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Brand promotion does not seem like the best move during the coronavirus crisis. However, other businesses braved the pandemic and launched inspiring COVID-19 ad campaigns—and the results are fantastic.

While most ad agencies agree that trying to advertise during these times is difficult, some brands turned the crisis into an opportunity.

Instead of avoiding to address the outbreak or stay away from the topic entirely, these companies decided to create a balance of creativity and crisis management.

Keep on reading to find out who these brands are, how they used the circumstances presented by pandemic to their advantage, and what marketing lessons we can learn from them.

4 Brands That Exercised Creativity Amid COVID-19

1. Lush’s In-store Free Handwashing

Lush, the popular cosmetic retailer from the United Kingdom, invited the UK public into their stores to wash their hands for free.

The initiative was launched in all their stores in the UK, during the government’s push for better basic hygiene practices in the country. This campaign aims to educate the public and to minimise the spread of the virus.

Any customer who enters the store to wash their hands will be given a soap to use and are under no obligation to buy anything.

Mark Constantine, a representative of Lush, shared that companies should turn the crisis into opportunity and use this period to initiate public service campaigns.

“If people just get in the habit of washing their hands properly, it will make a dramatic difference to public health,” said Constantine.

Brands should highlight the role of basic hygiene in minimizing the spread of viruses.

Marketing Lesson: Offer a free trial of products

Lucky for Lush, they sell products that people can use to combat the virus. It is their huge edge over companies from different industries.

By offering a free trial of their soaps, Lush can sway store visitors to purchase a single item or more.

This is a great tactic that never gets old. When people fall in love with a product on their first try, they will spend bucks on it no matter how expensive it is.

2. Nike’s “Play Inside, Play For The World” campaign

The pandemic has robbed joggers and athletes of their daily routine. To help, Nike developed something that allowed fitness enthusiasts to relate to its advertisement.

Despite store closures of the leading sports brand apparel last March, Nike inspired people through the power of sports.

Nike launched its “Play Inside, Play for the World” campaign, which urged everyone to play inside their home. The campaign was a public call for everyone to do their part by staying home.

Nike’s Play Inside Play For The World Video Campaign

Many Nike athletes, including Cristiano Ronaldo, supported the campaign by sharing Nike’s campaign slogan on their social media.

Cristiano included the #PlayInside and #PlayfortheWorld hashtags in his social media posts, and people started to follow the lead.

Marketing Lesson: Use hashtags to good effect

Nike got its marketing right this pandemic because of its engaging Play for the World campaign, not to mention that it also makes a relatable hashtag.

This teaches marketers to use relevant hashtags in their campaigns. Brands should use hashtags that fit their businesses to grow engagement, improve searchability, and increase outreach.

3. At-Sunrice’s #standupandwashup campaign

At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy, a leading culinary school in Singapore, also launched a coronavirus-related campaign called #standupwashup.

StandUp and WashUp is one of those COVID-19 ad campaigns that boldly addressed the crisis.

The Singaporean culinary school gathered 9 Michelin Star Chefs in a series of 11 videos. Each Michelin Star chef demonstrated the best hand washing methods and provided tips on proper food handling practices in their own language.

Among the chefs featured include familiar names such as Chef Sebastien Lepinoy of Les Amis, Chef Chan Hon Meng of Hawker Chan, and Chef Sun Kim of Meta.

StandUp & WashUp with Chef Emmanuel (Restaurant Saint Pierre)

Marketing Lesson: Partner with familiar, credible personalities

At-Sunrice tapped celebrity chefs to help spread valuable information faster than the virus. Since these chefs are experts in their field, it would be easier to get people’s attention and spread the brand’s message.

Collaborating with popular names (i.e. celebrities, social media influencers, etc.) in the industry not only allows brands to connect with their target audience but also lets them boost their brand exposure.

Note: We are proud to be the official digital marketing partner for this meaningful campaign and we hope everyone continues to do their part in being socially responsible by adopting better hygiene practices.

4. Brave’s Netflix “Spoiler” campaign

Some countries had trouble containing the virus and convincing the public to stay in the comfort of their homes.

That is the exact reason why Seine Kongruangkit and Matithorn Prachuabmoh Chaimoungkalo, known as Brave, came up with the Netflix “Spoiler” campaign.

Unlike other COVID-19 ad campaigns, Brave’s campaign did not highlight any tips to spread the virus. Instead, the pair communicated other dangers of going out during the pandemic—spoiling their favourite Netflix series.

While the ad campaign is not affiliated with Netflix, the spoilers seen in the billboards are real. The Netflix shows that are spoiled to the public are Money Heist, Narcos, Love is Blind, and Stranger Things.

Marketing Lesson: Inject creativity in campaigns

These Netflix spoiler ads prove that creativity grabs audience attention. Although not officially from Netflix, the ad has gone viral because of its unique approach to encouraging the public to stay at home.

Businesses should adopt the idea of injecting creativity into their campaigns. Creativity is like a driving force that enables brands to stand out from the crowd and capture more eyeballs. Plus, it is an essential ingredient of every memorable marketing campaigns.

Other Lessons We Learn From These Brands

Apart from marketing to their target audience amid the COVID-19 crisis, these brands also taught businesses to take advantage of the current global situation.

The pandemic offers companies the opportunity to create deeper connections with their audiences. Now is the time for your company to give your customers updates about your operations and reinforce the message that you are ready to help.

Since most of your customers are now spending more time at home, it is also ideal to create more insightful content online, including webinars, how-to-videos, actionable guides, and so on.

Turn Crisis Into Opportunity

Marketing in times of crisis is not easy, but it is possible. Instead of seeing the coronavirus outbreak as a parasite that sucks up your sales, see it as an opportunity to better connect with your employees and customers.

Acknowledge the new normal and find ways to stay relevant during the pandemic. For example, our agency offers educational webinars, and free website audits to help other businesses in this critical period.

So if your company needs help with your marketing campaign or in need of digital marketing advice, feel free to contact us. Learn more about our host of services here

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