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Helping Vs. Branding


Helping vs branding: strategies that work (and those that don’t)

Brands have gone the extra mile to address Covid-19, with varying levels of success.

With the out-of-home industry facing difficult times and cinemas shut, brands are trying their best to navigate this strange and uncertain climate.

As daytime TV viewership reaches new heights, ITV revived last year’s “Britain get talking” campaign to support people alone during the lockdown, while Snapchat jumped on the social media usage surge with a tool to help people with mental-health issues, Here For You.

Campaign asked a trio of top strategists to assess brand initiatives from McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and H&M (to name a few) launched in response to Covid-19.

Britain Get Talking | A Message To The Nation From Ant & Dec | ITV

[b"Right now it has to be business first, brand second,” says Jo Arden, Chief Strategy Officer, MullenLowe Group UK [/b]

It’s amazing how fast brands can corral when a bandwagon is hurtling through town. I’m all for businesses doing their bit and for brands having a purpose – either without integrity is shameful. I’m going to caveat what I say by assuming that all the brand responses (well, most) have come from a place of wanting to help in some way. But this is a time for us all to remember the relatively insignificant role that any brand plays in people’s lives – not everyone has stopped to think before “supporting” the nation.

Thinking business first, brand second: car manufacturers are making ventilators and fashion brands making PPE and clinical clothing. In the space of a week, major businesses have changed what they actually manufacture – and in the most part not making a big song and dance about it. Awesome.

Brands being extra good at what they already do: The new BBC user experience surfacing more immersive content, Just Eat and Deliveroo delivering emergency supplies to those that need it, BrewDog‘s digital bar experience (I want to hate it, but I think it may genuinely serve a need) and ITV getting Ant & Dec out to make us feel less lonely. Lovely.

Brands awkwardly trying to be relevant: McDonald’s, no-one is going to change their behaviour because you modified your logo on social media. All the brands giving free drinks (or, worse, discounts on drinks) to NHS staff and making ads about it. BrewDog Brewgel. Urgggh, awful.

It’s incredible to see brands fast-tracking innovation (I think speed of response might be one of the legacies of this crisis), but it’s a bit galling to see some blatant awards guff too. How about, to keep us honest, we make a pact? That rather than fill the world with any more bullshit posturing, we give the money it’d cost to the charities and public services that can use it for something genuinely good?

Read the rest of the expert opinions on Campaign

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