’s why we are going to take a look at the campaigns of this historical, COVID-19, period. A period we will always remember as well as the campaigns made during this period.

I’ve listed some examples of companies which have responded well to this ‘corona’ time by using their campaigns and which companies did not. This way we can learn from and get inspired by these campaigns (or not).

Uber: ‘’Thank you for not riding Uber’’
While a lot of businesses benefit from adjusting their campaigns Uber does not. In this commercial Uber is thanking their customers for not riding with Uber and Uber did that very well in my opinion. With this commercial Uber is showing that our health and safety is their number one priority and that they are not seeking another way to make money during the COVID-period. Profit is not their priority, they just want to show they respect the rules while peacefully waiting for a better time. There is a plan behind this campaign of course, but I think it is a smart move to promote Uber this way.

Despite having great admiration for the way Uber has responded to this period of time and by not profiting of it, I have to be realistic: some companies need the use of campaigns to make money and thereby keeping their heads above water.

Netflix: ‘’The Spoiler Billboard’’
During this time a great campaign has unfolded around the brand: Netflix. The funny thing is that the campaign wasn’t created by Netflix itself. It was created by students of the Miami Ad School Europe. The campaign, called Netflix Spoiler Board, was about spoiling Netflix shows on billboards. The goal was to prevent people from going outside, since they don’t want to see spoilers of their favorite Netflix show. The campaign video predicated the following message: “#staythefuckhome and if you don’t, we will spoil your favorite Netflix show on billboards.” They showed examples of these ‘spoilers’ in the video, like a billboard saying: ‘’Jim Hopper dies’’. Later it appeared that these images were photoshopped and not real, but at first the public did believe it was true.

Post NL: ‘’Message for the deliverers’’
Even though most people are told to stay or work at home, there are plenty of people who simply cannot because of their profession. Including mail deliverers. The Dutch company PostNL created this advertisement that was printed out full-page in all national newspapers. The ad simply says that their deliverers will go outside so we can stay inside. Also with the ad Post NL wants to thank their deliverers. Frankwatching said to find the last sentence, which can be found at the bottom of the advertisement, testimony of strong brand communication without forgetting your own people which I couldn’t agree more to. Great advertisement if you ask me.

KFC: ‘’Its finger licking good’’
Finally, here’s a company that didn’t do so well, because of their poor timing; the finger licking good campaign. A commercial in which everyone licks their fingers after eating KFC. At one point of this commercial people even share a bucket. The campaign was launched at the end of March. Exactly during the time the coronavirus started taking over our world. Fans revolted since they found the commercial to be inappropriate during this period of time. Shortly after, the campaign was halted. The TV- and online commercials were replaced by another commercial of KFC. Yet KFC had also planned to display posters of the campaign as outdoor advertising. What will happen to the thousands of posters already printed is unknown.

I do not entirely agree with the revolting fans. I agree with statement that it was not an appropriate campaign during this time, but are we not smart enough to understand that this was just a matter of bad timing? Bad timing that no one could have predicted and so neither could KFC. Perhaps KFC should have thought of it better when they launched the campaign, but this period was and is new to all of us. I forgive them. But in the end, it remains: a bad campaign.

  1. Thank you for not riding Uber:
  • Netflix Spoiler Billboard:
  • KFC’s finger licking good:


(Adformatie, 2020)

(Frankwatching, 2020)

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