I'm willing to bet you've received a lot of emails from brands over the past two weeks. It feels like every company who has ever obtained your email address wants to tell you what they're doing during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Do companies have the right to insert themselves into the coronavirus conversation?
For most companies, the answer is a resounding no. There really isn't anything most brands should say about a situation that's killed thousands of people around the world and is causing panic, inconvenience, and financial hardship for millions.
Your Prime Minister, Premier, or President have nothing on Nike when it comes to social influence.
When iconic brands speak, people tend to listen. And when a powerful brand can use its influence to encourage people to act responsibly -- which in this case, includes practicing social-distancing to help stop the rapid spread of the virus -- it should.
Below are a few ads I've discovered over the past week that are doing just that.
I absolutely love this Guinness ad, which reimagines its iconic dark-brew-light-head imagery to effectively deliver the "stay home" message. Brilliantly simple, and simply brilliant.
The brand known for sponsoring athletes who play for millions around the world is inviting you to join them. The invitation doesn't come with a multi-million-dollar endorsement deal, sadly, but it does come with the knowledge that you have the ability to selflessly make a difference.
Leave it to the company that built an empire on three words ("Just Do It") to convey a powerful message using nothing but text. Copywriting perfection.
The McDonald's "Golden Arches" are recognized around the world, so the impact of separating the two halves of the famous "M" is immediate.
Unfortunately, even if you live in Brazil (which is where this execution originated), you won't see the "isolated M" at an actual restaurant; according to ChicagoBusiness.com, it appears only, "on all of the brand’s Brazilian social accounts, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter." So I'm giving this one an A+ for the idea, but only a B- for execution.
Speaking of logos known throughout the world, you just don't get much more recognizable than the Spencerian script of the Coca-Cola logo... which is why seeing the letters separated in Times Square caught people's attention.
The message is very clear, and Coke gets full credit for its willingness to mess with its logo. (As a former Coke employee, I can't even imagine how much stress this must have caused the legal team!)
The impact is somewhat lessened by having the "real" Coca-Cola logo appear directly above the ad, but it's unavoidable because the real logo isn't part of the digital billboard; it's a permanent fixture attached to it.
Powerful brands can have a powerful positive impact.