The lockdown that’s taken place over the last few months has brought a lot of brands skidding to a halt. With so many of our spring and summer events cancelled, a sizeable chunk of the seasonal marketing planned for 2020 has gone out the window, but the result has been some truly brilliant reactive campaigns. As consumer priorities change, brands have started putting kindness front and centre, with many reiterating the government’s encouragement to stay home. We’ve put together a list of our favourite ads, campaigns and initiatives from the last few weeks, to put a spotlight on the brands getting it right during a pandemic.

1. Nike - Play for the World

Nike is no stranger to ground-breaking campaigns, with iconic ads like ‘Dream Crazier’ featuring Serena Williams and ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ under its belt already. In early April, as lockdowns descended in some of the biggest cities all over the globe, they released ‘Play for the World | You Can’t Stop Us’. The moving ad shows star athletes like LeBron James and Sara Hughes working out in their kitchens, bedrooms and front yards. As these images play, the accompanying text reads “We may not be playing for our countries yet. We may not be playing for giant crowds. But today we’re playing for 7.8 billion people.” By showing that celebrities world-over are staying home just like the public, Nike has shared a clever message of togetherness, while reinforcing a compassionate brand narrative.

2. Penguin Books - At Home With Penguin

The UK-based publisher has been killing it on social media lately, sharing excerpts from new novels and hosting live interviews on Instagram – all in an effort to get the country reading during a time when so many outdoor activities are out of bounds. When lockdown began, they also launched ‘At Home With Penguin’ – a series of at-home interviews with popular authors, all available via livestream on Penguin social media channels, every Tuesday at 5.30pm. So far there’s been a wide range of guests; Dolly Alderton joined to discuss the process of writing a novel, and Anthony Horowitz shared inspiring reads, as well as tips on staying creative. Upcoming guests include TV presenter Richard Osman, actress Ruby Wax and even astronaut Tim Peake! 3. Land Rover - Explore the Great Indoors Toy land rover on top of work top Land Rover UK has been encouraging customers to #StayInStayAdventurous in their latest ad campaign, which showcases the work of independent photographer and director, Trevor Hart Studio. The ad features a little girl pushing a toy Land Rover Discovery over various domestic terrains, which are cleverly set up to resemble the outdoors. An ochre-coloured bed sheet doubles as sand dunes, before the car drives past a flour mountain and through a lake (puddle) on a kitchen counter. Set to the song ‘Just Imagine’ by Brandon Combs, the ad is a message of solidarity from Land Rover, and a hopeful reminder of better days to come.

4. The North Face - Covid-19 Explore Fund

Picture of mountains with text overlaying   for more than 50 years, we have been led by our purpose to lead the world forward through exploration As a company that specialises in clothing and equipment for outdoor adventures, The North Face faced a real challenge when the government instructed the country to stay home – but they rallied, and the resulting campaign is remarkable. Earlier this month, the brand announced the launch of the Explore Fund – ‘created to help and support the global outdoor community in this time of need.’ The North Face kicked off fundraising themselves with a huge donation of €1 million – and small businesses that facilitate outdoor activities can apply for a grant from this fund. They’ve also partnered with Outward Bound Trust – an organisation helping underprivileged young people get access to outdoor space.

5. Deliveroo - Support the NHS

Picture of a rainbow and the deliveroo logo with the text £130,000 for the nhs and counting... With cafés and restaurants closed for the foreseeable, takeaway food has never been more tempting, and Deliveroo doesn’t disappoint! But as well as keeping their services running as usual, Deliveroo has stepped up to support the NHS during this period. You can now donate directly to the Support the NHS initiative when you order your dinner – donations range between £5 and £500, so even if you don’t have much to spare you can make a difference. Deliveroo then organises to collect meals from local restaurants and drop them off at nearby hospitals for staff who might not otherwise have time for a hot meal. In the first 48 hours, over £130,000 had been raised, and the brand has pledged to donate 500,000 meals to the vulnerable too.
We’ll keep sharing the best and brightest campaigns from the industry over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on our blog for more!