From practical barriers to shooting, to the challenges of reaching audiences and reflecting culture in turmoil, making campaigns in 2020 has been far from straightforward. But some brands have excelled under the circumstances. We’ve rounded up our favourite creative campaigns released since Covid turned the world upside down.
Brand: Financial Times
Campaign: Lead Without Example
Agency: The Brooklyn Brothers
Since heralding The New Agenda last year, the Financial Times has positioned itself at the forefront of debate about the next iteration of capitalism. The latest phase of this is the Lead Without Example campaign. It challenges business leaders and policymakers to enter uncharted territory and create the conditions for a Covid recovery that is sustainable and responsible. A powerful film showing world leaders from Trump to Merkel to Putin lost for words acknowledges that leadership is difficult at this time, but that bravery and originality are crucial. The wider campaign highlights the leadership resources that the FT provides, including its coronavirus tracker, global recovery tracker and Global Boardroom events.
Brand: Coca Cola featuring George the Poet
Campaign: Open Like Never Before
Agency: 72 and Sunny Amsterdam
Coke’s first EMEA work since the pandemic changed everything uses the power of the spoken word and heartfelt imagery to deliver a message of hope. George the Poet, a Londoner of Ugandan heritage, inspires with a call for a radical reset, based on a renewed appreciation of what’s important in the light of Covid. From valuing key workers, teachers and tourists to finding more pleasure in simple things closer to home, he wonders if the ‘new normal’ could be a change for the better. Relatable scenarios, moving music and masterful directing from Gustav Johansson, Indra Herö Wide, and Marcus Ibanez add up to a much-needed slice of optimism.
Brand: Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in collaboration with Age UK
Campaign: The Originals
This brilliant film is part of a campaign to highlight the colourful stories racked up over a lifetime. Reminiscing on adventure, romance and danger, older people are shown in a light rarely seen in the media. Millions of older people suffer from loneliness and isolation, and the restrictions of the pandemic have compounded this. The campaign sees a loved chocolate brand partner with Age UK to encourage more of us to ask older people to tell us their best stories, rather the mind-numbing niceties like “did you sleep well?”. In talking and sharing their words, we can promote more meaningful conversations and take care of those feeling overlooked.
Campaign: Creativity Goes On
Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab
Shot over two weeks during the confines of early lockdown, this ad showcases Apple’s role in keeping creativity alive. It’s a montage of people using their devices to create and connect while stuck indoors. Relatable characters are shown drawing on iPads to playing remote chess, taking fitness classes, playing music and getting married. The ad features the wise words of Oprah addressing #OprahTalks viewers on Apple TV+, and the actress Lily James using her iPad to tell a tale for the #SaveWithStories initiative for Save the Children. At a time of anxiety and limitations, it was a welcome reminder that you can’t lock down the inventive and social nature of humankind.
Campaign: Build a Life
With people spending more time indoors during the pandemic, the home improvement sector has been thriving. But any campaign from a DIY brand would have to have sensitivity to context in 2020. B&Q hit the nail on the head with their emotive campaign, Build a Life. The ad features home videos captured by 69 real families around the UK, showing their DIY efforts and wider triumphs and tribulations. Narrator Rory McCann (aka The Hound in Game of Thrones) reinforces the empowering message that home improvements are life improvements, and you can do them yourself.
Brand: Coors Light
Campaign: What a Beautiful Day
Agency: DDB Chicago
A hilarious take on video chat fatigue, this film shows the protagonist living his best life, singing his heart out, communing with nature and enjoying a chilled Coors Light in the clean mountain air. Cut to the humdrum reality of video calling, where a colleague is “moving on to slide 236” against a pixelated mountain background. The film promotes a competition offering five US customers the chance to “win a trip to the video chat background you've been staring at for months” by uploading a picture of themselves in front of their virtual background. Subject to any potential quarantine restrictions and flight cancellations, of course.
Which one did it for you – or did we miss your fave in our round up?
We’d love to know, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org