Amid a global health crisis, advertising is in a tricky situation. If you make a commercial without addressing the pandemic, you might be accused of being insensitive. On the other hand, if you do make it about the virus, you’re following what other companies are doing. It’s not necessarily bad but nearly every other ad is about the pandemic. Most campaigns nowadays have similar messages about health and hopefulness. It makes it hard to stand out and be effective for consumers.
Check out these three elements for a successful campaign during the pandemic:
Highlight Your Role in Health Protocols
Emphasize that you’re doing your part by implementing physical distancing measures and using commercial sanitation services to keep your establishment safe. Throughout the year, companies have been reminding people to wash their hands, wear masks, and maintain a distance. But, it’s not just up to the consumers to follow health protocols. It’s also the businesses’ responsibility to ensure that their facilities are safe. Instead of running a campaign about what people should do, you can make one about what you’re doing. You can include photos of how clean your store or restaurant is. You can also produce videos showing how the normal processes have changed. For example, you can require appointments or encourage advance orders. This way customers would spend a short time in the store with minimal contact with other people.
This is what Domino’s Pizza has done. They introduced contactless delivery back in March, so that people can get their order safely. The business has made adjustments and customers aren’t inconvenienced. These types of ads instill trust and confidence. During these uncertain times, people are understandably wary of going to commercial areas. If a store or a restaurant make it clear how they’re making the space safe for people, it would encourage them to buy and follow health protocols.
Safety Over Sales
The virus has left no industry untouched. Because of the global recession and change in daily routines, businesses, large and small, have been forced to close or file for bankruptcy. Arguably the most affected is the travel and tourism industry. Due to travel restrictions and general safety concerns, travel isn’t the top priority for people right now. Hotels have postponed operations. Tourist destinations have closed temporarily. Airlines around the world have reduced their workforce. Experts warn that almost 200 million jobs in the industry could be wiped out.
The thing is that surviving companies can’t suspend operations altogether. They have to continue posting on social media to keep people interested. Consumers may not be able to travel right now, but they can always plan for later. This is the strategy used by Visit Estonia. They garnered praise in social media and reached new peaks in engagement by simply telling people to visit Estonia later and stay at home now. The post shows how they’re in touch and prioritize people’s safety over making money. Another alternative is to shift to virtual services like Discover Puerto Rico. They launched salsa lessons via Zoom and cocktail classes on Instagram. These online programs keep people interested and informed in the country’s culture. While they may not be seeing visits now, they’ll reap the benefits later.
Emphasize How You Can Help
By now, everyone is aware of these unprecedented times. In just three months, the unemployment rate is even worse than that of The Great Recession. A lot of people are more interested in getting assistance than purchasing new things. But there’s still a way you can advertise successfully and reach people in need of your products. Ford’s Built for America campaign is a great example of this.
In their series of videos, they highlight the company’s century-long history. They show that they’ve been around for the country’s ups and downs. The ads also emphasize how they’ve met Americans’ needs through the ages. In one video, they explained how their trucks helped build bridges and support livelihoods. In another ad, they show how they’ve built ventilators, respirators, and face shields. Besides this, they also launched Ford Promise. The program allows eligible customers to return their vehicles if they lost their jobs within a year.
The great thing is you don’t have to run a company as big or established as Ford to do something similar. You can offer flexible payment plans to make your products more affordable. You can also show how your products can help meet their needs or desires during tough times.
The pandemic has made an undeniable impact on advertising. Although it’s difficult, several campaigns have shown how it’s still possible to run a campaign without being out of touch.