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The Covid-19 Proof Creative

June 8, 2020
Written by Merwin Chew

All businesses have taken a big hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, and advertising is no exception. Almost overnight, with entire accounts halting advertising efforts and businesses shuttering, thousands of jobs have been made redundant.

Things are not how they used to be and will likely remain so as the situation clears up. Businesses will be looking for ways to minimise costs, meaning only the best and the most resourceful stand a chance at retaining employment. Here are some pointers to help make you indispensable throughout this unusual time.

Be cost-effective

In a time where many businesses are tightening their belts, the last thing you should be suggesting is a blockbuster-type campaign. Now, more than ever, cost-cutting considerations need to be a part of every proposal. That includes production costs, post work, choice of media channel(s) and so on.

In this example released by IKEA, we see crowdsourced videos, ingeniously stitched together to tell the compelling message of “Make Home Count”.

You can tell the team working on this short film were able to do it remotely, quickly and at a low cost. The nature of the film allowed for mixed quality in the footage, which is a clever touch. As technology advances, how could you use that to your advantage? Phones are now capable of 8K videos, can you omit the need for a full film crew by tweaking your idea?

Be empathetic

Covid-19 affects us in more ways than just our physical wellbeing. It’s now the leading cause of job loss, cabin fever, stress about our loved ones who may be affected and so much more. Now is probably not the best time to be airing a commercial that features jet-setting and large gatherings.

This equally cost-effective illustrated ad released by IKEA Israel on its Facebook account also illustrates a clear understanding that the brand encourages social responsibility, aligning with the community, promoting the positive notion that we are all in this together.

Be opportunistic

It is not business as usual for many businesses. Even for businesses fortunate enough to continue operations, adapting is not an option. You won’t be seeing on-ground activations for a while, so how can you make a meaningful impression to an audience that is cooped up at home or has to be at least 2-meters apart from you?

A good understanding of media can prove useful during such times. For example, Walmart in Arkansas tried drive-thru sampling, complete with multiple stations and masked employees handing out samples on trays through car windows. Walmart, with its numerous stores and vast parking lots, made the most of their resources and stumbled upon a unique opportunity.

Be tech savv

Traditional outdoor media targeted at commuters, like bus shelter ads and billboards, are suffering the consequences of Covid-19. Businesses are now looking to social media and digital solutions for their communication needs.

Aside from advertising, retail clients will also be on the lookout for ways to bring their business online. Art directors who are skilled in web design, UI and UX capabilities will have an advantage. Writers may want to brush up on SEO and social media content skills.

A very insightful example of digital creativity during Covid-19 times is this campaign released by Coors Light. The idea? A “Clone Machine” that remedies Zoom fatigue. This allows you to record a 30-second loop of yourself looking interested at a Zoom meeting. The idea is timely, and it’s cheekiness spot-on-brand.

Be creative

Creativity continues to be a commodity that cannot be easily simulated. Covid-19 would be the ultimate test of adaptability and creativity. While things may be difficult, it is truly a time for brilliant creatives to set themselves apart from those who are merely coasting through agency life.

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