Who knew that one day for this generation, breathing in the open space, walking in a public park, and traveling in public transport would pose a problem for mankind. Whether it is masking up, online studies, work from home, or lockdowns, it is a new world we live in.
Advertising draws inspiration from human emotions and experiences. Advertisements during the pandemic differed significantly from the ones made before. They focussed less on the product efficacy and gave a message to humanity in general. In the last 2 years, brands have not only introduced new products to reduce the spread, but also taken an effort to promote covid friendly behavior, normalize the new situations and propagate hope to people in the current time. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, while theatre and outdoor advertising shrank, TV and digital advertising boomed with increasing media exposure.
Promoting life at home: For students, teachers, and employees, life at home did become a new normal for a significant time. It took great lifestyle changes to adapt to a culture of work from home. Some established brands took this opportunity to stand with the people and capture life in lockdown: video calls, spending time with family, quarantines, cooking, or just lazing around at home. Notable examples are BurgerKing urging people to stay on their couch and order food as it is a national duty and Uber where the end message reads, "Stay home for everyone who can't, thank you for not riding with us."
Reassuring Safety Standards: With the aggressive spread of the coronavirus, people became alarmed about their safety. Other than FMCG products like cookies and noodles, the restaurant business saw massive setbacks. People slowly grew anxious in ordering online, thus making it imperative for brands to reassure safety standards through advertising.
To ensure customers that it is safe to order pizza at home, Dominos created several ads promoting their "Zero contact delivery". These ads show employees going through daily temperature checks, hand sanitization before and after deliveries, and sanitization of boxes.
Celebrating local heroes: At a time when everything seemed to be falling apart, brands made an effort to recognize the several unsung heroes who continued to work even in the most difficult times, including frontline health workers, pharmacists, delivery people among many others. Brands like Zomato, Adidas, Coca Cola, and Google made small films to thank these people for their efforts.
A whole new market: 2 years ago, disinfectants and sanitizers were not so common in households as they are now. In these two years, these products have become prerequisites of daily existence. This has opened the market for the introduction of new products by brands. Savlon and Dettol created new disinfectants, sanitizers, and masks. Moreover, many other pharmaceutical companies created sanitizers at all prices. Moreover, advertising vaccines was an important part during the pandemic. These ads attempted to alleviate any hesitancy and create a trust among people.
Being alone together: As a result of the lockdown, people around the world stayed away from family and friends. There were moments of anxiety, uncertainty, and existentialism. In this time, brands came up with ideas of solidarity and promoted hope for the future. The dominant idea being that together, we can overcome. Coca-Cola's ad film "For the human race" provides silver linings to an otherwise stressful time and asks people to stay put, "for optimism is more contagious than any contagion."