Message Bubble

How to Make Your Advertising Stand Out in the Crowded COVID-19 Pandemic Landscape

May 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to change quickly and advertising is no exception. Practically overnight, brands pulled their existing advertising creative and pivoted to messaging about their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the advertising messaging you see from brands sounds very similar, with brands often using overused phrases like “unprecedented times” and “we’re here for you.”

Research demonstrates that it is critical for brands to use their advertising to amplify their COVID-19 efforts and solidify their role in the community. According to AdWeek, consumers are more likely to engage with brands that are more purpose-driven and address the pandemic directly in their communications. Plus, media viewership online and on TV is skyrocketing meaning it is now easier and less costly for advertisers to reach their core audiences.

As you develop advertising messaging here are three things to focus on as you build the right message:

  • Action – We are all grateful and saying thank you is important, but what you are doing to help is what matters. Focus on the actions you are taking, and how those actions will help address one or many of the challenges we are all facing right now. One good example is an online shoe retailer known for their customer service. To further emphasize their customer-first approach they developed a hotline where customers can call them about anything—shoe-related or not—during the pandemic.
  • Functional – Brands cannot appear as if they are capitalizing on the pandemic to push their messaging or platform. People want to hear from brands, but they want to know what they are doing to make life easier, less disruptive, or safer for their community. One fast food chain pivoted their advertising to highlight how they are providing free meals to first responders. The campaign is functional by informing first responders and those in their circle that they’re offering free meals. The campaign does not push a product or a message, but is simply a nod, and most importantly a functional action, to thank health care workers.
  • Detail – All of the messages above mention specific, concrete and functional actions each brand is taking. Steer away from vague messaging such as how you are “helping the community” and instead share the details on exactly what you are doing.

If you follow these tips you will end up with a message that helps solidify your role in the community. You will show people that you are here to help and that you care. With these few simple tips, you can take your messaging from one of the 6,000+ ads consumers see a day, to one that is remembered and serves to improve your brand favorability.

What brands are standing out in their COVID-19 advertising? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our guide to making advertising decisions during the crisis here.

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