The best lockdown TV ads
By Gemma Wildgoose
During lockdown, I’ve been keeping a close eye on how brands are responding. Well, that and secretly scoffing chocolates in my home office (laundry room). There’s been a lot of creativity - and not just in the ever-growing excuses I use to stop my children eating my After Eights (they’re ‘spicy’, you can only eat them after 8, they’re made of toothpaste).
There are also a lot of phrases that didn’t even exist at the start of 2020 - but have now, somehow, become cliches when handled badly. Here are some handled well. I’m not ashamed to say that some of these ads from around the world made me feel a little emosh. There’s power in marketing, done right.
Dove: Courage is beautiful
We’re familiar with Dove’s bold take on real beauty. This ad is highly relevant to what’s happening now, without straying from their brand values. It shows frontline medical professionals, seconds after another gruelling shift - the effort etched into their face, along with the weals from the PPE they’ve been wearing for hours.
Facebook: People's faces
British writer and performer Kate Tempest recites her poem ‘People’s Faces’, showing, well people’s faces – and the ways that we’re still connecting with each other. It feels like there’s a narrative, and reflects people from all walks of life.
Women's Aid: The lockdown
For some women and children, home is anything but safe. They’re words we’re left reeling from after this chilling, eerie, but incredibly effective offering from Women’s Aid.
Audi: The slow TV journey
This immersive ad brings a moment of peace (four hours of it, in fact) in a time of chaos. In Audi’s own words: “We'd usually invite you to enjoy the open road. Instead, we're bringing the open road to you. Unwind at home with a four-hour long drive of the New South Wales countryside in the all-new Audi A6 Sedan. To enhance the mood of the drive, the film was scored by composer John Hassell, from his studio in Marseille, where he is in isolation.”
Nationwide have taken a personable approach by asking customers to record messages to themselves for six months’ time. The series so far includes a couple about to get married, a heavily pregnant woman, and someone talking about how much their mum means to them. It feels real, yet not overly saccharine.
Virgin: Stay home, stay connected
Towards the start of lockdown, several ads used smartphone footage, stitched into a choppy edit that shows how everyone’s coping in their own way. Virgin’s isn’t a game changer. But the diversity, soundtrack, and authenticity bring a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Porsche: Ease temptation. Stay home.
When your product is all about getting out there, what do you do when you have to stay in? By acknowledging the reality, whilst feeding the temptation. This was one of the first out of the blocks during lockdown, but still maintains the high production standards you’d expect from such a luxury brand.
Channel 4: #StayAtHome
A series of 10-second fake fly-on-the-wall shorts of Channel 4 names, including Big Narstie, Kathryn Ryan, Scarlett Moffat, and Krishnan Guru-Murthy. All doing mundane tasks they wouldn’t usually have time for. All at home. Amongst the cries of togetherness and thanks, it’s a refreshingly wry take on the situation. No heart strings. But a clear message.
Jack Daniels: With love, Jack.
Another brand that’s happy to embrace smartphone footage that shows how people are still connecting. The brand itself is subtle – instead, choosing to focus on putting the ‘social’ into social distancing.
Budweiser: One team
Bud have been busy. They kicked things off with an update of their iconic ‘Wassup’ campaign from back in the day, showing the stars chatting via video call, and enjoying a Bud. Then they took a different tack. When a big chunk of your marketing budget goes on sponsoring sports events across America, you have to get creative. Their response is here.
During lockdown, one of the biggest challenges in advertising is not being able to film live footage. Not a problem for the world’s most famous image library. Here they draw on their wealth of images to illustrate an important message.
One final thing...
Who doesn’t love Lego? (Except when you unexpectedly stand on it, obvs.) We simply couldn’t leave this lovely spot out.