The COVID-19 outbreak affected the entire world and brought a temporary pause to several operations. The situation for many was comparative to the 2008 financial crisis. Businesses were forced to shut operations or manage with limited resources and budgets. In these testing times, marketing budgets took a backseat. However, the pandemic brought out some exciting marketing campaigns. They ensured that they reached their customers using digital channels and increased their brand’s reach.
Now, lockdowns are ending in several parts of the world. Businesses are slowly opening up, with new regulations and norms, referred to by many as the new normal. Adapting your marketing strategy in the new normal is vital for businesses. More than changing strategy or investing in new channels, customer empathy and connection play a critical role in ensuring success.
Successful Marketing Campaigns during the Pandemic
Here are some examples of great marketing campaigns during the pandemic that were a huge hit with the audience. Each one has a lesson for every digital marketer out there.
- Warner Bros. Launched Trailer For ‘Tenent’ in a Hit Video Game
As people spent a considerable amount of time indoors during the pandemic, the gaming industry saw a massive surge in new users and a rise in playtime. While movie theatres remained closed, Warner Bros. saw this as the opportune time to release its new movie trailer. The trailer debut of the new Christopher Nolan film, ‘Tenent,’ took place in the hit video game ‘Fortnite.’ It received a tremendous response.
Image Credits: Fortnite Fandom
The ‘Tenent’ preview also ran in Epic Games’ Party Royale mode. The virtual hangout created the perfect channel for Warner Bros. to reach its target audience, the tech-savvy youth.
Takeaway: Know your target audience and reach out to them on their preferred, interactive platforms.
- KFC Used Facebook Messenger to Promote its Mother’s Day Campaign
Mother’s Day was one of the first major holidays that was affected by the pandemic. With social distancing norms being strictly enforced, the day was spent at home by people worldwide. To celebrate this occasion virtually, KFC announced its biggest sales day of the year and promoted it using Facebook Messenger. The chain used personalised invitations, event reminders, video chat, and digital stickers to promote its campaign.
Image Credits: PRNewsWire
Takeaway: Use digital channels to celebrate special occasions and add value for your customers.
- Budweiser India Relaunched its Whassup Campaign with a Twist
Budweiser India had launched the drink in the Indian market using the ‘Whassup’ campaign in 1999. The ad was focused on reaching out to friends, having a great time, and enjoying the spirit of friendship. In 2020, they brought back the campaign. This time, they mixed it up with a social distancing touch and emphasised staying in touch virtually. The campaign captured the emotional isolation most people felt during the stringent lockdowns. This underscored its success.
Takeaway: Empathy is what creates effective engagement. Empathize with the audience when creating brand campaigns.
- Nike Promoted Indoor Fitness by Offering its Training App Subscription Free
Nike has been synonymous with outdoor sports and fitness. Yet, the COVID-19 crisis meant people would spend more time indoors, eating into a huge chunk of its market. Instead of halting its marketing campaigns, Nike showcased how reinventing the wheel can keep a brand going. For 2020, it dropped its subscription fee on the Nike Training Club (NTC) app. The app also started featuring indoor workouts, nutrition, sleep, and mindset content focused on enriching the lives of its customers.
Image Credits: Nike
Takeaway: While offering the app for free enabled Nike to reach more customers, tweaking, and customising its content to the situation was the key to its success. Offer 90-day free services to make sure your target audience gets hooked to your products. Also, make sure you customise it to their liking for long-term engagement.
- McDonald’s Outlined its Safety Measures through its Campaigns
COVID-19 took a toll on the Food & Beverages industry as there were increasing safety concerns. To help customers feel safe and showcase its safety guidelines, McDonald’s decided to promote safety in several of its campaigns globally. In the Philippines, it launched the ‘M Safe’ campaign. It had its staff showcasing all the social distancing and safety measures it had undertaken. Likewise, the McDonald’s Russia campaign focused on washing hands more regularly.
Takeaway: Understand your audience’s key concerns, and showcase how you address them to increase customer trust and loyalty.
The pandemic is not the death of marketing. However, it does present an excellent time for brands to reinvent and shift focus to build long-term relationships. Focus on building trust and empathising with your customers to create engagement that ensures your brand makes it through the pandemic.Tags: Brand Campaigns, campaign marketing, campaign planning, campaign strategy, Content Marketing, digital campaigns, marketing campaigns, marketing communication, marketing content, Marketing strategy, SM Campaigns, Viral campaign